On March 15, 2020, the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice of Québec issued Order 2020–4251 to suspend deadlines of civil proceedings and of extinctive prescriptions and forfeitures in civil cases. On March 23, 2020, certain criminal deadlines were also suspended by decree 2020-009 as mentioned in our March 30, 2020 bloG post.
Since September 1, 2020, the suspension of deadlines has been lifted and the courts have resumed their activities. As the calculation of statutes of limitations, forfeitures and procedures in order to assert rights has major consequences on these rights, it is essential to pay special attention to them.
In fact, the suspension of civil and criminal deadlines has been lifted and deadlines have resumed. The suspension due to the state of health emergency was 170 days. Therefore, this period must be considered in the calculation of time frames to exercise a right or preserve it.
If the exercise of a right has expired during the 170-day suspension, it is important to determine how many days were remaining before the declaration of the health emergency, to calculate how many days remain since the suspension was lifted. Similarly, if a deadline expired after the suspension was lifted, 170 days must be added when the deadlines are calculated.
The lifting of the suspension also had specific effects on cases that were already before the courts. Indeed, the lifting of the suspension stipulates that an additional 45 days needed to be added to the deadlines provided for in the civil proceeding’s protocols in force on March 15, 2020. The deadlines that appeared in the protocol of the proceeding, and for the case to be completed, were thus automatically extended for a period equivalent to the period of suspension and with an additional 45 days without the need for a specific request.
To ensure there is still time remaining to assert your rights, please contact us.
Judicial Digital Registry:
In an age of new technology, and in order to reduce travel to courthouses and improve the conduct of judicial activities, the Ministry of Justice has set up a digital platform for online filing of certain legal proceedings in the Court of Québec and the Superior Court.
Litigants and legal professionals can now file certain proceedings online and pay the relevant legal fees, if required, using a credit card. The Digital Court Registry is available at: https://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/en/judicial-system/judicial-process/digital-court-office-of-quebec