As of January 1, lawyers, judges, businesses and the public are
being asked to adopt a new approach to settling disputes. In the
event of a dispute, lawyers must now be guided by the principles of
cooperation, negotiation, and solutions adapted to the specific
needs of the parties.
The Quebec government has introduced substantial reforms to
civil procedure following extensive consultations with people
involved in the court system and with citizens and various groups
involved by the management of cases before the courts. The
legislator's intent with this reform is to emphasize dispute
prevention and resolution processes, such as negotiation,
mediation, arbitration, and settlement conferences presided by a
judge. Previously, litigants worked within an adversarial system,
where they would submit their arguments to the court for its
decision. Today, the parties must focus on settlements, cooperate
in managing their disputes, conduct their cases according to target
time limits, and comply with different rules governing the kinds of
evidence they might use.
More efficient case management
Lawyers must now raise the possibility of a negotiated solution
to their client's problems. The parties are asked to cooperate
actively to find a solution before turning to the courts. Assisted
by their lawyers, the parties can seek the court's intervention
if they fail to reach an agreement.
The progress of cases is now subject to various measures that
seek to strike a balance between the parties. The parties should
only use means that are required and necessary and should always
bear in mind the new procedure's cardinal principle that rights
should be exercised in the spirit of cooperation. Furthermore,
litigants must now agree in writing on how their case will be
managed and on their undertakings and the means they intend to
One of the pillars of the civil procedure reform is an increased
role for judges in case management. Judges are now active
participants in the proceedings, and ensure the orderly progress of
the cases to which they are assigned. They can issue various orders
on their own initiative to simplify or expedite the proceedings.
For example, judges may ask the parties to circumscribe the issues
they intend to submit before the court, or to agree on admissions.
Moreover, the court may, on its own initiative, limit any steps the
parties wish to take and assess the usefulness of any expert
Lawyers: your partners in business!
Lawyers should now be perceived as vital partners when seeking
any type of legal solution. By contacting a lawyer as soon as
a problem arises, you will secure their help in finding the
The days are gone when lawyers were the sole masters of the
proceedings! Your lawyer can now explore several options with you
and recommend different avenues to resolve your dispute quickly and
efficiently. Numerous means adapted to the needs and circumstances
of each situation are available to lawyers to help you achieve your
The reform at Langlois
Our lawyers are experienced in alternative dispute resolution.
We share the values espoused by the civil procedure reform:
accessibility, efficiency, quality, and promptness. Our
professionals are very familiar with the new rules governing the
exercise of the parties' rights and the applicable procedures
before the courts.
We understand the reality of our clients and are here to support
and work with you to design a game plan customized to your
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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