With the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, as honorary president, the Salon VISEZ DROIT celebrated its 22nd edition under the theme “A Forward-Looking Justice”. Witnessing the success of the event, which ran from April 8 to 11, 2019 at Complexe Desjardins, were many lawyers and members of the public, who came to become better informed and to debate various issues involving in particular the environment, the family, new technologies, employment law and alternative justice.

On the opening day, Mtre Sonia Lebel, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, stressed the importance of the Salon, which gave the public an opportunity to discover their rights and meet actors in the legal milieu. Mtre Arif Virani, an M.P. and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, addressed the importance of promoting access to justice.

To pay tribute to their outstanding contribution to the activities of the Salon, Ms. Nathalie Otis, psychologist, and Mtre Michel Huot received the VISEZ DROIT prizes. They remained with us to take part in the activities and talk to members of the public attending the Salon.

With the collaboration of Ms. Gislaine Dufault, the hosts of the Salon, Mtre Francine Beaumier and Mtre Joey Hanna, presented various activities to the public and to students who had come especially for the event. The dialogue on #metoo and reasonable doubt, between Ms. Marie-Maude Denis, a CBC journalist and announcer, Ms. Karine MacDonald, a counsellor with the CAVAC, Mtre Marie-Christine Latour, a criminal defence lawyer, and Mtre Rachelle Pitre, assistant chief prosecutor with the DCPP, kicked off the programming with a highly topical discussion.

To demystify alternative methods of conflict resolution and the legal process, two simulations were presented on Monday and Thursday to explore mediation and out-of-court settlement. On Tuesday, students from Gentilly school and Jean-Grou school enthusiastically acted out skits to do with family law and animal rights. On Wednesday, students from Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf took part in simulating a session of the National Assembly, with Ms. Marie Grégoire playing the role of Speaker. The day ended with the awarding of prizes in the Write for Justice contest in which the winners dazzled us with their writing skills while answering the questions of Mtre André d’Orsonnens and Mtre François-Étienne Paré.

The last day began with a series of mini-debates on current issues. The students of Collège Jean-Eudes and Collège Stanislas rose to the challenge and presented their arguments convincingly. Finally, the traditional improvisation match brought the Salon to a close on a humorous note, although François-Étienne Paré proved himself to be a strict referee.

In spite of the bad weather from April 8 to 11, some 850 consultations were given during the event by more than 100 lawyers who volunteered their skills and professionalism to serve members of the public. A dozen lawyers were present in person and a number of others were available by telephone. The CAIJ made a valuable contribution again this year by offering research services throughout the legal consultations. The free consultations were just one of the elements promoting access to justice. As the Right Honourable Richard Wagner pointed out, quite rightly, for every litigant this access depends equally on understanding one’s rights and how society intervenes to prevent and settle conflicts.

The president emphasized the work that had been done by the many volunteers who were on site to provide consultations and the committee members who made sure that the programming was up to expectations, year after year. Warmest thanks to the exhibitors, whose involvement makes a major contribution to the transmission of legal information and the success of the Salon.

Merci aux partenaires de la 22e édition du Salon VISEZ DROIT :