Monday, August 19, 2013

Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada Study on Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary

The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada has published a study on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages: Improving the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary:
"For superior courts and courts of appeal to be able to respect the language rights of litigants, it is therefore essential for the federal Minister of Justice to appoint an appropriate number of bilingual judges with the language skills necessary to preside over cases in the minority official language. Currently, the institutional bilingual capacity of the superior courts remains a challenge in a number of provinces and territories. Another challenge lies in judges' ability to maintain their language skills at a level that is sufficient to preside over a hearing in their second official language (...)"

"The study looked at the appointment processes for the superior courts of six provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. It also took into account certain practices for appointing provincial judges in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba."

"From the consultations conducted as part of the study, it was determined that the judicial appointment process does not guarantee sufficient bilingual capacity among the judiciary to respect the language rights of Canadians at all times."

"This finding is based on three key observations. First, there is no objective analysis of needs in terms of access to the superior courts in both official languages in the different districts and regions of the country. Second, there is no coordinated action on the part of the federal Minister of Justice, his provincial and territorial counterparts and the chief justices of the superior courts to establish a process that would ensure, at all times, that an appropriate number of bilingual judges are appointed. Finally, the evaluation of superior court judicial candidates does not allow for an objective verification of the language skills of candidates who identify themselves as being able to preside over proceedings in their second language."

"In light of these findings, the study outlines courses of action to improve the bilingual capacity of superior court judges."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:22 pm

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