Civil Division

There are three divisions within the Civil Division.

The Court’s judges have jurisdiction, within the limits prescribed by law, over civil actions initiated under the Code of Civil Procedure (CQLR, c. C-25.01) or any other statute. The judges have authority to hear claims where the monetary value or interest of the matter in dispute is less than $85,000, except for support payment claims, claims related to residential leases that come under Régie du logement, and claims reserved for the Federal Court. The judges have the power to rule on municipal or school tax claims and to reverse or set aside municipal or school board assessment rolls.

 

Restricted license and vehicle release claims also fall under the jurisdiction of the judges under the Highway Safety Code (CQLR, c. C-24.2).

 

The judges also hear actions requesting that someone undergo a psychiatric examination or be placed in institutional custody.

 

The law also stipulates that a judge’s jurisdiction, in addition to settling disputes, extends to ensuring proper case management and attempting to reconcile the parties when circumstances permit. For example, judges may take case management measures to simplify or expedite proceedings or shorten the duration of trials via amendments to pleadings, expert opinions, pretrial discovery, deadline extensions, etc.

 

For reconciliation, judges have the power to preside over settlement conferences to help the parties communicate and explore solutions that could lead to a satisfactory agreement to settle the dispute.

Judges in the Small Claims Division decide cases involving claims of no more than $15,000. The judges are also called upon to decide tax-related summary appeals.

 

Litigants are entitled to consult a lawyer to prepare their case. However, they must represent themselves at the hearing, i.e., they may not be assisted or represented by counsel, except when special permission is granted (e.g., in cases that raise complex legal questions).

 

Disputes are settled according to the same rules of law as those upheld by any court exercising jurisdiction in civil matters. However, the written procedure is simplified. At trial, the judges explain the rules of evidence and procedure to the parties. They direct the proceedings, question witnesses, hear the parties, and decide the issues in dispute. They provide each party with fair and impartial assistance, so as to render effective the substantive law and ensure that it is carried out. When circumstances allow, the judges endeavour to bring the parties to an agreement. The judgment is final and binding.

The judges of the Administrative and Appeal Division (AAD) have exclusive authority to hear appeals of decisions by various tribunals and administrative agencies, including Commission d'accès à l’information, the Administrative Tribunal of Québec (particularly the real estate section), the Police Ethics Committee, and ethics committees governing professionals in matters of financial products and services distribution and real estate brokerage. AAD judges are also called to rule on highly complex taxation and tax recovery matters.