International perspectives and comparative law lead to a better understanding of civil liability

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Mariève Lacroix. I have been an Associate Professor in the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa since 2011.  

I completed a Bachelor of Laws followed by a Master of Laws at the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal. I had the opportunity to finish my dissertation while I was an articling student and then a lawyer at the Court of Appeal.  

Rather than pursuing a career in a law firm, I had the desire to go deeper into law, not Quebec law but rather another law, another legal system that challenged me, that had inspired our Quebec law: French law. And so, I left the Court of Appeal to pursue a graduate degree, a master’s degree in general private law, where I really had the opportunity to touch on all the cross-cutting subjects in the law of obligations, property and persons. And so, I came back at the end of this year with a degree exclusively in French law.  

Still with the aim of deepening my knowledge of the law, I said to myself: “Why not? Let’s go for a doctorate.” So, I enrolled at Laval University in Quebec City and began doctoral studies. Still on the subject of civil liability, I went to question a concept, the concept of wrongfulness, which exists in Germanic and Swiss law, in Switzerland in particular. So, to try to understand this concept and to see how we could integrate it into our Quebec law.  

This is what I did essentially as part of my studies, which ultimately led me to a teaching position here.  

This subject, I will confess, of civil liability constantly intrigues me and I keep wanting to renew the study of it, to question these concepts, to see how we could perhaps better link it to today’s concerns. Should we always seek to identify a potentially responsible perpetrator, or not rather go for a vision, a perspective of compensating the greatest number of victims? So, I find this subject of civil liability very rich.   

This is what essentially drives me. 

Professor Mariève Lacroix is passionate about the concept of liability and how it can best be applied to today’s concerns. In this capsule, she talks about her experience as a student and an emerging researcher, which led her to undertake graduate studies in France and in Quebec using a comparative law perspective.

Professor Lacroix’s research interests led to her engagement with concepts from French, German and Swiss legal systems. She undertook a theoretical and practical approach that has allowed her to provide a fresh take on the study, presentation and understanding of civil liability both in Canada and in other civil law systems.

Professor Lacroix’s research has allowed her to gain a new perspective on how civil liability applies to professionals, particularly lawyers, notaries, judges and police forces. Her work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal of Quebec in professional liability cases.

Her inspiring journey demonstrates how a researcher open to the world can contribute to the advancement of the law at home in Quebec.

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