Improving access to justice in French

  • June 27, 2022

In a letter addressed to David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s French Speaking Common Law Members Section and Judicial Issues Subcommittee recommend improving training for federal judicial advisory committee members. Specifically, the letter suggests adding training on their respective jurisdictions’ experiences and needs regarding access to justice in French.

In this letter, the CBA speaks positively of the 2017 action plan to improve the bilingual capacity of superior courts. Under this plan, the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs must provide advisory committee members with information and training on the language rights of litigants.

The CBA believes that it would be beneficial to improve this training by adding a component on language rights and access to justice in French in minority communities.

Such a component would cover the relevant province or territory’s key demographic data, migration trends, specific features of its judicial system and its access to justice in French, as well as the number of bilingual judges. 

The Section and Subcommittee believe that this training would help advisory committee members [translation] “be better equipped to make recommendations that sufficiently take into account the real‑world experiences of francophone litigants and the constitutional principle of institutional bilingualism in the courts.”