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Appearance and evidence: Is the proof in the pudding?

Event

4avr201412:30
to
14:00
Pavillon Chancellor-Day NCDH 202, 3644, rue Peel, Montréal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

Le Centre Paul-André Crépeau de droit privé et comparé Bertrand Stoffel, University of Zurich, pour un Atelier « Les apparences du droit civil ».

Résumé

(En anglais seulement) Appearance plays a major role in civil evidence. Certainly, the judge may sometimes rely on science to prove facts. Often however, the judge will have to base her judgment on what appears to her as true or false.

In private law, proof is the demonstration of an alleged fact. It is the process that will lead the judge to the intimate conviction of the existence of the fact. But what, then, are the criteria for the establishment of such demonstration? To a large extent, the judge will rely on her own experience to establish the existence of a fact. She will review documents, hear statements, and inspect locations. All this will put the fact in evidence: It will make it appear as true or false.

The evidence—or appearance—of a fact will always be provisional. That is to say, no matter how many pieces of evidence are available, one can never be sure that this is exactly how the fact happened. Indeed, to the observer, the fact evidenced will remain an isolated fact. Moreover, the appearance of that fact will be that which the observer, in his own position and with his own experience, will perceive.

This workshop will explore how proof in private law can be a matter of appearance and how it relies on observation and probability. Reliance on observation is not without problems. Observation will disturb the facts, suppressing some of them and putting others in front. In the same vein, the judge will need to base her findings on her experience of life in order to establish the probability of a fact, thus linking proof with considerable uncertainty and subjectivity.

Les ateliers de droit civil

En vue de promouvoir la réflexion fondamentale en droit privé, le Centre a instauré la série des « Ateliers de droit civil » qui permet de regrouper des juristes québécois et étrangers autour de thèmes de recherche communs. Dédiés à l’étude d’un thème de recherche transversal, les « Ateliers de droit civil » contribuent ainsi à enrichir et à stimuler la recherche fondamentale en droit privé.

Le cycle 2012-2014 des ateliers de droit civil, présenté par le Centre Paul-André Crépeau de droit privé et comparé, se déroule sous le thème « Les apparences en droit civil ».

Le cycle d'ateliers de droit civil compte sur l'appui financier des Fonds d’appui à l’accès à la justice dans les deux langues officielles.

Aucune inscription préalable n'est requise.