It was not possible to annul juridical act that never came into existence

Restitution and Unjust Enrichment - General principles - Miscellaneous

Public relations company was hired by member of political staff of office of mayor of municipality to create event concept for launch of municipality’s transportation plan. Expenses incurred by subcontractor hired by company to produce and organize event amounted to $82,898.63. Company paid that amount to subcontractor and then unsuccessfully sought to be reimbursed by municipality and company instituted action against municipality. Trial judge ordered restitution by equivalence for services provided and ordered the municipality to pay $82,898.63 to the company and municipality appealed . Majority of Court of Appeal held that, even if parties were not bound by contract, it was nonetheless necessary to restore them to their previous positions under rules on receipt of payment not due . Municipality appealed further. Appeal dismissed. Because it was not possible to annul juridical act that never came into existence, trial judge erred in ordering that parties be restored to their previous positions on this basis. However, rules on receipt of payment not due applied in this case, which meant that the restitution of prestations was nonetheless necessary. Company provided services to municipality through its subcontractor even though it had no contract with municipality. Municipality therefore received and benefited from services that were not due to it. Therefore, municipality was ordered to restore sum of $82,898.63 to company.

Montréal (Ville) c. Octane Stratégie inc. (2019), 2019 CarswellQue 9929, 2019 CarswellQue 9930, 2019 SCC 57, 2019 CSC 57, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Gascon J., Côté J., Brown J., Rowe J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellQue 742, 2018 QCCA 223, Hogue J.C.A., Schrager J.C.A., and Mainville J.C.A. (C.A. Que.).

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