L’arrêt Bou Malhab : Du bon et du mauvais usage des dommages-intérêts pour diffamation d’un groupe


Chancellor Day Hall NCDH 202, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law will host Pierre-Gabriel Jobin, Emeritus Wainwright Professor of Civil Law, who will discuss the state of defamation law following the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Bou Malhab

Registration is not required.

A request for continuing legal education (CLE) accreditation has been submitted to the Barreau du Québec.


The majority’s reasoning in the Supreme Court’s 2011 Bou Malhab decision seems to be based on the proposition that freedom of expression trumps all other guaranteed rights and liberties. Was the right to reputation thereby sacrificed? And what of the right to honour, which was essentially passed over without comment in this decision, as in others? The cards always seem to favour the same player.

Injury caused by trash radio and by personal attacks on social networks and websites, among others, is increased tenfold given the power of today’s media. In this context, liability for defamation needs to be rethought. The criteria for determining real injury suffered by a member of a defamed group require review.

The Supreme Court in Bou Malhab had at its disposal a number of tools – that are rarely if ever used – had it been determined to sanction the defamatory, injurious and racist diatribe of the radio commentator: punitive damages and, among compensatory damages, nominal damages and damages for the injury resulting from the infringement of a fundamental right.