Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Bilingualism among the judges: the Minister of Justice and the Court of Quebec come to an agreement

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In Montreal, 90% of judges will have to master English, both in the criminal and penal chambers as well as in the youth chamber and the civil chamber. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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The Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette and the chief judge of the Court of Quebec, Henri Richard, reached an agreement on Wednesday in the context of the dispute on the requirement of bilingualism for candidates for the position of judge.

The agreement recognizes that the appointment of judges is the responsibility of the government and that the assignment of judges of the Court of Quebec is the responsibility of its chief judge, by virtue of judicial independence.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The agreement provides that a proportion of bilingual judges will be required in certain regions and certain judicial districts of the province.

In Montreal, for example, 90% of judges will have to master the language of Shakespeare, both in the criminal and penal chambers as well as in the youth chambers and the civil chambers.

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However, there will be no requirement for bilingualism in the regions of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec–Chaudière-Appalaches and Mauricie–Bois-Francs–Centre-du-Québec, as well as in certain districts of other regions.

The parties thus agree that if the Proportion in a room of a given district is reached, there will be no requirement for notices of vacancies to be filled in this chamber, we can read in the agreement released on Wednesday.

I am happy with the outcome of this case which demonstrates the desire of the Court of Quebec to collaborate with the Ministry of Justice in order to tackle the main challenges of the justice system.

A quote from Simon Jolin -Barrette, Minister of Justice, by press release

The requirement for bilingualism in the judge selection process caused a disagreement between the former chief justice of the Court of Quebec, Lucie Rondeau, and the Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, in 2021 .

The magistrate argued that the organization of the judges' work fell within the independence of the Court, while the minister, for his part, did not consider that the bilingualism of judges was linked to judicial independence.

In regions where the volume is very high, the most effective organization of work, for the benefit of litigants, is that all judges be bilingual, she declared on the radio show Midi info at the time.

The question that arises is: why does the Court require systematic bilingualism in several districts, when the majority of files are in French and the Court is composed of judges who have linguistic skills?, replied Mr. Jolin-Barrette.

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