Top 5 Civil Code Rules You Probably Don’t Know   

Believe it or Not

The Civil Code of Québec gives Quebecers rules to live by in many areas of everyday life, including property ownership, marriage, and contracts. Some of these rules are well-known, but others might surprise you! 

Gone for now, but not forever 

Imagine someone you know disappears without leaving a forwarding address. They don’t answer anyone’s messages. They’re even officially declared dead. Some time later, they come back, to everyone’s surprise! Are they in an impossible situation? Not really! The Civil Code of Québec has several rules about what to do if someone comes back after being declared dead. For example, this person has the right to get their property back if they ask for it!  

Would you like an island with that? 

Imagine a small river runs through a piece of property you own. Over time, an island forms in the middle of this river. Believe it or not, the Civil Code covers this unusual situation: “An island formed in the bed of a watercourse belongs to the owner of the bed.” In other words, you become the owner of the island too in this case. 

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree 

Imagine your neighbour has an apple tree. One of their apples falls on your yard. Who owns the apple? Don’t worry, the Civil Code has the answer: “Fruit that falls from a tree onto neighbouring land belongs to the owner of the tree.” So, you’ll need to ask your neighbour’s permission before you take a bite. 

The clock is ticking 

When it comes to the law, deadlines are a critical question. It’s always important to know how much time you have to start court proceedings or assert your rights. For example, you have up to 10 years to act on a right given to you by a court decision. Now, how long is the longest deadline in the Civil Code, do you think? If you said 100 years, you’re right! It’s the maximum length for a lease. 

Buried treasure in the backyard 

Imagine some friends come over for a dinner party and find treasure buried deep in your backyard. Who gets to keep it? Unless you clearly instructed your friends to go look for treasure on your behalf, you only get to keep half. The other half is “finders keepers” according to the law. So, you might want to go over your backyard with a fine-toothed comb, you never know what you could find! 

Quebec is the only province that has a Civil Code. It’s a large law that includes thousands of civil law rules about people, objects, and their relationships… over 3,000, in fact!