Criminal Law and Penal


Lavery is the only major law firm in Québec which has incorporated within their infrastructure a team of criminal and penal lawyers as part of its multidisciplinary team. Lavery’s group of professionals have built an excellent reputation in criminal and penal law  based on their decades of invaluable experience. 


All matters regarding criminal or penal law including:

  • Fraud and theft charges
  • Forgery
  • Secret commissions
  • Telemarketing
  • Breach of trust
  • Impaired driving
  • Spousal abuse or other forms of assault, threats, and criminal harassment
  • Shoplifting
  • Drug offences
  • Mischief
  • Penal charges under federal or provincial legislation such as the Competition Act (antitrust) and Consumer Protection Act
  • Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act ( C.F.P.O.A.)
  • Witness support in criminal and penal cases
  • Advice to clients on filing complaints with police
  • Orders for restitution to individuals or corporations (including insurance companies) in criminal cases
  • Assistance to lawyers in non-criminal cases involving disputes or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Search and seizure matters
  • Any charges against corporations
  1. Artificial Intelligence and the 2017 Canadian Budget: is your business ready?

    The March 22, 2017 Budget of the Government of Canada, through its “Innovation and Skills Plan” ( mentions that Canadian academic and research leadership in artificial intelligence will be translated into a more innovative economy and increased economic growth. The 2017 Budget proposes to provide renewed and enhanced funding of $35 million over five years, beginning in 2017–2018 to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) which connects Canadian researchers with collaborative research networks led by eminent Canadian and international researchers on topics including artificial intelligence and deep learning. These measures are in addition to a number of interesting tax measures that support the artificial intelligence sector at both the federal and provincial levels. In Canada and in Québec, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program provides a twofold benefit: SR&ED expenses are deductible from income for tax purposes and a SR&ED investment tax credit (ITC) for SR&ED is available to reduce income tax. In some cases, the remaining ITC can be refunded. In Québec, a refundable tax credit is also available for the development of e-business, where a corporation mainly operates in the field of computer system design or that of software edition and its activities are carried out in an establishment located in Québec. This 2017 Budget aims to improve the competitive and strategic advantage of Canada in the field of artificial intelligence, and, therefore, that of Montréal, a city already enjoying an international reputation in this field. It recognises that artificial intelligence, despite the debates over ethical issues that currently stir up passions within the international community, could help generate strong economic growth, by improving the way in which we produce goods, deliver services and tackle all kinds of social challenges. The Budget also adds that artificial intelligence “opens up possibilities across many sectors, from agriculture to financial services, creating opportunities for companies of all sizes, whether technology start-ups or Canada’s largest financial institutions”. This influence of Canada on the international scene cannot be achieved without government supporting research programs and our universities contributing their expertise. This Budget is therefore a step in the right direction to ensure that all the activities related to artificial intelligence, from R&D to marketing, as well as design and distributions, remain here in Canada. The 2017 budget provides $125 million to launch a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy for research and talent to promote collaboration between Canada’s main centres of expertise and reinforce Canada’s position as a leading destination for companies seeking to invest in artificial intelligence and innovation. Lavery Legal Lab on Artificial Intelligence (L3AI) We anticipate that within a few years, all companies, businesses and organizations, in every sector and industry, will use some form of artificial intelligence in their day-to-day operations to improve productivity or efficiency, ensure better quality control, conquer new markets and customers, implement new marketing strategies, as well as improve processes, automation and marketing or the profitability of operations. For this reason, Lavery created the Lavery Legal Lab on Artificial Intelligence (L3AI) to analyze and monitor recent and anticipated developments in artificial intelligence from a legal perspective. Our Lab is interested in all projects pertaining to artificial intelligence (AI) and their legal peculiarities, particularly the various branches and applications of artificial intelligence which will rapidly appear in companies and industries. The development of artificial intelligence, through a broad spectrum of branches and applications, will also have an impact on many legal sectors and practices, from intellectual property to protection of personal information, including corporate and business integrity and all fields of business law. In our following publications, the members of our Lavery Legal Lab on Artificial Intelligence (L3AI) will more specifically analyze certain applications of artificial intelligence in various sectors and industries.

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  2. Implementation of a deferred proceedings program for enterprises: why wait?

    On October 3 2016, Table Justice-Québec, a roundtable organization grouping the main actors of the law and justice community in Quebec, made public its action plan and proposed 22 measures relating to the administration of justice in Quebec. One of the subjects discussed by the participants to this roundtable was that of increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution measures, such as the non-judicial processing of several adult offences and alternative measures for teenagers. Is it not now time for applying similar measures to legal persons through the implementation of a deferred proceedings program for enterprises? The deferred proceedings agreement, already implemented in several countries such as the United States and England, is defined as a negotiation procedure used in the context of penal and administrative proceedings. When a person collaborates with the prosecuting authority, either by acknowledging the facts giving rise to matter, by paying compensation or a fine or performing rehabilitation, the prosecuting attorney abandons the proceedings pending against that person. As early as 1970, this type of diversion, better known in Quebec as alternative measures for minors or diversion program for adults was put to the test in the context of a pilot project. Moreover, since 1995, a diversion program applicable to some criminal offences applies at the DPCP (Direction des poursuites criminelles et pénales) and also municipal courts. This diversion program allows the prosecutor under the authority of the DPCP to deal with the matter on a non-judicial basis (DPCP directive NOJ-1). Hence, various factors are taken into consideration for the application of the diversion program, such as the specific circumstances in which the offence was committed (degree of premeditation, subjective seriousness, particularly as to the consequences of the offence from the victim’s point of view, degree of participation of the alleged perpetrator and the interest of justice, degree of collaboration, risk of recurrence). Sending a warning letter (or a formal notice only used in the case of breach of a probation order containing a repayment condition) is the mean used to apply this program. The application of this diversion measures program directly reduces congestion in the courts and allow them to process other types of matters more speedily. However, this program does not apply to matters involving legal persons. Enterprises (as well as individuals) who run afoul of penal justice currently cannot avail themselves of the opportunity to avoid judicial proceedings. In the wake of the Jordan case1, would it not be time to implement such a measure for enterprises? In this case, the Supreme Court of Canada reminded all participants in the criminal justice system that they had to make efforts and coordinate in order to make additional structural and procedural changes. The highest court of Canada ordered a stay of the proceedings against Mr. Jordan since he had had to wait for 49 months (between the charges being laid and him being found guilty) to know the outcome of his case. The Supreme Court created a new analysis framework to determine what is a reasonable period of time for undergoing trial within the meaning of section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. According the Court, changes must be made. Accordingly, it is highly important for the judicial system to make substantial efficiency gains. In the light of these teachings, it seems to us that public authorities must now consider the implementation of alternative measures for enterprises. Moreover, concerning the advisability of instituting proceedings, it is important to note that DPCP directive ACC-3 currently requires the prosecutor to consider the existence of an alternative solution. Therefore, to the current requirement that prosecutors consider the application of the diversion program in the case of natural persons who committed criminal offences, should be added that of considering the application of a similar program to legal persons. The very efficiency of our judicial system, which, like any other public institution, has limited financial resources, is at stake. Why wait? R c. Jordan 2016 CSC 27 08-07-16.

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  3. Francization – Bill No 14 amending the Charter of the French language

    This publication was authored by Luc Thibaudeau, former partner of Lavery and now judge in the Civil Division of the Court of Québec, District of Longueuil. The title of this newsletter gives a good summary of the explanatory notes that serve as an introduction to Bill 14, entitled An Act to amend the Charter of the French language, the Charter of human rights and freedoms and other legislative provisions (the “Bill”). The legislator is concerned that English is being used systematically in certain workplaces. The Bill was tabled on December 5, 2012 and the proposed amendments are designed to reaffirm the primacy of French as the official and common language of Quebec.

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  1. Maude Lafortune-Bélair speaks at the 3rd edition of the Éditions Yvon Blais conference on insurance law

    Maude Lafortune-Bélair, a lawyer of the Litigation and Conflict Resolution group, spoke during the 3rd edition of the conference on insurance law organized by Éditions Yvon Blais, held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Montréal on October 18. Entitled L’exclusion pour actes criminels, her presentation addressed the specific elements to include when drafting and enforcing an exclusion clause for criminal acts. Me Lafortune-Bélair also discussed parallels that could be drawn between similar exclusions, such as those regarding intentional fault.

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