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12 - The positive experience of the Civil Code of Quebec in the North American common law environment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2009

Claude Masse
Affiliation:
Professor of Law Université du Québec à Montréal, Quebec
Hector L. MacQueen
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Antoni Vaquer
Affiliation:
Universitat de Lleida
Santiago Espiau Espiau
Affiliation:
Universitat de Lleida
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Summary

Presentation

The Civil Code of Quebec occupies a special place on the North American continent. Quebec is virtually the only state in North America to be endowed with a civil code in a juridical environment almost wholly dedicated to Common Law. In our opinion, Quebec's historical development and dynamic current show that a small state's civil code is capable of developing itself and becoming the prime source of inspiration in the private law of the citizens of a community, even though such a community represents a minority within a broader setting.

Moreover, far from being a cause of legal acculturation and cultural alienation conflicting with Quebec's civilist culture, the coexistence of Common Law and Civil Law in Canada has been, from the very beginning of Quebec's history, a unique opportunity to benefit from a good number of innovations and unique institutions drawn from one or the other legal tradition. Very few countries have the good fortune of being at the bridge of two great juridical traditions as rich as the French-inspired Civil Code and the British-inspired Common Law. However, in the very near future, the globalisation of economic markets, as well as the move towards legal harmonisation, namely in the context of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade, will have to be monitored closely to ensure the continuity of our most fundamental legal institutions, especially the Civil Code of Quebec.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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