- 2000, McGill College Avenue, Suite 600, Montreal, QC, H3A 3H3
- Tél:514 286-9800
- Fax:514 286-7827
In a recent judgement rendered on March 14th, 2022, the Professions Tribunal confirmed that the delays applicable in appeal before the Professions Tribunal are strict time limits that must be respected, even in the cases where the appealing party is not represented by counsel. In addition, the notice of appeal must be served to the other parties by bailiff (Alaoui v. Médecins vétérinaires (Ordre professionnel des), 2022 QCTP 10).
In an attempt to contest the decision on penalty rendered by the Disciplinary Council, the veterinarian, acting personally, filed a notice of appeal before the Professions Tribunal in which he claimed that the Council erred in fact and in law.
The assistant syndic of the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec, represented by counsel, filed a motion to dismiss the veterinarian’s appeal before the Professions Tribunals, alleging notably that the notice of appeal had not been served in accordance with the Professional Code and the Code of civil procedure.
In response, the veterinarian argued that seeing as he was not represented by counsel when preparing his appeal, he did so to the best of his knowledge, and even though the procedure may have been received outside the legal time limits, the assistant syndic suffered absolutely no prejudice from his mistake. He asks the Professions Tribunal to hear his appeal, as his arguments are serious and deserve the Tribunal’s consideration.
To begin, the Professions Tribunal describes the file’s procedural background: on February 26th, 2020, a disciplinary complaint was filed against the professional; on March 10th 2021, a decision on culpability was rendered by the Disciplinary Council by which the veterinarian was declared guilty of the complaint’s six counts; on September 20th, 2021, a decision on penalty was rendered by the Council, imposing a striking off the roll and a fine on said veterinarian.
On October 21st, 2021, the veterinarian filed a notice of appeal before the Professions Tribunal and sent an e-mail to the other parties, in which he informed them that a notice of appeal concerning the decision on penalty had been filed. However, it was not until the 27th and 28th of October, 2021, that the other parties received, by certified mail, a copy of the notice. Furthermore, the veterinarian never asked the Tribunal for permission to be relieved of his default by demonstrating his impossibility to act within the legal delays.
The Professions Tribunal confirms that section 164 of the Professional Code provides that the notice of appeal must be served to the other parties in accordance with the Code of civil procedure’s relevant dispositions and filed with the Court of Québec within thirty (30) days of the decision’s reception. The Code of civil procedure further specifies that the notice of appeal must be served by bailiff.
Although the veterinarian’s notice of appeal was filed well within the thirty (30) days of the decision on penalty, the notice was not received by the other parties within the same time limit and was not served to them by bailiff, contrary to the Code of civil procedure’s provisions.
This being said, the Professions Tribunal decides to dismiss the veterinarian’s appeal, all while specifying that in order to ensure an orderly administration of justice and avoid the congestion of the court system, the importance that the delays applicable in appeal be respected must not be minimized. In addition, the professional’s argument that he was not assisted by counsel when preparing his appeal must not be seriously considered, as ignorance of the law can never be accepted as a valid excuse before the courts.
Finally, the Professions Tribunal reiterates that a notice of appeal must be served to the other parties by bailiff. Failure to do so, in addition to the notice being received outside the legal time limit, was fatal in the circumstances and justifies the appeal being dismissed Dubé Légal inc., disciplinary law lawyers.