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Pre-Trial Examination In Quebec (All You Need To Know)

What is a Pre-Trial Examination in Quebec?

How does a pre-trial discovery work?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our Quebec rules of civil procedure!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Is A Pre-Trial Examination 

A pre-trial examination (also referred to as just “examination” or “pre-trial discovery”) is a pre-trial procedure where the lawyers representing the parties get to ask questions from the other parties under oath.

Pre-trial examinations represent an important part of every civil lawsuit as it allows the litigants to “discover” facts and gather further factual information allowing them to support their claims or challenge the claims of the other party.

Typically, the rules governing the examinations are typically set out in the rules of civil procedure.

In Quebec, the Code of Civil Procedures provides the legal basis and procedural foundation for conducting examinations and discoveries in the context of a civil lawsuit.

What Is The Purpose of A Pre-Trial Examination

The main objective of conducting witness examinations on a pre-trial basis is to gather factual information or further documents from possible witnesses who may know something important about the case or have important documents in their possession.

Generally speaking, the objective of doing an examination is to:

  • Hear the other party’s position on the matter in dispute
  • Try to obtain statements from the witness allowing a party to further substantiate its position
  • Try to obtain statements from the witness allowing a party to challenge the other party’s position 
  • Obtain documentary disclosure from a witness 

Pre-trial discoveries can be held to depose a person on any fact that is relevant to the dispute and on the evidence supporting such facts.

Who Can Be Examined For Discovery

Under Article 221 of Code of Civil Procedures in Quebec, different stakeholders and classes of persons can be examined, namely:

  • The representative of a company 
  • The agent of a company
  • The employee of a company 
  • In civil responsibility cases, the victim of an injury or individuals involved in an injurious act or omission 
  • A person acting as a “prête-nom” 
  • A person whose rights are acquired by transfer, subrogation or other similar title

In case a party to a lawsuit may want to examine another person, it can do so provided that the party to be examined along with the other party to the lawsuit agree.

In cases where the person to be examined or other parties to the suit object, the requesting party must obtain authorization from the court.

Types of Examinations

There are essentially two types of examinations in Quebec:

  • Written examination
  • Oral examination

A written examination is a type of examination where a party notifies the other party of a written examination on facts relevant to the dispute.

When a notice is received, the other party must provide written responses, under oath, within the specific timeline that cannot be less than 15 days or more than 30 days.

An examination can also be done orally.

In other words, an oral pre-trial examination is when a person is called as a witness to testify on a specific date, location, and time.

Typically, the deposition of the witness is subject to the same rules as a testimony given live before a judge.

Documentary Disclosure 

Different persons and individuals may be called for a deposition for the purpose of providing documents and performing documentary disclosures.

In this context, when a person is in possession of documents, statements, records, or other documentary evidence that may be relevant for the dispute, he or she may be called to a pre-trial examination and bring such documents.

In some cases, the witness may allude or refer to a document during his or her testimony and the deposing attorney will formally seek undertakings from the witness to provide a copy of the document in question within a mutually agreed period of time.

We refer to this as “undertakings”.

Examination For Discovery Takeaways 

So what is the legal definition of Pre-Trial Examination?

If you are involved in a lawsuit and are looking for legal advice on depositions, pre-trial examinations, and discovery in general, you should consult with a civil lawyer, trial attorney, or litigation lawyer (or law firm).

This article is intended to provide you general guidance with respect to Quebec rules of civil procedure.

Now, let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Pre-Trial Examination Meaning

  • Under the Quebec civil rules of procedure, a party to a lawsuit may examine another person on a pre-trial basis
  • The Code of Civil Procedures of Quebec refers to this as “pre-trial examination” but we can also refer to it as “out-of-court examination”, “examination”, or “deposition”
  • Examinations can be “written” or “oral” 
  • For written examinations, one party submits its written examination questions to the other who will have to respond to such questions in writing and under oath
  • For oral examinations, a person is asked to testify orally by answering the questions of the deposing lawyer 
Case protocol
Court judgment 
Deposition transcript
Deposition undertakings 
Examination for discovery 
Expert witness 
Fact witness 
Hearing on merits 
Oral examination
Pre-trial brief 
Pre-trial conference 
Pre-trial hearing 
Subpoena ad testificandum 
Subpoena duces tecum
Written examination
Alternative dispute resolution
Case management conference 
Civil lawsuit
Civil lawyer
Contempt of court
Court order
Impleaded party 
Lawyer Montreal
Litigation lawyer
Motion to compel 
Motion to dismiss 
Notice of claim
Originating application 
Trial lawyer


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