Legal system
 
 
 
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Legal system

Québec is a democracy characterized by the separation of powers:

  • legislative power, exercised by parliamentarians elected to adopt laws;
  • executive power, exercised by the government to implement laws;
  • judicial power, exercised by the courts to enforce laws while maintaining the balance between individual rights and responsibilities.

The judicial branch has complete independence from the legis­lative and executive branches.

The mission of the Ministère de la Justice du Québec is to ensure the rule of law within Québec society and to maintain a justice system that is both honest and trustworthy.

The courts

The Québec justice system is composed of different courts. Their role is determined by law based on several factors, including the nature of the case, geographic location and the amount in dispute.

Courts of first instance

Cases are first heard before a court of first instance, where evidence is produced and witnesses appear. At this level, Québec has:

  • municipal courts,
  • the Court of Québec,
  • the Superior Court,
  • the Federal Court,
  • the Human Rights Tribunal.

Appeal courts

These courts hear appeals of judgments made by the courts of first instance.

The appeal courts are:

  • the Court of Appeal of Québec,
  • the Federal Court of Appeal,
  • the Supreme Court of Canada.

Small claims division

The Court of Québec includes a small claims division. It deals with claims of up to $7,000. The procedure is simple and informal. Claimants are not represented by a lawyer.

A mediation service is offered free of charge to help citizens resolve their disputes before the case is heard by a judge. Interested parties can seek information from courthouse personnel on this subject.

Specialized organizations

Québec has several organizations that exercise judicial power over the rights of individuals, but in specific areas. For example:

  • The Régie du logement du Québec deals mainly with questions related to an apartment lease.
  • The Tribunal administratif du Québec allows individuals to assert their rights when they believe they have been aggrieved by a decision of a government authority including a ministry, board, commission or municipality.

Crime victim assistance centres

Crime victim assistance centres help victims of crim­inal acts, their loved ones and witnesses overcome the physical, psychological and social consequences of a crime. The crime could be an assault, theft, harassment, threat or any other criminal act such as conjugal violence.

There is an assistance centre in each region of Québec. Assistance can take different forms including assistance during the judicial process, that is, before, during and after a trial. The services offered by assistance centres are free and confidential.

 

For more information, consult the sites of the following organizations:

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Last modification : 2016-11-30
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