Courts of Justice Act
What are the Francophones’ linguistic rights in accordance with the Courts of Justice Act?
Two sections of the Courts of Justice Act define the possible languages before the courts of Ontario.
The section 125(1) specifies that English and French are the official languages of the courts of Ontario.
The section 126(1) indicates that a party to a proceeding who speaks French has the right to require a bilingual proceeding.
- A hearing be presided over by a bilingual judge;
- If held before a jury, the members of the jury must speak French and English. But, this only applies in the designated areas in accordance with the Courts of Justice Act
- Evidence is received, recorded and transcribed in the language received but only in the designated areas in accordance with the Courts of Justice Act.
- In certain areas identified by the Courts of Justice Act, a party may file pleadings and other documents written in French;
- Elsewhere, a party may file pleadings and other documents in French with the consent of the other party;
- Reasons for decisions may be written in English and French.
Section 126(3) indicates that in an appeal to a bilingual proceeding, a party who speaks French has the right to require that the appeal be heard by a judge who is bilingual.
Ontario Regulation 53/01 on bilingual proceedings
The Ontario Regulation 53/01 was added to section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act on June 1, 2001.
How is this Regulation useful?
The Ontario Regulation 53/01 applies to bilingual proceedings. This regulation provides 4 methods to select a bilingual proceeding:
- Filing the first document in French.
- Filing a requisition form.
- Making an oral statement to the court.
- Filing a written statement with the court.
For more details, you can consult Ontario Regulation 53/01 on bilingual proceedings, which contains the bilingual requisition form.
What are the areas designated in accordance with the Courts of Justice Act?
Twenty-three areas are designated in accordance with the Courts of Justice Act.