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Create a List. Are You Bilingual? Summary Being bilingual is such a gift. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Book Preview Are You Bilingual? Copyrighted Material Are You Bilingual? Start your free 30 days. Page 1 of 1.

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Close Dialog Are you sure? Also remove everything in this list from your library. Are you sure you want to delete this list? It ended up being in English only because the French-speaking client understood English. So Francophones have English imposed upon them indirectly by the system because it's easier. Figure one is a line graph. The X axis has six categories. Under the X axis is a legend with four provincial categories. Each provincial category identifies the number of respondents. These categories represent the points on the line graph. Inside the graph, there are four lines that represent the four provincial categories.


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  • Each line is created by the connection between the points on the graph. These results demonstrate that, even in districts and cities where it is relatively easy to be heard in the minority language, it cannot be assumed that there is equal or equivalent access in both official languages.

    Examples of Charter-related cases

    According to a large proportion of respondents, being heard in the minority language may be an option, but there is a risk of additional delays and, even if bilingual judges are available, it is probable that other court services will not be available in the minority language. On a regional basis, while the situation described by New Brunswick and Quebec respondents is relatively positive, this is not the case for respondents in Ontario and the other provinces surveyed Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta.

    Respondents in these three provinces found the delays resulting from requests to be heard in French, the availability of bilingual court personnel and the availability of bilingual judges to be the most problematic. We make recommendations against the code of ethics because, if we don't, we know they will be at a disadvantage. Figure two is a line graph. Because the bilingual court sits only a few times a year, he could not get an emergency hearing to move the appeal hearing forward to take into consideration the detention conditions.

    The judge decided to continue the parole despite the breach of conditions. Taken overall, the survey data confirms that the bilingual capacity of a superior court is not dependent only on the bilingualism of the judges and the availability of bilingual judges; however, this is still a key factor and remains problematic. The situation in courts of appeal is generally seen in a more positive light by the respondents. As a whole, respondents from New Brunswick and Quebec felt that their respective courts of appeal had a good bilingual capacity. A more nuanced evaluation was given by the respondents from Ontario and the other jurisdictions.

    The interviews with lawyers, members of the judiciary and organizations involved in the legal field helped to better understand certain challenges that were raised by the survey respondents. Many interview respondents noted that the decision by members of official language minority communities to proceed in their own language is not without consequences. They must, in practice, be prepared to face certain delays and perhaps even additional costs.

    This dynamic is obviously contrary to the language rights that confer equal status upon both official languages, which therefore require comparable access to the courts in both English and French. These findings are similar to those of the recent report on access to justice in French in Ontario. In its report, the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of Ontario highlighted the delicate situation that a number of lawyers find themselves in when advising their client which language to use for proceedings:.

    5 Reasons to Pursue a Career in Translation

    The Committee also understands that many French-speaking lawyers feel compelled to inform their French-speaking clients that proceeding in French could have detrimental effects, including delay, and additional costs. If a [bilingual] judge goes on leave, has a conflict of interest or is on vacation, litigants face additional delays. They are indirectly pressured to choose service in English. Beyond the question of delays or additional costs, it is also necessary to clarify what is meant by bilingualism in judges and determine the level of bilingualism that would ensure a real institutional capacity in both official languages.

    The individuals consulted for this study reported that the level of bilingualism required of a judge presiding over a proceeding in the minority language or a bilingual proceeding goes well beyond the ability to converse in both official languages. The judge must not only be able to understand the facts submitted and, as needed, the testimony, but must also have knowledge, in both official languages, of the legal terminology applicable to the proceeding in question. On this subject, a study by the Department of Justice Canada on training needs within the judicial system clearly defines the various levels of language skills:.

    Needless to say, a command of legal vocabulary is much more than the ability to conduct a conversation in both official languages. The ability to conduct a conversation in both official languages is the first stage in a logical progression. The second stage is a command of the legal vocabulary appropriate to the area of justice in which the stakeholder works.

    The third and final stage is the appropriation of legal discourse in both official languages, that is, the ability to properly apply the legal vocabulary that has been learned. Footnote 37 [Emphasis in study]. However, the stakeholders consulted noted that the level of bilingualism of certain judges seems to be insufficient to ensure that information presented will be understood equally well in both official languages.

    This applies to both oral and written communication. Making litigants and the legal community aware of the language rights that exist in their province is, from the point of view of a number of stakeholders, a significant challenge. Considering both the importance of the issues that come before a judge and the particularly formal nature of the court, the importance of this awareness cannot be underestimated.

    This dynamic underscores the importance of making all stakeholders in the court system aware of the language rights of litigants so that they can proactively inform them and the legal community of their existence and the court's ability to ensure they are upheld. While this rule is universally applicable, it is even more important in regions where official language communities are a very small minority.

    As some of the stakeholders who were consulted noted, some people's hesitation to exercise their language rights leads to a vicious circle: when fewer people exercise their rights, the judicial system has less opportunity to consolidate its linguistic capacity. Judges who are trying to improve or maintain their language skills have fewer opportunities to preside in their other language, which further reduces their chances of attaining a satisfactory level of bilingualism. If not, Francophones may be pressured to choose English to reduce costs, complexity or delays.

    The previous section described the challenges and difficulties that the individuals consulted have identified with regard to the bilingual capacity of the judiciary for superior courts and the impact of this situation on the recognition and exercise of Canadians' language rights. This section will look at the key characteristics of the superior court judicial appointment process, in particular aspects that have a negative impact on the bilingual capacity of the judiciary.

    At the outset, it is important to recognize that the Cabinet Governor General in Council is responsible for appointing superior court judges, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice or the Prime Minister. The Minister of Justice submits recommendations for puisne judge appointments regular members of a court , while recommendations for the appointment of chief justices and associate chief justices are the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

    There are very few formal rules for appointing superior court judges.

    A Dual-Role Bilingual Mediator is Inefficient and Unethical

    The process remains largely discretionary. The near-total absence of legislative or regulatory guidelines in no way prevents the Minister of Justice from establishing processes to support recommendations made to Cabinet. The next subsection describes the main steps of the judicial appointment process for superior courts and recommends courses of action that may help improve the bilingual capacity of the judiciary.

    Lawyers who would like to apply for a position in the federal judiciary can do so at any point during the year because this process is not tied to the existence of a vacancy, such as when someone retires or resigns. The purpose of the appointment process is to create a pool of candidates who may be considered when a vacancy is to be filled.

    The application form allows lawyers to describe their professional history and describe why they would like to serve as a superior court judge. The application forms are submitted to FJA , which plays a key role in the judicial appointment process in support of the Minister of Justice.

    Language selection

    However, its role is limited to ensuring that the steps of the process are administered correctly; it cannot issue an opinion on the applications it has received. When FJA receives an application, it ensures that all the required information is included. It will also determine whether the applicant meets the pre-requisites for being a judge. Footnote 40 If the application is complete and admissible, it is sent to an advisory committee for review.

    Figure three is a flow chart. Both are connected to the box directly overhead by two arrows pointing at them. There are currently 17 advisory committees responsible for evaluating the competencies of lawyers who have applied for a position in the federal judiciary. Footnote 42 The workload of these committees is considerable. For example, during —, FJA sent these advisory committees applications and 43 candidates were appointed to a superior court.

    Due to their higher populations, Ontario and Quebec have additional committees: three in total in Ontario and two in Quebec. The Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs or his delegate also sits on these committees, but does not have a vote.


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    • The Commissioner's role is to support the work of the committee. Each advisory committee meets as needed to discuss the candidacies sent to it by FJA. In addition to examining information about candidates, the members of the advisory committee check references to evaluate the extent of the candidates' competencies, including their bilingual ability. The committee is also encouraged to consult a large number of additional sources within and outside of the legal community to obtain further information about the candidates' professional competence and experience.

      To facilitate candidate assessment, FJA provides a list of professional competencies and personal qualities sought in members of the judiciary. Fifteen professional competencies and experience criteria and 14 personal suitability criteria see text box, page 25 guide the analysis of applications.

      Overview of a Career in Court Interpreting

      It should be noted that these competencies and qualities are not weighted. While bilingualism is on the list of competencies that are sought, it is not evaluated systematically or based on objective criteria. The advisory committees very rarely interview candidates. Moreover, given the large number of competencies sought, one might wonder how much priority can be given to bilingualism.

      The committee may also add comments about the candidacy. It then sends the list of candidates for a province or territory to FJA , which then forwards it to the federal Minister of Justice. It is important to note that the advisory committees have no legislative authority. They are a mechanism that the federal government put in place to support the work of the Minister of Justice. When a judiciary position is to be filled, the Minister of Justice has a list of recommended and non-recommended candidates that can be used to designate the person who will be called upon to fill the position.

      In theory, the Minister of Justice could appoint someone who has not been recommended by the committee, or even a lawyer who is not on the list of recommended candidates, but, in practice, the Minister of Justice traditionally chooses one of the candidates recommended by the advisory committee. The Minister may conduct any consultations considered appropriate before choosing the person to recommend for appointment.