Unlawful detention resulting from an administrative error

It is possible, in a few rare cases, for a person to be detained unfairly or for a longer period of time than allowed, as a result of an administrative error made by an employee of the Ministère de la Justice (MJQ) or of the Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP). 

The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms specifies that no one may be deprived of his liberty or of his rights except on grounds provided by law. In addition, Canada is a party to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that anyone who has been the victim of unlawful detention has a right to compensation. 

The MJQ and the MSP support the compensation of the victims of any unlawful detention caused by an error on the part of the MJQ or MSP.

Important

A claim may be submitted to the MJQ or MSP using this form, but only in cases where the administrative error can be ascribed in whole or in part to the MJQ or MSP.

If the unlawful detention resulted from an error made by a person who was not under the authority of the MJQ or MSP, the claim must be submitted directly to the person or organization concerned (such as a municipality or city, another provincial government or the Government of Canada).

A lawyer should be consulted if there is any doubt about the error that caused the detention covered by the claim, and to obtain more information about possible recourses and the time limits for submitting a claim. The Québec ombudsman may also be consulted.

What circumstances may lead to unlawful detention?

Unlawful detention may occur as a result of an administrative error made by the MJQ or by the MSP, for example when:

  • your identity is determined;
  • legal documents are exchanged between a police force, the court or the correctional system;
  • the minutes of a court hearing, a warrant or a court order is drafted;
  • the length of your term of imprisonment is calculated.

Claim process

If you believe that you have been unlawfully detained as the result of an administrative error made by an employee of the MJQ or MSP, you can claim compensation. You can print out, fill-out and sign a claim for unlawful detention resulting from an administrative error and send it by mail to the address indicated, along with a copy of any relevant documents. 

When a claim addressed to the MJQ or MSP is received, a preliminary analysis is completed.

If the claim appears to be unfounded, the claimant is informed accordingly.

If the claim appears to be founded, a complete analysis of the case is conducted to determine whether a compensation may be granted and, if so, the amount of the compensation. The claimant is informed of the results of the analysis and the amount of the compensation offered, if any.

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