Eight Legal Myths That Might Surprise You

5 January 2015
 Categories: Law, Articles

There are some things about the law that you might just assume are true, but you may be surprised to find out that you have been mistaken. Here are some common misconceptions about Canadian law. 

A Live-In Partner Has the Same Legal Rights as a Married Partner

Sometimes a live-in partner does have the same rights as a married partner, but unfortunately many people assume they have rights that they just don't. For example, two partners may spend their lives building a business and wealth together. If they decide to dissolve the relationship, the law does not require them to split their wealth. Instead the partner who actually made the money or who is named as the owner on the property will be the person to be awarded those resources. 

Solicitor-Client Privilege Always Applies

Many people mistakenly believe that anything they say to their lawyer is confidential. Most of the time an attorney cannot reveal information the client has given in confidence. However, there is no attorney client privilege if the information is being used to commit a crime or to further a fraud. The privilege also becomes exempt when the client dies. 

Online Statements are Exempt From Libel Laws

Some people believe that you can write untrue and harmful statements about someone in a blog or an online forum without having to be responsible for the outcome. This is not true. Libel laws apply to any form of written communication, including statements made online. If someone can prove that you have caused the loss of a job or other negative consequence, that person can sue you and win. 

You are Responsible Any Time Someone is Injured on Your Property

There is a common misconception that any accident that occurs on your property is your fault, but this is false. If someone is hurt on your property through your negligence, you are responsible. If you have done everything reasonable to make your property safe, like salting icy walkways or filling in holes in the lawn, you cannot be held responsible for the actions of clumsy visitors. 

You Can't Be Charged With Drunk and Disorderly Conduct on Private Property

You cannot be drunk and disorderly on private property any more than you can be drunk and disorderly on a public street. One recent example of this is when comedian George Lopez was arrested for being intoxicated after passing out at a Canadian casino. 

Your Spouse's Conduct During Your Marriage Can Get You More Money

Many years ago a spouse could expect a better outcome from a divorce court after proving that the partner was a cheater or engaged in some other activity that caused the marriage to fail. The law no longer makes a moral judgement when it comes to divorce. Property is divided according to laws that state each spouse is entitled to half of what has been accumulated or according to agreements made by the couple through their lawyers. 

You Can't Create a Legal Agreement Without a Lawyer

Most people think that a legal agreement requires the help of an attorney. Two people can write a contract or create a legally binding agreement by themselves. Of course seeking an attorney's advice is never a bad idea. 

You Can't Face a Civil Lawsuit for a Crime After Being Found Innocent

Once you are found innocent of a crime, you cannot be tried for that same crime again. However you can still be sued in civil court by people who may have been victimized by that crime. The proof required for a civil suit is much less than the proof required for a criminal conviction, so victims may still be awarded compensation even if you were found innocent.

There are many parts of the law that are not what most people believe they are. When in doubt, consult with lawyers for the truth about legal matters.