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Québec’s judicial system is based on:

  • private law, which regulates relations between individuals and is codified in the form of the Civil Code of Québec
  • public law, which regulates legal disputes between private parties and the State and integrates the principles of common law

The different courts of Québec’s judicial system

Québec’s judicial system is made up of courts of law and administrative tribunals.

Courts of law

Courts of law hear civil and criminal cases with a view to ordering an action or deciding the culpability of someone. They are organized on levels so that, among other things, a first instance decision may be appealed or reviewed before a higher court.

The courts of law in Québec include:

  • municipal courts
  • the Court of Québec
  • the Superior Court
  • the Court of Appeal
  • the Human Rights Tribunal
  • the Professional Tribunal

The above courts are governed by the rules of the Civil Code of Québec and the Code of Civil Procedure, among others.

A description of each court’s mission is provided on the Judicial System page of the Ministère de la Justice website and the website of The Courts of Québec.

Administrative tribunals

Administrative tribunals are specialized tribunals that decide cases involving individuals or the State in their respective field of expertise (e.g. leases of dwellings). As such, they may:

  • hear and settle disputes
    • between the State and individuals
    • between individuals
  • regulate certain spheres
  • protect the public and land

They also play an advisory role.

Québec’s administrative tribunals include:

  • the Commission d’accès à l’information
  • the Commission de la fonction publique
  • the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux
  • the Régie de l’énergie
  • the Régie du logement
  • the Tribunal administratif du Québec
  • the Tribunal administratif du travail
  • the Tribunal administratif des marchés financiers

A description of the missions of the different administrative tribunals is provided on the Présentation des tribunaux administratifs (in French only) page of the website of the Conférence des juges administratifs du Québec.

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Financial assistance

The following bodies have a mandate to offer individuals financial assistance in their legal proceedings:

  • the Commission des services juridiques, which provides legal aid
  • the Fonds d’aide aux actions collectives, which provides financial assistance for certain class actions

Legal aid

The Commission des services juridiques is charged with applying the Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services in Québec. This government service ensures that legal aid is provided to people in low income. Legal counsel from a lawyer or notary is provided either free of charge or with a small contribution from the beneficiary.

Fonds d’aide aux actions collectives

The Fonds d’aide aux actions collectives is an agency established by the Act respecting the Fonds d’aide aux actions collectives to:

  • help finance class actions in first instance or on appeal
  • disseminate information respecting the exercise of such actions

A class action is a legal action brought on behalf of a class of people who have encountered the same problem or issue.

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For further information

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