Dalhousie Law Journal


civil law, Quebec, common law, legal history, jurist, civil responsibility


In The Civil Law System of the Province of Quebec, Jean-Gabriel Castel writes, To know the Quebec law of contract, it is sufficient to read the articles of the Civil Code dealing with this topic and the cases decided since its enactment. If in the common-law system it is absolutely necessary to know history to understand, for instance, the essential division between law and equity ... this is not the case in France or in Quebec. There, the civil law is logically organized, it is not the product of a historical evolution or of a long line of decided cases. Castel's conception of the Civil Code of Lower Canada (1866) as the "common law" (droit commun) of Quebec, and the antithesis of the English common law, is typical of the contemporary Quebec jurist. But as John Brierley has suggested in a recent article entitled "Quebec's 'Common Laws' (droits communs): How many are there?" this conception is unjust. There is not one Quebec droit commun but three, and of those three the Code ranks third.

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