Vauclair, Lavallée, Buchholz (ad hoc)
Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court dismissing an application for emancipation. Dismissed.
The appellant was 13 years and 10 months old when he presented an application for full emancipation. During his testimony, he said that he was ready to take on greater responsibility and that he trusted his parents, stating that full emancipation would allow him to own immovables in his own name. His mother and father both declared that they wanted their son to learn about the world of business and develop his sense of responsibility.
The appellant argues the trial judge erred in law by setting the minimum age for full emancipation of a minor at 16 years old. The appellant claims the judge failed to analyze the serious reason for his application.
There is no need to determine the issue of the minimum age to apply for full emancipation because the judge continued his analysis and held that full emancipation was neither necessary nor desirable in the child’s interests. In the judge’s view, there was no serious reason to justify declaring the appellant fully emancipated. It is basically a question of fact that falls to the assessment of the Court. The judge’s conclusion was based on the evidence, i.e., the testimony of the parents and the appellant.
Article 175 of the Civil Code of Québec (S.Q. 1991, c. 64) does not define “serious reason”. Each case turns on its own facts, but emancipation is generally considered to address a pressing and substantial difficulty when the minor displays a certain maturity. This is because upon full emancipation, the minor loses the legal protections granted to a child. Full emancipation is therefore an exceptional measure, and the burden of proof is high.
In this case, the judge asked several times during the hearing of the application whether there was a serious reason and the father gave evasive answers. The judge’s conclusion therefore contains no reviewable error.
Text of the decision: http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca