Bill 8: Bélanger Sauvé develops a useful tool for civil law practitioners

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The Bélanger Sauvé team has created a checklist for civil law lawyers and other legal professionals for quick and easily implementation of the legislative amendments enacted on Friday, June 30, 2023 under Quebec’s Bill 8 aimed at improving the accessibility and efficiency of justice.

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The tool downloadable here (in french) was designed as a timeline for legal practitioners to accurately navigate through the new deadlines and procedures applicable as of June 30, 2023 to civil cases before the Court of Québec, thus ensuring the firm‘s continued commitment to providing clients with up-to-date and service and advice suited to their needs.

Bill 8 is formally entitled “An Act to improve justice accessibility and efficiency, in particular by promoting mediation and arbitration and by simplifying civil procedure in the Court of Québec”. As noted by the Barreau du Québec, “it has immediate and significant consequences for the work of lawyers”, not to mention other legal professionals such as paralegals and legal assistants.

“Litigants will also be affected by the new rules that effectively make them more responsible for the progression of their cases” added Marjorie Marchand, partner Bélanger at Sauvé and co-ordinator of the firm’s Insurance law and Civil Litigation Group.

Numerous changes

First and foremost, the new provisions of the Act are intended to simplify the conduct of civil cases before the Court of Québec and reduce delays in settling and finalizing case.

In particular, oral pre-trial examinations will not be permitted where the amount claimed  or the value of property is $50 000 or less. Cases involving between $75,000 and $100,000 can now be brought either before the Court of Québec or the Superior Court. Previously, cases involving $85 000 or more had to be brought before the Superior Court.

The new rules also make mediation and arbitration free and mandatory in cases involving $5 000 or less. The rules also intended to prioritize the hearing before the court of cases that initially went to mediation or arbitration.

With the enactment of Bill 8, the Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, and the Quebec government are committed to facilitating access to justice for all Québec citizens. The Bill was tabled in the Quebec National Assembly on February 1, 2023, and approved by its elected representatives on March 15, 2023.

To learn more about the main changes in the law, see the article entitled Bill 8: Justice 2.0 by Mtre Nicholas Hébert-Gauthier.