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Deed

A deed is a document that attests to a juridical act.[1] For example, a deed of acquisition attests to the transfer of ownership that takes place in a sale. “Deed” (Fr. acte) appears to be interchangeable with “act” in the Civil Code of Québec (“CCQ”).

     “Deed” as it appears in the CCQ differs significantly from its counterpart in common law. In the common law, a deed is a document that bears a signature and seal, and that is intended to bring about juridical consequences.[2] Common law deeds are most commonly associated with the conveyance of interests in land,[3] but they can also be used to make gifts of personalty, to exercise powers of appointment, to change one’s name, or to create a binding obligation in the absence of contractual consideration. The requirement of “delivery” of a common law deed does not refer to physical delivery but to an intention that the deed take legal effect. Although the functions of a deed of the CCQ may overlap with the functions of a common law deed, the term carries a different set of connotations and requirements in Quebec. “Delivery”, in the special sense associated with common law deeds, is not relevant in Quebec civil law, nor is there any requirement of sealing. Conversely, while a common law deed can be created privately, the intervention of a notary is required to make the deed conform to the standards of a notarial act under Quebec civil law.[4]

[1]F Allard et al, eds, Private Law Dictionary of Obligations and Bilingual Lexicons, (Cowansville, Que: Yvon Blais, forthcoming) sub verbo “deed” [Allard].
[2]Friedmann Equity Developments Inc. v Final Note Ltd., [2000] 1 S.C.R. 842, 188 D.L.R. (4th) 269 at [36]; Bryan A. Garner, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, 3rd ed (Oxford, New York : Oxford University Press, 2011) sub verbo “deed(A)”.
[3]Black’s Law Dictionary, revised 4th ed, sub verbo “deed”.
[4]F Allard et al, eds, Private Law Dictionary of Property and Bilingual Lexicons, (Cowansville, Que: Yvon Blais, forthcoming) sub verbo “deed”.