Bernier Beaudry, avocats d'affaires

Home > Publications > Extinctive prescription

Extinctive prescription

Does the word prescription ring a bell? Let’s hope it does, because it is a fundamental concept within Quebec’s legal system. In fact, it is a way to gain or lose a right simply based on the passage of time[1].  With that in mind, we believe everyone should have a certain awareness of the rules surrounding this mechanism.  

There are two types of prescription: acquisitive prescription[2] and extinctive prescription.  For the purpose of this article, we will only discuss extinctive prescription.

The Civil Code of Quebec defines extinctive prescription as a means of extinguishing a right owing to its non-use or of pleading a peremptory exception to an action[3].  Concretely, this legal jargon means that a person can lose their right to sue by simply not doing so in the timeframe provided by law. 

Several delays are provided by law based on the nature of the right.  For example, an action to enforce a personal right or movable real right, without a doubt the most frequently used, is prescribed by three years[4].  However, the prescription can be shorter or longer depending on the judicial application.  It is therefore important to qualify the nature of the right a person wishes to claim in order to calculate the prescription to which they are subject.

Several other elements must be considered in order to determine if a legal claim is prescribed.  The facts of each case must be studied in depth in order to evaluate if the right is prescribed, particularly by pinpointing the starting point of the prescription or by establishing if the parties have renounced, interrupted or suspended the prescription.

To summarize, it is difficult and complicated to understand all the rules surrounding prescription, and therefore, it is always recommended to consult with professionals who will be able to advise you in order to ensure that your right is not lost by the mere passage of time.

[1] Article 2875 C.c.Q.

[2]For more information on acquisitive prescription please click on the following link :

[3] Article 2921 C.c.Q.

[4] Article 2925 C.c.Q.

< Back to the list

Did you know…

More than 25 years ago, in an attempt to intervene in urgent immigration files, the federal government introduced on-call services on a voluntary basis by it jurist employees. These jurists were allowed to enroll in the on-call services, which would ensure their availability and their presence after work hours as well as weekends. Their usual compensation for this service would be supplemental hours or paid leave for their on-call hours served.


What's new

Notice - Telephone system in Thetford Mines


Copyright 2020 © Bernier Beaudry inc.   |   Web and multimedia agency : Image de Mark, strategic marketing