Superior Court Clarifies Law on Declaratory Judgments

On December 1, 2009, the Superior Court rendered a leading case on whether a motion for declaratory judgment is available in law to confirm the existence of a verbal agreement.

Prior to the 2003 amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure of Quebec, case law had determined that a writing was required to form the basis of a motion for declaratory judgment under Article 453 CCP. With the abolition of the action in January, 2003, and its replacement by a uniform procedural vehicle, being the motion introductive of suit, the law was unsettled as to whether a written instrument was still required or whether a verbal agreement could form the basis of a motion for declaratory relief.
In a reasoned decision that canvasses the state of the law on the matter, the Honourable Johanne Mainville, J.S.C. ruled that Article 453 CCP governed all proceedings for declaratory relief and that the previous case-law interpreting this provision to require a written instrument continues to apply. This is the first reported case of which we are aware which addresses the issue on the basis of the post-2003 CCP. The judgment of the court was rendered on December 1, 2009, in the matter of Seltzer and Bier v. 1476 Crescent Properties: 500-17-053084-094.

Langlois Kronström Desjardins, with a team composed of Dimitri Maniatis and Fabrice Vil, represented the successful litigant in the case

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