Supreme Court Judgments

Decision Information

Decision Content

Supreme Court of Canada

Marriage — Foreign divorce — Invalidity — Subsequent re-marriage — Good faith—Putative marriage—Civil effects—Succession rights—Italian law —Arts, 6, 163, 164, 183, 207 C.C.—Art. 548 C.C.P.

In 1904, dame Marguerite C. Stephens married Colonel Hamilton Gault at Montreal where they were both domiciled. They lived together in matrimony until 1914, when Colonel Gault went to France in command of a Canadian regiment and remained a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France and in England until the end of the war. In the years 1916 and 1917 difficulties arose between Gault and his wife. In 1917 cross actions for separation from bed and board were commenced and subsequently abandoned; and petition and cross-petition for divorce were lodged and also subsequently withdrawn. About November, 1917, dame Stephens went to London, then to Paris, where she carried on works of charity in aid of victims of the war. In the fall of 1918, Colonel Gault and his wife, being both in France, engaged in their respective duties, because of the war, the latter instituted an action for divorce against her husband before the Civil Tribunal of First Instance of the Department of the Seine, Paris, which action was maintained by a judgment of that Tribunal, on the 20th of December, 1918. On the 14th of October, 1919, the respondent went through a form of marriage in Paris with dame Stephens, in compliance with all the formalities required by French law, the marriage having been preceded by an execution of a marriage contract, whereby inter alia the parties to it purported to submit their matrimonial affairs to the laws of Italy. They lived together as man and wife until the end of July, 1925, when they executed a separation agreement in Rome by which inter alia the respondent acknowledged payment of $5,000 in consideration of which he waived all present or future claim for aliment. At that time dame Stephens ceased to cohabit with the respondent and shortly afterwards returned to the province of Quebec where she continued to live until her death in 1930. An action was brought in May, 1931, by the respondent against the appellant as executor of the last will and testatment of the late dame Stephens; and the respondent’s claim was that, as the husband or the putative husband of the late dame Stephens, he was entitled, in virtue of Italian law, to the usufruct of one-third of the estate of the latter. The trial judge and the appellate court held the respondent was entitled to succeed; and accordingly an accounting was directed.

Held, that the Court in France had no jurisdiction to pronounce a decree of divorce and to dissolve the marriage tie, such judgment not being recognizable in the courts of Quebec where the domicile of both

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spouses was situated at the date of the judgment; and that therefore the marriage between the respondent and dame Stephens was null ab initio; but

Held, Cannon J. dissenting, that, the good faith of the respondent not being disputed, the marriage was a putative marriage in the sense of the Italian law as well as of the law of Quebec and that the status of dame Stephens and the respondent was during her lifetime that of putative spouses within the intendment of articles 163 and 164 of the Civil Code. Thus the marriage settlement and the putative marriage itself produced their “civil effects” quoad property as if the putative marriage had been a real one; and, both by the law of Quebec and that of Italy, among these “civil effects” would be included any share of the husband or wife in good faith in the succession of his or her consort. Therefore, the respondent, his nationality having remained unchanged, has the right, among the rights flowing from the putative marriage, to demand the share in the succession of his putative wife to which he would have been entitled by Italian law, had the marriage been valid[1].

Per Cannon J. dissenting.—The courts of the province of Quebec should merely declare, in deciding the issues raised by the respondent’s action, that the marriage invoked by the latter and the marriage settlement preceding it should receive no effect before these courts, and no declaration should be made as to their validity, as such a decision would not be within the scope of their jurisdiction. Even assuming such jurisdiction, the first husband not having been made a party to the respondent’s action, no judgment concerning the validity of the divorce granted in Paris would be binding on him—Moreover, the respondent cannot claim the advantages insulting from the provisions of article 163 C.C. Even assuming good faith, the respondent cannot include among the “civil effects” of the putative marriage a change of nationality for dame Stephens from British to Italian; and the respondent has not established otherwise that dame Stephens had acquired Italian nationality through a marriage recognized as valid by the courts of Quebec and that she had retained such nationality at the time of her death. Therefore the respondent’s action should be dismissed.

Berthiaume v. Dastous ([1930] A.C. 79) disc.

Judgment of the Court of King’s Bench ([1937] 3 D.L.R. 605). affirmed.

APPEAL from the judgment of the Court of King’s Bench, appeal side, province of Quebec[2], affirming the judgment of the Superior Court, Demers P.J., which maintained the respondent’s action, and ordered the appellant to render to the respondent an accounting of the estate and succession of the late dame Marguerite C. Stephens.

The material facts of the case and the questions at issue are stated in the above head-note and in the judgments now reported.

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Aimé Geoffrion K.C., Geo. H. Montgomery K.C. and L. H. Ballantyne K.C. for the appellant.

John T. Hackett K.C. and J. E. Mitchell for the respondent.

The judgment of the Chief Justice and of Crocket, Davis and Hudson JJ. was delivered by

The Chief Justice.—The action out of which this appeal arises was brought by the respondent Falchi against the appellant as executor of the last will and testament of the late Marguerite Claire Stephens. The respondent’s claim in brief was that, as the husband or the putative husband of the deceased Marguerite Claire Stephens, he was entitled, in virtue of Italian law, by which he alleged the determination of the issue is governed, to the usufruct of one-third of the estate of the appellant’s de cujus.

The trial judge, Mr. Justice Philippe Demers, and the judges of the Court of King’s Bench unanimously held the respondent entitled to succeed and, accordingly, an accounting was directed, further adjudications being reserved.

A brief statement of the facts is unavoidable. The late Marguerite Claire Stephens and Colonel Hamilton Gault were married in Montreal on the 16th of March, 1904, both being British subjects and domiciled in the province of Quebec. They lived together in matrimony until 1914 when Colonel Gault went to France in command of a Canadian regiment; he remained a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France and in England until the end of the war, returned to Canada for demobilization and was struck off the strength of the Expeditionary Force on the 21st of December, 1919.

Difficulties arose between Colonel Gault and his wife in the years 1916 and 1917, cross actions for separation were commenced, and on the 30th of March, 1917, a judgment of separation was given in the wife’s action against her husband. There was an appeal but the judgment was desisted from and proceedings on both sides were abandoned.

A little earlier, petition and cross-petition for divorce had been lodged with the Senate of Canada and, subsequently, withdrawn. On the 20th of December, 1918, a judgment of divorce was pronounced between them at the

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instance of the wife by the Civil Tribunal of First Instance of the Department of the Seine, Paris.

It is not seriously open to dispute that at the date of this judgment the domicile of both spouses was in Quebec. The French tribunal had, therefore, no authority recognizable by the courts of Quebec to pronounce a decree dissolving the marriage tie. By the law of Quebec, marriage is dissoluble only by Act of Parliament or by the death of one of the spouses. By article 6 of the Civil Code, status is determined by the law of the domicile.

The facts resemble those under examination in the case of Stevens v. Fisk[3]. The husband was domiciled in Quebec and there also, since they were not judicially separated, by the law of Quebec, was the domicile of the wife. The wife having complied with the conditions of residence necessary to enable her under the law of New York to sue for divorce in that state and, under those laws, to endow the courts of the State with jurisdiction to grant her such relief, obtained there a judgment for divorce a vinculo; the husband having appeared in the proceedings and taken no exception to the jurisdiction. It is not quite clear that the wife, had she been free to acquire a separate domicile, would not have been held to have done so; here there is no room for dispute that Mrs. Gault never acquired a French domicile in fact.

In both cases, therefore, the domicile of both consorts was in Quebec; in the one, in fact; in the other, in case of the wife, by force of law. It may at this point be recalled that, by the law of Quebec (Art. 207 C.C.) the wife acquires, as one of the consequences of separation from bed and board, the capacity to choose for herself a domicile other than that of her husband. The critical issue in Stevens v. Fisk3 was whether in these circumstances the Quebec courts should recognize the New York divorce. The Court of Queen’s Bench by a majority (of whom Dorion C.J. was one) held the divorce invalid in Quebec. This judgment was reversed in this Court[4] but Mr. Justice Strong dissented, explicitly agreeing with the conclusion as well as the reasoning of the majority of the Queen’s Bench. The considérants I am about to quote express the grounds of the judgment in the Queen’s Bench

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and, as we shall see, are entirely in accord with the principles now established by judgments of the Privy Council. At the time, it had the weighty support of the two great judges whose names I have specified.

The considérants are these:—

Considering that the parties in this cause were married in the year 1871 in the state of New York, one of the United States of America, where they were then domiciled;

Considering that shortly after, to wit, about the year 1872, they removed to the city of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, with the intention of fixing their residence permanently in the said province;

And considering that the said appellant has been engaged in business and has constantly resided at the said city of Montreal since his arrival in 1872, and that he has acquired a domicile in the province of Quebec;

And considering that the female respondent has only left the domicile of her husband at the city of Montreal in 1876, and obtained her divorce from the appellant in the state of New York, in the year 1880, while they both had their legal domicile in the province of Quebec;

And considering that under article 6 of the Civil Code of Lower Canada, parties who have their domicile in the province of Quebec are governed even when absent from the province by its laws respecting the status and capacity of such parties;

And considering that according to the laws of the province of Quebec marriage is indissoluble, and that divorce is not recognized by said laws, nor are the courts of justice of the said province authorized to pronounce for any cause whatsoever a divorce between parties duly married;

And considering that the decree of divorce obtained by the female respondent in the state of New York has no binding effect in the province of Quebec, and that notwithstanding such decree, according to the laws of the said province the female respondent is still the lawful wife of the appellant, and could not sue the said appellant for the restitution of her property without being duly authorized thereto.

These considérants rest upon the principles of law applicable to the question now before us. The governing principle is explained in the judgment delivered by Lord Watson, speaking for the Privy Council in Le Mesurier v. Le Mesurier[5] as follows:—

Their Lordships have in these circumstances, and upon these considerations, come to the conclusion that, according to international law, the domicile for the time being of the married pair affords the only true test of jurisdiction to dissolve their marriage. They concur, without reservation, in the views expressed by Lord Penzance in Wilson v. Wilson[6] which were obviously meant to refer, not to questions arising in regard to the mutual rights of married persons, but to jurisdiction in the matter of divorce;

It is the strong inclination of my own opinion that the only fair and satisfactory rule to adopt on this matter of jurisdiction is to insist upon the parties in all cases referring their matrimonial differences to the Courts

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of the country in which they are domiciled. Different communities have different views and laws respecting matrimonial obligations, and a different estimate of the causes which should justify divorce. It is both just and reasonable, therefore, that the differences of married people should be adjusted in accordance with the laws of the community to which they belong, and dealt with by the tribunals which alone can administer those laws. An honest adherence to this principle, moreover, will preclude the scandal which arises when a man and woman are held to be man and wife in one country and strangers in another.

This principle has since been applied in Lord Advocate v. Jaffrey[7] and Attorney-General for Alberta v. Cook[8].

The principle of this judgment is, in my opinion, applicable to the circumstances of this case. The rule laid down by article 185 of the Civil Code is in itself unequivocal. “Marriage,” it says,

can only be dissolved by the natural death of one of the parties; while both live, it is indissoluble.

So long as both the spouses have their domicile in Quebec, dissolution of marriage can, as already observed, only be affected by an enactment of a competent legislature. The wife, it is true, has capacity to acquire a domicile separate from her husband where a judicial separation has been pronounced and is in force; and, by article 6, the laws of Lower Canada

do not apply to persons domiciled out of Lower Canada, who, as to their status and capacity, remain subject to the laws of their country.

Difficult questions may arise in the application of these rules and principles of the Code in respect of jurisdiction in matrimonial proceedings where a decree of judicial separation having been pronounced the husband remains domiciled in Quebec While the wife has acquired for herself a domicile elsewhere. It is unnecessary to enter upon a discussion of this subject. One conceivable view is that in such a case no court has jurisdiction to pronounce a decree of divorce between the parties recognizable by the law of Quebec.

As regards the divorce proceedings to which reference has just been made, I can see no reason for refusing to apply the principle of the judgments of the Privy Council in view of the fact that both parties were at the time domiciled in Quebec.

On the 14th of October, 1919, the respondent went through a form of marriage in Paris with Mrs. Gault (the late Marguerite Claire Stephens), the marriage having

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been preceded by the execution of a marriage contract on the 3rd of October, 1919, whereby inter alia the parties to it purported to submit their matrimonial affairs to the laws of Italy. They lived together as man and wife in Italy, France and the province of Quebec until the 2nd of July, 1925, when they executed a separation agreement in Rome by which inter alia the respondent acknowledged payment of the sum of $5,000 in consideration of which he waived all present or future claim for aliment and declared:—

I approve the above payment and declare that I renounce every other payment that my wife might be obliged to make after her death.

Of this agreement the respondent undertook to obtain confirmation by the proper tribunal but failed to do so; there is unanimity of opinion in the courts below that this document could not operate as a valid renunciation of rights in an unopened succession. At this time the late Marguerite Claire Stephens ceased to cohabit with the respondent, and shortly afterwards returned to the province of Quebec where she continued to live until her death.

The learned trial judge and three of the judges of the Court of King’s Bench came to the conclusion that this marriage was null ab initio,—and with this I agree. It is not, I think, without relevancy that Marguerite Claire Stephens was a British subject and, as regards her, therefore, this marriage was under the ban of the Statute of James, (Earl Russell’s case[9]).

Before proceeding further, I ought to notice an argument to the effect that Colonel Gault, having appeared in the divorce proceedings in Paris instituted by the late Marguerite Claire Stephens, the judgment in those proceedings must be taken as valid as against the appellant, on the ground that she in her lifetime was estopped from disputing the jurisdiction of the Paris court and that he is in no better position; and, again, that the Paris divorce stands as a valid judgment until it is competently set aside. This view was accepted by the majority of the judges of this Court in Stevens v. Fisk[10]. It will not be necessary to examine those judgments. It results from Le Mesurier v. Le Mesurier[11] and the decisions based

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upon it that, the court having no jurisdiction to dissolve the marriage tie, the judgment cannot be recognized in the courts of Quebec. It follows also from the principles laid down in those judgments that consent on the part of the spouses to the exercise of jurisdiction is of no significance.

I have come to the conclusion that the good faith of the respondent not being disputed, the marriage was a putative marriage in the relevant sense. It is, nevertheless, important, as Mr. Geoffrion contended, in considering the “civil effects” to be ascribed to that marriage for the benefit of the respondent, to bear in mind that it was in the strict sense a bigamous marriage, a marriage which could not deprive the putative wife of her British nationality because her nationality remained that of her lawful husband. It could not, moreover, as I humbly think, confer upon the respondent any rights incompatible with the recognition of the status of the lawful husband as bound to Marguerite Claire Stephens as such, or of the status of Marguerite Claire Stephens as bound to him as his lawful wife.

So long as the vinculum of the real marriage subsisted, no act, as I humbly think, of either of the spouses, no form of marriage in which either of them might participate could deprive her of the legal status of his wife or him of the legal status of her husband.

The status of Marguerite Claire Stephens and the respondent was during her lifetime that of putative spouses within the intendment of articles 163 and 164. As I venture to think, the true position is stated by Pothier in the following passage. (Pothier, Vol. 6, 197, nos. 437 and 438):—

le cas auquel un mariage, quoique nul, a des effets civils, est lorsque les parties qui l’ont contracté, étaient dans la bonne foi, et avaient une juste cause d’ignorance d’un empêchement dirimant qui le rendait nul.

On peut apporter pour exemple le cas auquel la femme d’un soldat qu’on avait vu, le jour d’un combat, couché parmi les morts sur le champ de bataille, et qu’on avait en conséquence cru mort, quoiqu’il ne le fut pas, se serait mariée à un autre homme, sur la foi d’un certificat de mort de son mari, en bonne forme, qu’elle aurait du major du régiment. Si longtemps et depuis qu’elle a eu des enfants de ce second mariage, son premier mari, qu’on croyait mort, vient à reparaître, il n’est pas douteux que le second mariage que cette femme a contracté, est nul; qu’elle doit quitter son second mari, et retourner avec le premier; son premier mariage qui a toujours subsisté, ayant été un empêchement dirimant du second; mais

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quoique ce second mariage soit nul, la bonne foi des parties qui l’ont contracté lui donne, par rapport aux enfants qui en sont nés, les effets civils que produisent les mariages, en donnant aux enfants les droits de famille, et tous les autres droits qu’ont les enfants nés d’un légitime mariage. En conséquence les enfants nés de ce second «mariage viendront aux successions de leurs père et mère, et même concourrent à celle de leur mère avec les enfants qu’elle a eus de son premier mariage.

Comment, direz-vous, ce mariage qui est nul peut-il donner ces droits aux enfants qui en sont nés? car, quod nullum est, nullum producit effectum. La réponse est que si ce mariage, en tant qu’il est considéré comme nul, ne peut pas les leur donner, la bonne foi des parties qui l’ont contracté les leur donne, en suppléant à cet égard au vice du mariage.

438. La bonne foi des parties qui ont contracté un mariage nul, donne-t-elle pareillement à ce mariage les effets civils, à l’effet de confirmer entre elles leurs conventions matrimoniales, et de donner à la femme un douaire? Il y a même raison.

On opposera que les conventions matrimoniales dépendent de la condition, si nuptias sequantur, laquelle n’a pas été accomplie, puisqu’on ne peut pas dire qu’elles ont été suivies d’un mariage entres les parties; celui qui a suivi n’étant pas un véritable mariage, puisqu’il est nul. La réponse est, que la bonne foi des parties qui l’ont contracté, supplée à la nullité de ce mariage, et fait regarder la condition comme accomplie, de même qu’elle fait regarder comme légitimes les enfants qui en sont nés.

It will be observed that Pothier says not a word to sanction the view that the solemnization of the second marriage affects the status of the parties to the lawful marriage. He is very careful to make it clear that the rights which that solemnization engenders are rights springing from the good faith by which the parties were actuated; rights which would have been “civil effects” of the ceremony if the former husband, erroneously supposed to be dead, had been dead in truth.

I shall have to revert to this topic.

Before proceeding further, it is necessary to consider the question of the domicile of Marguerite Claire Stephens at the time of her death.

Mr. Geoffrion earnestly pressed upon us the contention that, since the decree of separation pronounced in 1917 was desisted from with the consent of the husband, the cause was thereby by force of section 548 of the Code of Civil Procedure, put in the same position “as it was in before the judgment.” I should have been disposed to think, were it not for the views expressed in the Quebec courts, that since the law favours the removal of obstacles to the reunion of separated spouses, and since the désistement from the judgment in due form with the common consent of both parties would be one step on the way,

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effect ought to be given in the case of a judgment of separation to this article of the Code of Civil Procedure as in the case of other judgments. On this point, however, I defer to the views of the Quebec judges. Mr. Justice Demers appears to entertain no doubt that the only way in which the separation decree could be abrogated would be by actual reunion of the husband and wife as contemplated by article 130; and the majority of the judges of the Court of King’s Bench appear to agree with him.

The question whether or not the putative wife did acquire a domicile separate from that of her lawful husband by reason of the putative marriage is a question to be settled by the law of Quebec. The courts of Quebec administer the law of Quebec and no other law. If they apply the rules of the law of another country, it is because the law of Quebec commands them to do so in the circumstances. Whether or not the conditions are such as to require the application of the rules of law of another country is a question they must decide under their own law as to what constitutes domicile and what are the conditions under which a change of domicile takes place.

If, at the date of the putative marriage, the judicial separation was not still in force, the Quebec domicile of the putative wife was not, I think, lost in consequence of that marriage because she could not acquire another domicile consistently with due recognition of the existing lawful marriage; as such recognition imports identity of domicile of the spouses.

If the judicial separation was still in force (and I am accepting that view) there are great difficulties, as I see it, in holding that ipso jure her domicile became the domicile for the time being of the putative husband.

These alternatives, however, do not exhaust the possible situations. Since, on the last mentioned hypothesis, by the law of Quebec, she was free to acquire another domicile in fact, it is, on that hypothesis, a question of fact whether or not a change of domicile did take place. In my view of the facts, the marriage contract, the putative marriage, the residence in Italy, constitute evidence from which the inference ought to be drawn that she acquired an Italian domicile in fact. I think, nevertheless, that in point of fact she reverted to her domicile of origin when

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she ascertained the invalidity of the putative marriage and returned to reside in Quebec. Before she had ascertained the true legal position she was living separately from her putative husband by agreement, and, once she ascertained the truth, it was, as Pothier points out, her duty no longer to cohabit with him. The evidence, it appears to me, points conclusively to an intention on her part to establish herself permanently in Quebec.

This brings us to the precise question raised by the appeal: Has the respondent the right, among the rights flowing from the putative marriage, to demand the share in the succession of the putative wife to which he would have been entitled by Italian law had the marriage been valid and the nationality of the husband remained (as it has remained) unchanged?

Since the litigation is in the courts of Quebec and the domicile of the de cujus was, at her death, in the province of Quebec, this question must be determined by the law of Quebec, regard being had, of course, to the Italian law to the extent to which, for this purpose, the law of Quebec recognizes and applies it in the circumstances. As regards the “civil effects” of putative marriage, there appears to be no pertinent difference between the law of Italy and that of Quebec.

The claim of the respondent, accordingly, rests upon the principle of articles 163 and 164 of the Civil Code which are in these terms:—

163. a marriage although declared null, produces civil effects, as well with regard to the husband and wife as with regard to the children, if contracted in good faith.

164. If good faith exist on the part of one of the parties only, the marriage produces civil effects in favour of the children issue of the marriage.

Now, the first thing to be observed is that these articles are not limited in their operation to marriages in Quebec. In Berthiaume v. Dastous[12] the marriage had been celebrated in France; although by French law in point of form radically null, “void,” as the judgment of the Privy Council says, “ab initio,” and consequently (as the cause of nullity concerned solemnization) null by the law of Quebec on the principle locus regit actum. The right which was there affirmed (right to alimony after a declaration of

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nullity) was recognized as one of the “civil effects” of this marriage solemnized in France. Here, the personal law of each of the spouses at the critical moment, the death of Marguerite Claire Stephens, recognizes the “civil effects” produced by putative marriages; and in their application to the circumstances of this case according to the same principles.

My conclusion is that, both by the law of Quebec and that of Italy, among the “civil effects” would be included any share of the husband or wife in good faith, as the case might be, in the succession of his or her consort. I am now considering the scope of “civil effects” in the general sense, and I think the proper conclusion is that it includes any share in the inheritance to which the putative consort in good faith would be entitled in the events which have actually happened if the marriage had been a real one; subject, in the case of a bigamous marriage, to full recognition of the lawful marriage and the rights arising out of it. In this case, there is no suggestion that the rights of the real husband come into competition. That, as I understand it, is in substance the view of Mr. Justice Demers.

Lord Dunedin points out, if I may say so, with great force, that the children are linked with husband and wife in these articles. Pothier, it will be noticed, in the passage quoted above, expressly includes hereditary rights among the “civil effects” of which the children take the benefit. Hereditary rights are included under Scotch law (Fraser, Husband and Wife, Vol. I, 152) and, as regards Italian law, there is no serious dispute.

Laurent (2 Br. Civ., nos. 510 and 511, pp. 646-648) says:—

510. Si les deux époux sont de bonne foi, dit l’article 201, le mariage annulé produit les effets civils à leur égard. Ils ont donc tous les droits qui naissent d’un mariage légal, d’abord sur la personne et les biens de leurs enfants; ils exercent la puissance paternelle et l’usufruit qui y est attaché. Voilà un effet qui se prolonge au delà du jugement qui prononce la nullité, et par la force des choses. Il en est de même des conventions matrimoniales des époux, des donations qu’ils se sont faites. Tous ces effets sont incontestables. Mais que faut-il dire des effets que le mariage produit entre les époux? Il est certain qu’il ne peut plus être question du devoir de fidélité, ni de la protection que le mari doit à sa femme, ni de l’obéissance que la femme doit à son mari. Mais si l’un des époux était sans fortune, ne pourrait-il pas demander une pension alimentaire de son conjoint? Le code donne ce droit au conjoint qui a obtenu le divorce (art. 301). Il nous semble que cette disposition doit recevoir son

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application, par analogie, au mariage putatif. Il y a, en effet, même raison de décider. L’époux sans fortune doit compter sur la subsistance que le mariage lui assure; combien d’unions sont contractées dans cette vue! Ce serait donc tromper l’attente des contractants que de les priver de cet avantage.

511. * * * La vraie difficulté est donc celle-ci: la fiction s’étend-elle au droit héréditaire? La loi maintient le droit d’hérédité au profit des enfants, des père et mère, et même des parents; pourquoi ne maintiendrait-elle pas le droit de succession au profit du conjoint? N’est-ce pas là un des effets civils du mariage? Dès lors ne faut-il pas dire que cet effet est produit par le mariage putatif? La seule objection sérieuse que l’on puisse faire au conjoint, c’est que le mariage annulé ne peut plus produire de nouveaux effets à partir du jugement qui a prononcé la nullité; or, le droit de succession est un nouvel effet. Mais cet argument ne peut pas être opposé aux enfants; pourquoi donc l’opposerait-on à l’époux?

In Berthiaume v. Dastous[13], the Privy Council had to consider a case in which they held the marriage to be null and it was so declared. The principal question was whether the right to alimony is one of the “civil effects” subsisting after nullity has been decreed. An imposing array of French authorities was cited to the effect that since the duty of cohabitation was gone, the duty of maintenance had disappeared with it. This view was rejected by the judgment of the Privy Council which applies the test stated thus: “Those rights subsist which are consistent with a real marriage not existing.” And again, as already observed, the judgment emphasizes the circumstance that the spouses and the children are linked together in articles 163 and 164 C.C.

The authorities cited before the Privy Council put alimony and hereditary rights on the same footing and exclude them from the “civil effects” for the same reason. The view of Laurent as touching hereditary rights would appear to be more consistent with the judgment than the opposite view.

As against all this, Mr. Geoffrion takes his stand on two propositions. First, as regards Italian law, the right of the husband is necessarily conditioned upon the Italian nationality of the putative wife because, admittedly, the Italian law of succession in terms regulates only the successions of Italian nationals; second, given domicile in Quebec, the Quebec courts must apply the Quebec law of succession, including the right of testamentary disposition.

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After a good deal of reflection, I have been forced to the conclusion that the putative marriage in question here being a marriage in contemplation of articles 163 and 164 C.C., and a putative marriage within the meaning of Italian law, the marriage settlement and the putative marriage itself produced their “civil effects” quoad property as if the putative marriage had been a real one in accord with the law as explained by Pothier and Laurent, subject, of course, to the rights of the lawful husband, and that, in the events that happened, the “civil effects” of the contract and the putative marriage quoad property include the right now in question here.

Since (as the judgment in Berthiaume v. Dastous[14] lays down) “all civil rights appendant to real marriage” which are consistent with the non-existence of real marriage are “produced by a putative marriage,” I cannot agree that the jus mariti in relation to succession is excluded because the domicile and nationality of the putative wife were not in the circumstances those of the putative husband. Disunity of nationality was the necessary correlative of the bigamous character of the marriage and the invalidity of the marriage was a necessary condition of the acquisition by Marguerite Claire Stephens of a Quebec domicile. These legal results or incidents of nullity cannot really affect the question of the admission of this particular jus mariti as one of the “civil effects” since, ex hypothesi, the inclusion of it within that category is not incompatible with the recognition of the non-existence of a real marriage between the respondent and the putative wife. The obligations of the marriage contract subsist, as Pothier says, although the contract was entered into in contemplation of marriage and if there had been no marriage in fact would fail of effect. The good faith of the parties in the putative marriage is recognized by the law as fulfilment of the condition. Effect ought to be given to the stipulation that the parties are to be governed by Italian law so far as that can be done consistently with recognition of the non-existence of a real marriage between the respondent and Marguerite Claire Stephens and of the continued existence of the actual, legal marriage between her and her real husband, Colonel Gault.

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My view summarized in a word is that the marriage between the respondent and the putative wife, having been a marriage in good faith, a putative marriage in the sense of the Italian law as well as of the law of Quebec, the civil effects of which the putative husband is entitled to the benefit do not necessarily rest upon the hypothesis that he acquired the status of husband of Marguerite Claire Stephens, or that she acquired his nationality or his domicile, but simply upon the fact that the marriage was entered into in good faith a fact which has certain juridical consequences. These consequences would appear (Berthiaume v. Dastous)[15], to include quoad property such consequences of a real marriage as are consistent with the nonexistence of a real marriage and, in the case of a bigamous marriage, such as are consistent with the continued existence and recognition of the status and rights of the lawful husband arising out of the lawful marriage.

There remains a point taken on the argument, viz., that judgment for the appellant could not be given in the absence of Colonel Gault as a party on the record. It may be noted that it is stated in the respondent’s factum as an undoubted fact that Colonel Gault is domiciled in England. Such being the case, the Quebec courts are not competent to pronounce against him or in his favour a judgment in rem affecting his marital status or his status in any respect. The Quebec courts have, however, complete jurisdiction to deal with suits concerning questions of property and, incidentally, to decide inter partes questions touching the validity of divorces in so far as they are relevant to the determination of the issues directly involved.

The appeal is dismissed with costs.

Cannon, J. (dissenting).—L’intimé, sujet italien, poursuit en reddition de compte l’appelant, exécuteur testamentaire et légataire universel en usufruit de sa sœur Marguerite Stephens, demandant l’application en sa faveur d’une disposition de la loi italienne qui lui assurerait l’usufruit du tiers des biens laissés par Dame Stephens comme époux survivant de sa femme morte à Montréal le 27 mars 1930 sans laisser d’ascendant ni de descendant.

[Page 369]

Il allègue un mariage célébré à Paris le 14 octobre 1919, suivant la loi française, et un contrat de mariage antérieur par lequel les futurs époux soumirent leur mariage aux lois italiennes, qui auraient, en conséquence, régi leurs domicile et status matrimoniaux.

L’appelant, par sa défense, allègue un mariage antérieur de sa sœur, le 16 mars 1904, à Montréal, à Andrew Hamilton Gault, comme elle, sujet britannique de naissance et tous deux domiciles depuis leur naissance et lors du mariage dans la province de Québec; que ce mariage, sujet aux lois de leur domicile, dans la province de Québec, où le divorce n’est pas reconnu, est indissoluble du vivant des époux et constitue un empêchement absolu à la validité de l’union alléguée, vu que Gault était encore vivant lors du prétendu mariage et vit encore; que le divorce entre Gault et Marguerite Stephens obtenu à Paris, alors que tous deux étaient légalement domicilés au Canada et régis, suivant l’article 6 du Code civil, par les lois qui règlent dans la province de Québec l’état, i.e. la condition juridique, de chaque personne, et sa capacité de jouir des droits que confère l’état civil, est nul et de nul effet; que l’union alléguée par le demandeur est entachée de bigamié et doit être considérée comme nulle et contre l’ordre public par le tribunal de la province de Québec auquel il est soumis comme base de la réclamation de l’intimé.

La plaidoyer mentionne aussi un paiement de $5,000 fait par feu Marguerite Stephens à l’intimé en vertu d’une convention faite à Rome le 2 juillet 1925, pour obtenir sa renonciation à toute réclamation contre elle ou sa succession. L’on allègue aussi que de 1925 à sa mort Marguerite Stephens a conservé sa résidence et son domicile à Montréal et a vécu séparée de l’intimé; elle a même, en 1928, demandé à la Cour Supérieure de Montréal de constater la nullité de la cérémonie et du contrat de mariage allégués par l’intimé, mais aurait discontinué son action le ou vers le 27 février 1929.

La réponse au plaidoyer mentionne des actions pour séparation de corps et des demandes de divorce intentées en Canada réciproquement sans résultat l’un contre l’autre par les époux Gault, allègue la bonne foi de l’intimé et réclame, en cas de nullité de son union, en sa faveur les effets civils d’un mariage putatif, vu qu’il croyait de bonne foi les

[Page 370]

représentations à lui faites que feu Dame Marguerite Claire Stephens était “légalement capable de contracter un mariage valide”. Enfin, l’intimé nie à l’appelant, légataire universel de sa sœur, le droit d’attaquer le divorce parisien, même si les Gault l’avaient obtenu collusoirement en fraude de la loi de leur domicile.

Après enquête et examens de témoins à l’étranger, le premier juge considère que le mariage du demandeur et de défunte Marguerite Claire Stephens était nul mais contracté de bonne foi; qu’à la mort de cette dernière, le mariage, n’ayant pas encore été déclaré nul, les lois d’Italie s’appliquaient; et que l’un des effets civils de ce mariage putatif est le droit du demandeur à un tiers de l’usufruit des biens de sa femme. Le savant juge Demers dit qu’il constate comme certain que ni la femme ni le mari n’étaient domiciliés à Paris lors du jugement de divorce du tribunal de la Seine; et il trouve que, d’après les principes de droit international reproduits à l’article 6 C.C. ces deux époux étant domiciliés dans la province de Québec lors du divorce, il faut décider que ce divorce est nul et, en conséquence, le mariage du demandeur nul. Le premier juge ajoute que la loi italienne s’applique et qu’en conséquence, comme en France, le mariage entaché de bigamie doit être attaqué et déclaré nul; autrement il produit ses effets civils jusqu’à l’annulation, si les époux sont de bonne foi.

Cette question de bonne foi est résolue en faveur de l’intimé par le premier juge; et il conclut que, le mariage du demandeur n’ayant pas été déclaré nul, Dame Stephens est réputée sa femme et, en conséquence, réputée italienne. Il conclut que cette question est discutée en Italie et en France; mais cela lui semble la solution la plus logique.

En appel, le juge-en-chef de la province ne croit pas nécessaire ni opportun de décider de la validité du divorce des époux Gault; il se contente, vu la bonne foi du deman-deur-intimé, de lui donner le bénéfice découlant d’un mariage putatif. Le jugement de la cour d’appel modifie sur ce point de nullité le jugement de la Cour Supérieure et fait disparaître des considérants la déclaration de nullité du second mariage basée sur l’existence du premier, mais, chose étrange, applique à l’intimé les dispositions de l’article 163 C.C., comme si la cour avait déclaré nul le second mariage; ce que, précisément, elle a refusé de faire.

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Pour établir qu’au moment de sa mort Marguerite Stephens était de nationalité italienne, l’intimé allègue d’abord son mariage célébré à Paris et produit le certificat suivant:

Le quatorze octobre mil neuf cent dix-neuf, dix heures quarante-cinq minutes, devant nous, Clément Legoueix, adjoint au maire du seizième arrondissement de Paris, ont comparu publiquement en la maison commune Luigino Gaspero Guiseppe Falchi, commandant dans l’aviation italienne, né à Montopoli (Italie) le onze décembre mil huit cent soixante-dix-neuf, domicilié à Montopoli, et résidant à Paris, avenue Henri Martin 67, fils de Isidore Falchi, et de Céline Mainardi, époux décédés; d’une part, /- Et Marguerite Claire Stephens, propriétaire, né à Montréal (Canada) le vingt six août mil huit cent quatre-vingt-trois, domiciliée à Montréal, et résidant à Paris, rue Pierre Charron 54, fille de George Washington Stephens, et de Frances Ramsay McIntosh, époux décédés; divorcée de Andrew Hamilton Gault, d’autre part;—sans opposition, un contrat de mariage a été reçu le trois octobre courant, par Maître Durant des Aulnois, notaire à Paris. Luigino Gaspero Guiseppe Falchi et Marguerite Claire Stephens ont déclaré l’un après l’autre vouloir se prendre pour époux et nous avons prononcé au nom de la loi, qu’ils sont unis par le mariage.

L’appelant a nié que cette union pût avoir aucun effet dans la province de Québec, vu que le premier époux de Marguerite Stephens était encore vivant lors de cette comparution devant le maire, à Paris; le divorce allégué par l’intimé ne pouvait être reconnu dans la province de Québec, vu que les deux conjoints, Gault et Dame Stephens avaient, de propos délibéré et dans le but de se libérer des obligations de la loi de leur domicile, demandé à un tribunal étranger de dissoudre leur lien conjugal, ce qu’ils n’avaient pu obtenir au Canada, ni devant les tribunaux de la province de Québec, ni devant le parlement du Canada.

Une étude attentive du dossier m’a convaincu qu’en effet les époux Gault, après avoir renoncé à obtenir un divorce au Canada, ont profité de leur séjour en France pour recouvrer leur liberté de tenter, chacun de son côté, une nouvelle aventure matrimoniale. La jurisprudence a toujours refusé de donner effet à toute tentative de secouer le joug des obligations imposées pour des raisons d’ordre public, par le code civil à toutes personnes dont le domicile légal, lors de leur mariage, était dans la province de Québec. Je citerai, entre autres, la cause de Gregory v. Odell[16], où les juges Malouin, McCorkill et Letellier, siégeant en revision, confirmant Langelier A.C.J., jugent que

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A decree of divorce by a foreign court purporting to dissolve a marriage contracted in this province, and made while the consorts still had their domicile herein, is without effect and cannot be set up by one of them as a plea by the other to enforce obligations arising out of the marriage.

Dans Mouette v. Larivière[17], la Cour du Banc du Roi a decide que le décret de divorce prononcé aux Etats-Unis et déclarant dissous le mariage de deux époux, mariés dans la province de Québec, où tous deux étaient domicilés au moment de leur mariage, et dont l’un y est encore domicilé, est sans effet à leur égard, parce que seules les lois de cette province leur sont applicables. Le juge en chef Tellier, à la page 354, disait que Ton ne peut contraindre la défenderesse en cette cause, dont le domicile lors du mariage et depuis était à Montréal à se soumettre à la loi d’un pays étranger et faire dépendre ses droits matrimoniaux d’une loi que ne la concerne pas. Il ajoutait qu’aucune décision d’un tribunal étrangerdans l’espèce, celui des Etats-Unisne peut, dans ces circonstances, affecter soit son mariage, soit ses droits matrimoniaux.

Le juge Rivard dit: p. 352:—

D’après la loi de la province de Québec, le mariage est indissoluble; il ne se dissout que par la mort naturelle de l’un des conjoints (art. 185 C.C.). De cette loi d’un ordre supérieur on peut rapprocher ce principe généralement accepté: le droit des gens n’oblige pas un Etat à reconnaître une loi étrangère, lorsque cette loi étrangère n’a pas de droit naturel (sic), que son élément essentiel n’est pas la conservation des bonnes mœurs, et qu’elle est contraire à l’économie générale du système juridique de cet Etat. * * * Il n’est donc pas étonnant qu’on puisse soutenir que chez nous les divorces obtenus devant les tribunaux étrangers ne devraient pas être reconnus.

Et à la page 360:

Il n’y a pas de doute que les lois du mariage et du divorce forment un statut personnel (5 Laurent, Nos 119 et 122). Le divorce est en effet relatif à l’état des époux, puisqu’il change cet état. La loi personnelle dont les parties relèvent a donc seule compétence en cette matière (Weiss, Manuel de droit international privé, 7è. éd. p. 505; Foelix, Dr. int. pr., pp. 53 et 112; Surville, Dr. Int. pr. 7è. éd. No 300).

Enfin, je citerai une décision décente, Stern v. Stern[18], où Désaulniers J., a décidé:

Est sans effet dans la province de Québec un divorce obtenu dans l’un des Etats-Unis d’Amérique par des personnes qui ont contracté mariage dans cette province.

Le juge pose d’abord en principle que la Cour Supérieure n’a pas juridiction pour annuler un divorce prononcé par un tribunal américain; et je suis aussi d’avis que la Cour Supérieure n’a pas juridiction pour annuler un divorce

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obtenu à Paris par les époux Gault et que seuls les tribunaux français auraient juridiction en cette matière.

Mais j’adopte le déclaration du juge Désaulniers que, d’après les lois de notre province, un divorce obtenu aux Etats-Unis, entre des citoyens de Québec qui se sont mariés dans ses limites, n’a aucun effet chez nous. L’article 185 du code civil nous dit que le mariage est indissoluble et qu’il ne peut être dissous que par le mort de l’un des conjoints. Ce principle domine la matière et est, chez nous, un élément essentiel du consentement au mariage; or le consentement et ses suites sont régis par la loi nationale. Il serait vraiment singulier que les tribunaux étrangers eussent plus de pouvoir et d’autorité que les nôtres. Ce que les citoyens de cette province ne peuvent obtenir ici, ils pourraient l’obtenir ailleurs. Ce serait un non-sens. La seule autorité compétente pour annuler un mariage validement célébré dans la province de Québec par deux non-catholiques qui y sont domicilés est la parlement du Canada.

Je suis donc disposé à déclarer que le divorce obtenu par les époux Gault à Paris n’a aucun effet dans cette province et ne saurait y légitimer le second mariage de Marguerite Stephens du vivant de Gault; nous pouvons donc considérer, pour les fins du présent litige, lors de sa mort, Marguerite Stephens, comme justiciable de la province de Québec, toujours l’épouse de Hamilton Gault.

Voir sur tous ces points les autorités citées par Johnson, Conflict of Laws, vol. 2, pp. 132 à 170.

Il est important de remarquer une divergence entre le droit et la jurisprudence de la province de Québec et le droit anglais, comme Johnson, à son deuxième volume, pp. 74 et 152, le souligne:

In English law * * * the motive of a change of domicile will not be investigated, provided there is an actual change. That the new domicile is taken because a divorce can there be more readily obtained, does not, in the eyes of English courts, invalidate the divorce.

In Quebec, a change of domicile ad nutum, so far as its effect upon status at least, would be deemed no change at all. We apply this principle in matters of separation from bed and board and marriage. What might be a “genuine” domicile in the English view, because actual, might in the Quebec view be neither bona fide nor genuine, because it is in fraud of our law.

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Et j’adopte cette conclusion:

But the case where consorts were married domiciled in Québec, and there has been no change of domicile by either, is clear. A decree of divorce by a foreign court is without effect.

Je suis d’avis que notre Cour, dont les pouvoirs sont aussi restreints que ceux des cours de la province de Québec quand il s’agit de déclarer la nullité d’un mariage ou d’un divorce, célébré ou obtenu à l’étranger, doit se contenter, comme la Cour Supérieure aurait dû le faire, de déclarer, pour les fins de la présente cause, que le mariage invoqué par l’intimé et le contrat qui l’a précédé entre lui et Dame Stephens, épouse de Hamilton Gault, ne doivent recevoir aucun effet devant les tribunaux de la province de Québec qui sont chargés de faire respecter l’indissolubilité du mariage unissant des personnes domiciliées dans Québec et y ayant conservé leur domicile. Mais nous devons aussi refuser de donner un effet extra-territorial au décret de divorce, quand le tribunal français a dépassé les limites de sa juridiction en statuant de manière à affecter l’état et la capacité de Marguerite Stephens, alors, ainsi que son mari, domiciliée non en France, mais à Montréal.

Si, pour les raisons ci-contre, le mariage en question n’est pas annulé ou déclaré nul, peut-on, comme l’ont fait les deux cours inférieures, accorder à l’intimé le bénéfice des articles 163 et 164 du code civil qui disent:

163. Le mariage qui a été déclaré nul produit méanmoins les effets civils, tant à l’égard des époux qu’à l’égard des enfants lorsqu’il est contracté de bonne foi.

164. Si la bonne foi n’existe que de la part de l’un des époux, le mariage ne produit les effets civils qu’en faveur de cet époux et des enfants nés du mariage.

Le demandeur-intimé s’est adressé aux tribunaux de la province de Québec pour leur demander de donner effet à l’union qu’il prétend avoir existé entre lui et feu Marguerite Stephens, au moment du décès de cette dernière . et de l’ouverture de sa succession; et il réclame sa part des droits que la prétendue nationalité italienne de cette dame résultant du mariage invoqué lui assurait en vertu de la loi italienne sur les biens laissés dans la province de Québec par Marguerite Stephens.

Pour les raisons que j’ai exposées plus haut, les tribunaux de la province de Québec doivent refuser de donner effet à ce mariage, sans cependant le déclarer nul, pour la raison que sa validité échappe à leur juridiction. Par ailleurs,

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M. Hamilton Gault n’a pas été mis en cause et aucun jugement affectant définitivement quant à lui la validité du divorce accordé à Paris ne saurait être rendu, même si la Cour Supérieure de Québec avait juridiction, sans qu’il ait été assigné et ait eu l’occasion de se faire entendre.

Bien que, d’après les termes exprès de l’article 163 C.C., il n’y aurait pas lieu, dans l’espèce, de faire jouer, comme l’a fait la cour d’appel, en faveur de l’intimé la fiction du mariage putatif, il est bon, je crois, vu. que les jugements des cours inférieures sont basés sur cette fiction, d’en dire quelques mots. La condition essentielle pour que l’intimé puisse jouir des avantages que lui conférerait notre article 163 C.C., c’est la bonne foi. Peut-on dire qu’il ignorait, lors du mariage dont il se prévaut, le fait que les époux Gault s’étaient rencontrés à Paris dans le but exprès de se soustraire à l’indissolubilité de leur union, qui les empêchait de divorcer et de contracter un nouveau mariage tant et aussi longtemps qu’ils conservaient leur domicile dans la province de Québec? Sur ce point de fait, il ne saurait faire de doute que le domicile conjugal n’avait pas été changé et que Hamilton Gault avait, lors du divorce, son principal établissement à Montreal, où il est revenu pour être démobilisé, avant son départ pour l’angleterre où il a vécu depuis 1919 environ. L’intimé admet que Marguerite Stephens lui aurait dit, avant leur mariage, qu’elle se proposait de divorcer pour pouvoir l’épouser.

Quoi qu’il en soit, même s’il faut, comme les juges de première instance et ceux de la Cour du Banc du Roi conclure à la bonne foi de l’intimé, peut-on compter parmi les effets civils du mariage putatif invoqué comme dernière ressource par l’intimé pour maintenir son action, un changement de nationalité de Marguerite Stephens? Peut-on aller à l’encontre du droit public de la province de Québec et du Canada et sanctionner, en vertu d’une fiction légale, un changement de nationalité fictif, quant à nos tribunaux, dans les circonstances de la cause, pour permettre à un aubain de jouir des droits que Marguerite Stephens a légués par testament à l’appelant?

Bien qu’une décision récente de la Cour de cassation, en France, re Edwards[19], semble affirmer que le changement de nationalité peut être considéré comme un effet civil découlant

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d’un mariage putatif, il y a lieu de se demander si cette jurisprudence peut s’appliquer dans la province de Québec. En effet, chez nous, le droit civil a été conservé par l’Acte de Québec, 14 Geo. III (1774) ch. 83, toujours en vigueur sur ce point; et la section 8, en substance décrète ce qui suit:

His Majesty’s Canadian subjects may hold and enjoy their property and possessions, together with all customs and usages relative thereto with all other their civil rights. * * * as may consist with their allegiance to His Majesty and subjection to the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain; and that in all matters of controversy relative to property and civil rights resort shall be had to the laws of Canada as the rule for the decision of the same; all causes * * * in courts, shall, with respect to such property or rights be determined agreeably to the said laws and customs of Canada, until this shall be varied or altered by competent authority.

Et la section 10 introduit chez nous la liberté de tester, nonobstant toute loi à ce contraire. Il semble donc que toute question d’allégeance au souverain et de nationalité ait été expressément réservée comme n’étant pas matière de droit civil, mais de droit public. Or, la loi anglaise, qui aurait été la loi du domicile conjugal des Gault, à la mort de l’épouse de ce dernier alors établi en Angleterre, et notre loi fédérale concernant la naturalisation et la nationalité canadienne ignorent ce qu’on est convenu d’appeler mariage putatif; et la question à résoudre est de savoir si, dans les circonstances, dans la province de Québec, on peut conclure, comme les juges des cours inférieures, que, parmi les effets civils d’un mariage putatif en faveur du conjoint étranger de bonne foi, il y aurait, comme on le prétend en cette cause, eu un changement de nationalité de sa femme canadienne, et ce mariage putatif, fiction de la loi, aurait-il eu pour effet de faire perdre à la défunte son allégeance à la Couronne britannique, sa nationalité canadienne et son droit illimité de tester?

Tous s’accordent à dire que, pour réussir, Falchi doit prouver qu’au moment de sa mort, Marguerite Stephens était de nationalité italienne, afin de la soumettre à l’opération des lois d’Italie qu’invoque le demandeur. En vertu de l’article 6 du Code civil italien,

L’état et la capacité des personnes et les rapports de famille sont réglés par la loi de la nation à laquelle les personnes appartiennent;

et, d’après l’article 8,

Les successions légitimes et testamentaires en ce qui concerne l’ordre de succéder, la mesure des droits héréditaires et la validité intrinsèque

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des dispositions, sont réglées par la loi nationale du de cujus, quelle que soit le nature des biens et dans n’importe quel pays ils se trouvent.

Je trouve aux Rapports des Codificateurs (Vol. ler, p. 186) ce qui suit:

La disposition qui oblige la femme à suivre son mari partout où il veut résider, et par implication, même en pays étranger, conforme à l’article 214 du Code Napoléon, avait d’abord été adoptée comme amendement à la loi actuelle; mais sur considération ultérieure, l’on s’est convaincu que cette règle, d’après le droit civil, est générale et absolue; que l’exception quant au pays étranger que l’on faisait autrefois, si elle existe réellement, est fondée sur le droit public et ne soulève qu’une question d’allégeance, savoir: si le mari peut forcer sa femme à la changer et à abdiquer sa patrie; question étrangère au droit civil, et par conséquent à notre code, et dont la solution, ainsi qu’il fut dit dans les discussions au conseil d’Etat “doit être abandonnée aux mœurs et aux circonstances.” C’est pour ces raisons que l’article est proposé comme conforme à la loi actuelle.

Il est vrai que, d’après la Loi de Naturalisation (R.S.C. 1927, c 138, sec. 13), l’épouse d’un aubain est censée être un aubain. Mais ceci n’est pas en vertu des dispositions de notre code civil mais bien en vertu des pouvoirs exclusifs confiés par la constitution au parlement du Canada de légiférer en tout ce qui concerne la naturalisation et l’acquisition ou la perte de la qualité de citoyen canadien. Quelle que soit la doctrine adoptée en France ou dans d’autres pays où le pouvoir législatif est confié en entier à un organisme unique, nous ne pouvons ignorer chez nous que certaines matièreset pour ce qui concerne cette cause, les effets civils du mariage putatifsont, quant à la naturalisation et au changement d’allégeance au Souverain, de par les dispositions expresses de l’Acte de Québec (1774) et de l’Acte de l’Amérique Britannique du Nord, en dehors de la compétence de la législature de la province de Québec. Comme les codificateurs l’ont fait remarquer, c’est là une question de droit public concernant les droits et les obligations politiques des sujets canadiens, comme citoyens, non d’une province, mais de la Confédération. Sur ce point, nous avons uniformité de législation, laquelle ne saurait varier d’une province à l’autre, comme en matière de droit purement civil ou privé.

Je suis donc d’avis que, même si nous pouvions appliquer à cette cause, en faveur de l’intimé, la fiction du mariage putatif, nous ne pourrions aller jusqu’au point de concéder en sa faveur comme un de ses effets civils le prétendu changement de nationalité de Marguerite Stephens. Pour étayer sa thèse et sa cause, l’intimé admet qu’il lui faut

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établir: 1o que la défunte était devenue italienne par un mariage valide aux yeux de la loi de la province de Québec; et qu’au moment de sa mort la testatrice avait conservé cette nationalité italienne. Il n’a pas établi à ma satisfaction ces points primordiaux et essentiels pour lui donner le droit de recueillir une partie des biens laissés par Dame Stephens.

Pour ces raisons, avec beaucoup de respect pour la décision des savants juges des cours provincialesdevant lesquels certains des points de droit plaides devant nous ne semblent pas avoir été soulevés—je maintiendrais l’appel et débouterais l’intimé de son action avec dépens de toutes les cours contre lui.

Appeal dismissed with costs.

Solicitors for the appellant: Brown, Montgomery & McMichael.

Solicitors for the respondent: Hackett, Mulvena, Foster, Hackett and Haimen.

[1] Reporter’s note.—Petition for special leave to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council dismissed with costs, July 25th, 1938.

[2] [1937] 3 D.L.R. 605.

[3] (1883) 6 L.N. 329, at 333.

3 (1883) 6 L.N. 329, at 333.

[4] (1885) 8 L.N. 42.

[5] [1895] A.C. 517, at 540.

[6] (1872) L.R. 2 P. & D. 435, at 442.

[7] [1921] 1 A.C. 146.

[8] [1926] A.C. 444.

[9] [1901] A.C. 446.

[11] [1895] A.C. 517.

[12] [1930] A.C. 79.

[13] [1930] A.C. 79.

[14] [1930] A.C. 79.

[15] [1930] A.C 79.

[16] (1911) Q.R. 39 S.C. 291.

[17] (1926) Q.R. 40 K.B. 350.

[18] (1932) Q.R. 70 S.C. 549.

[19] [1936] Dalloz, Jur. Gén. 2e pt. 70.

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