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Legal Information/ Legal Briefs

Legal Briefs

Until 2010, these legal briefs provide examples of judgments pertaining to everyday situations. Beginning in 2012, they deal with various topics of general interest, such as rental issues, family law, human rights, civil liability, insurance, dealings between spouses and social aid. They are intended to inform and to prevent undesirable situations.


Legal Briefs 2024

Legal brief
Are childcare expenses taken into consideration in determining financial eligibility for legal aid?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Isabelle, who is the mother of one child, is about to separate. She works in housekeepingin a hospital at an annual salary of $39,000. She does not own any real estate and has$6,000 in savings in a bank account. However, she has to pay $1,750 in annual childcareexpenses for her six-year-old son. Isa more
Social Assistance - Understanding the New Basic Income ProgramThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Social assistance, social solidarity, basic income – it’s easy to get lost in the many government programs available to people experiencing difficulties.

The Quebec government has established two programs for the province’s residents who are in a precarious situation: (1) The Social Assistanc
De Facto Spouses* and financial eligibility for legal aidThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Lea and William are the parents of a 15-year-old girl named Rose. Rose chose to live with her father when her parents split up two years ago. She now wants to move in with her mother and Annabelle, her mother’s partner, but her father disagrees. Rose’s mother thus quickly makes an appointment with a more
Conciliation Before the Administrative Tribunal of Québec: What Can I Expect? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Conciliation before the Administrative Tribunal of Québec (hereinafter the “ATQ”) is a type of process referred to as alternative dispute resolution.

But what does that actually mean?
Can a police complaint be withdrawn?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Perhaps you filed a police complaint against someone a few days ago and now wish to withdraw it. You should know that it may not be possible to do so.

First, it’s important to understand that when police receive a complaint, theygenerally conduct an investigation to gather as much evidence as possibleindicating that the offence has been committed (statements from other witnesses, video evidence, photos of the damage or injuries, etc.).

During the investigation, the plaintiff can ask the police to withdraw the complaint. After ensuring that the complainant’s decision is free and voluntary, the police may accept the withdrawal if the offence is a minor offence and if withdrawing the complaint is not contrary to the public interest. However, once the investigation has been completed, it is no longer possible to withdraw a police complaint. At that point, the file is in the hands of a prosecutor, and it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether or not to file charges or drop charges that have already been filed.

In that regard, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPP) has issued guidelines and instructions to prosecutors to guide their discretionary power as to whether or not to lay charges. Primarily, the prosecutor must determine whether there is sufficient evidence and assess whether it is appropriate to initiate a prosecution in light of the public interest.1

In doing so, the prosecutor will take the victim’s opinions and concerns intoaccount, among other things. However, the prosecutor’s decisions may not always be in line with the victim’s point of view.2 This is particularly true in domestic violence cases.

In such cases, the guidelines stipulate that the protection and safety of the victim and the victim’s family must take precedence.3 For example, even if the victim does not wish to engage in the judicial process, the prosecutor must proceed without the victim’s testimony as long as independent evidence is available.4 Thus, the fact that the victim does not wish to be involved is not a determining factor in the decision to authorize or uphold a complaint.

For more information, please refer to the DCPP guidelines and instructionsavailable at this link.


For more information, don’t hesitate to contact a legal aid lawyer in your area at a legal aid office near you. For contact details, please click on the following link: www.csj.qc.ca.
1 Directive ACC-3, para. 4 [available only in French].
2 Directive VIC-1, para. 5 [available only in French].
3 Directive VIO-1, para. 12 [available only in French].
4 Ibid., para. 23.

Legal brief *
January  2024
Number  01
Text prepared by   Me Léanne Tardif
Update by   CSJ
* The information set out in this document is not a legal interpretation.
The masculine is used to designate persons solely in order to simplify the text.
© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017