1. Home  
  2. Justice and civil status  
  3. Small claims  
  4. Filing a claim  
  5. Time limit for filing an application (prescription)

Time limit for filing an application (prescription)

If you want to file an application at the Small Claims Division, you should do so as soon as possible after the incident that caused the dispute. Your right to sue does not last forever.

Depending on the nature of your claim, you have between 2 weeks and 10 years to begin proceedings. Once this time has elapsed, it is too late to file an application. 

For more information, contact a legal advisor.

Latent defects

You have 3 years to file an application at the Small Claims Division concerning a latent defect.

However, you must have reported the situation to the seller within a reasonable time after the defect is discovered, to give the seller an opportunity to correct the problem. As a result, you should not carry out any corrective work yourself, unless urgent action is required.

For a latent defect, the time limit is calculated from the moment when 

  • you discover the defect;
  • you become aware of the seriousness of the problem, if it appears gradually.

If needed, either party can consult a legal advisor to obtain an opinion.

Proceedings against a municipality

In a case involving damage to property, you generally have 6 months to begin proceedings against the municipality you believe to be responsible, counting from the date on which the damage occurs.

Time limit for reporting damage

It is essential to report the damage to the municipality and state that you intend to sue within 15 days of the incident, or in some cases within a shorter time. If you fail to notify the municipality, you may lose your right to sue.

Bodily injury

In a case involving bodily injury, you have 3 years to begin proceedings against the municipality you believe to be responsible. You are not required to notify the municipality that you intend to sue.

If the bodily injury becomes apparent gradually, the 3-year time limit begins to run from the moment when the injury becomes apparent for the first time.

Last update: February 23, 2023


Was the information on this page useful to you?
General notice

You have questions or require additional information?

Please contact Services Québec