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Evidence by Presumption: Utility and Pitfalls

This webinar was presented on June 16, 2022, as part of our firm’s annual lectures on insurance law.


Property is stolen in a warehouse while the alarm system, unexplainably, was down. There is a suspect, an employee, but no one has seen him deactivate the alarm system or carry the property. Can we assume that he is a party to the theft simply because any other explanation must be ruled out?

This would be a case of proof by presumption, a method of adducing evidence ruled by most succinct rules in the Civil Code of Québec, the key ones being:

2846. A presumption is an inference drawn by the law or the court from a known fact to an unknown fact.

2849. Presumptions which are not established by law are left to the discretion of the court which shall take only serious, precise and concordant presumptions into consideration.

How can we figure out such a tersely-worded rule in the face of a virtually unlimited variety of inferences?

Please contact our speaker, Patrick Henry, for additional information on this topic.

A copy of his presentation, “La preuve par présomptions : utilités et écueils” is available here:

This continuing education activity had been approved by the Chambre de l’assurance de dommages. A certificate of attendance was issued upon request to members of the Bar of Québec and the Chambre des notaires du Québec. No continuing education certification can be issued for viewing the online version of this webinar.

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