Jean-François Morasse v. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)


Civil procedure - Contempt of court, Injunctions.


Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch). Please note that summaries are not provided to the Judges of the Court. They are placed on the Court file and website for information purposes only.

Civil procedure - Contempt of court - Injunction - Knowledge of order - Proof beyond reasonable doubt of knowledge of order and actus reus - Whether Court of Appeal erred in law in analyzing article 50 C.C.P. - Whether Court of Appeal erred in law in failing to consider contempt of court where person acting in such way as to impair authority of court - Whether Court of Appeal erred in law in allowing defence based on freedom of expression when no constitutional argument to this effect had been made - Whether sentence imposed by trial judge is reasonable - Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR, c. C-25, art. 50.

The dispute between the parties arose out of student unrest over proposed increases in university tuition fees. At the time, classes were being disrupted in a number of Quebec educational institutions by means of various pressure tactics. The appellant, Jean-François Morasse, applied for an interim interlocutory injunction to enable him to have free access to his classes. On April 12, 2012, Lemelin J. of the Quebec Superior Court granted the application, finding that the appellant had a clear right to the injunction and that he would sustain serious harm if he could not take his classes. On May 2, 2012, Émond J. of the Quebec Superior Court issued a safeguard order, finding that there was urgency, appearance of right and serious and irreparable harm, and thus effectively extended the previously granted interim interlocutory injunction until September 14, 2012.

On May 13, 2012, the respondent, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, at the time a spokesperson for the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), participated in a television interview. The appellant felt that comments made by the respondent in that interview constituted direct interference with the Superior Court’s safeguard order, and he filed a motion under art. 53 C.C.P. asking that the respondent be ordered to appear for contempt of court.