jeudi 9 avril 2015

Le test pour la suspension de l'instance: l'intérêt de la justice

par Karim Renno
Renno Vathilakis Inc.

Parfois nous les avocats compliquons les choses. C'est le cas en matière de suspension d'instance où l'Honorable juge Stephen Hamilton, dans Ludmer c. Canada (Attorney General) (2015 QCCS 1218), est venu grandement simplifier les choses en matière de suspension de l'instance. En effet, il indique qu'un seul critère doit guider les tribunaux québécois en la matière: l'intérêt de la justice.



Dans cette affaire, la Défenderesse, partie à plusieurs procédures contre le Demandeur dans multiples forum différents, demande la suspension de l'action en dommages pendantes devant la Cour supérieure.
 
La question se pose donc de savoir quels sont les critères pertinents à une telle demande.
 
Bien que les deux parties soumettent que le test applicable à une demande de suspension de l'instance implique plusieurs critères, le juge Hamilton exprime son désaccord et indique qu'un seul critère est pertinent, soit celui de l'intérêt de la justice:
[21]        Further, the courts also possess an inherent jurisdiction to stay proceedings pending before them if the interests of justice so require. One circumstance that may justify the exercise of that inherent jurisdiction is the existence of other proceedings pending before this or another court that are related but that fall short of the exception of lis pendens.  The suspension of proceedings is the exception and not the rule.   
[22]        The parties agree that the test applied by Québec courts for a stay of proceedings in these circumstances was set out by Roy J. in Malobabic-Giancristofaro c. O'connor
[5]           The applicable principles to a Motion to suspend proceedings have been defined by case law. They may be summarized as follows.   
[6]         The courts will order a stay of proceedings when:  
1.         there exists an indisputable connection between both instances;  
2.         the ultimate outcome of one instance depends, in large part, on that of the other;  
3.         "the proportionality rule" of article 4.2 C.C.P. dictates that the proceedings be stayed;  
4.         there exists a risk of contradictory judgments in relation to questions raised by both instances; and  
5.         the decision not to suspend would result in multiplying proceedings and costs for the parties. 
[23]        The parties also agree that this is a five-part test, and that each of the five parts must be met for the court to have discretion to stay the proceedings. 
[24]        The Court does not agree.  The sole test for granting a stay of proceedings is the interests of justice.  The list in Malobabic-Giancristofaro is simply a list of the circumstances in which courts have granted stays of proceedings, not a five-part test, each part of which must be met. 
[...] 
[26]        As a result, the Court will treat the list in Malobabic-Giancristofaro as a summary of cases where courts have granted stays.  The elements in the list are factors which the Court will consider in determining whether the interests of justice favour the granting of a stay.  The more factors in the list that are met and the fewer that are not, the more likely it is that the stay will be granted.  However, the list of factors is neither mandatory nor exhaustive.  Meeting one or more of the factors in Malobabic-Giancristofaro will not be conclusive that a stay should be granted, just as failing to meet one or more will not be fatal.  The factors must be weighed and not counted.  Also, other factors may be relevant.  The ultimate issue remains the interests of justice. 
[27]        The Court will therefore review which of the factors in the list are met in this case and to what extent.  For the purposes of this analysis, the Court has grouped together factors #2 and #4, and factors #3 and #5.  The Court will then analyze the interests of justice in light of those factors and any other relevant facts.
Référence : [2015] ABD 141

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