Court of Appeal of Quebec

Abihsira c. Johnston

April 10, 2019


Bélanger, Healy, Gagné

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court authorizing the intervention of an amicus curiae. Allowed in part.

The judge at first instance authorized the respondent, a third person who is not a member of the class action, to intervene in the debate concerning the approval of an out-of-court settlement. The appellant and the impleaded parties argue that the general regime of voluntary intervention is inconsistent with that of class actions.

The specific rules set out in articles 579, 586 and 590 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CQLR, c. C-25.01) address the voluntary intervention of class members. They add to the general procedure of voluntary intervention of third persons, without, however, derogating therefrom. It is therefore necessary to conclude that the general procedure applies, with the necessary adjustments, to third persons who are not members, given the judge’s role as the guardian of the members’ interests and the duty of full and frank disclosure incumbent on the parties. Judges must beware of abdicating their role but must also not deprive themselves of useful guidance to decide whether a transaction is just, fair and in the best interests of the class members, especially if the declaration of intervention indicates that the parties are presenting only one side of the story, which seems to be the case here. It is nevertheless appropriate to intervene to restrict the intervener’s role, as the judge at first instance did not sufficiently circumscribe it. 

*Summary by SOQUIJ
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