Aubry v Éditions Vice-Versa Inc

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Aubry v Éditions Vice-Versa Inc
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: December 8, 1997
Judgment: April 9, 1998
Full case name Les Éditions Vice‑Versa inc. and Gilbert Duclos v. Gilbert Duclos
Citations [1998] 1 S.C.R. 591
Docket No. 25579
Prior history Judgement for Aubry at the Court of Appeal for Quebec.
Ruling Appeal dismissed.
The conflict between the rights to privacy and expression under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms can only be resolved in the context of individual cases. An artist's right to publish their work is not absolute.
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Antonio Lamer
Puisne Justices: Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, Charles Gonthier, Peter Cory, Beverley McLachlin, Frank Iacobucci, John C. Major, Michel Bastarache, Ian Binnie
Reasons given
Majority L'Heureux-Dubé and Bastarache JJ., joined by Gonthier, Cory, and Iacobucci JJ.
Dissent Lamer C.J.
Dissent Major J.
Binnie and McLachlin JJ. took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Aubry v Éditions Vice-Versa Inc, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 591, was a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in which the claimant, Pascale Claude Aubry, brought an action against Éditions Vice-Versa for publishing a photo taken of her in public. She claimed the photographing was a violation of her right to privacy under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The Court held that under Quebec law a photographer can take photographs in public places but may not publish the picture unless permission has been obtained from the subject.

The Court limited this requirement to exclude persons whose photographs were taken during an event of public interest. That is, a person of public interest or equally an unknown person who is implicated in a public matter cannot claim image rights. Consequently, anyone's photograph that was incidental to a photo of some matter will be treated as part of the background and will not be able to claim their rights were violated.


Photojournalist and photographer groups took issue with the decision, arguing that it had the potential of creating a chilling effect on their profession.

Justice Bastarache later referred to the case in Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem (2004), to discuss how the Quebec Charter is of relevance to personal disputes.[1]

Ironically, the photo became part of the public domain since it was handed to the Supreme Court

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, para. 153.

External links[edit]