Dupras v. Bezzina

In Collisions and Ships on (Updated )

This case dealt with an interesting issue concerning the validity and applicability of section 572 of the Canada Shipping Act. Section 572 provides for a two year limitation period in actions involving, inter alia, personal injury suffered by a person on board a vessel. The Plaintiffs had rented a vessel which went dead and was struck by the Defendant’s vessel. Four years after the accident the Plaintiffs decided to join the lessor of their boat to the action as a Defendant. The lessor opposed the joinder on the basis that the action against it was time barred by section 572. The Plaintiffs, in turn, challenged the constitutional validity of section 572. The Court held that section 572 was valid legislation. The Court went on, however, to hold that it was at least arguable that section 572 applied only to actions by a person on board one ship against the owner of another ship. The Court further held that it was arguable that section 572(3) gives the plaintiff a prima facie right to have the time within which to commence an action extended unless the extension would prejudice the Defendant.