Law 101 Update A first test in court in

Law 101 Update | A first test in court in a month

Lawyers are calling for the temporary stay of two articles deemed “constitutionally problematic”.

Posted at 5:00 am


Vincent Larin

Vincent Larin The Press

The Legault government’s Bill 101 update faces an initial court test in a month. A group of lawyers is urging two of their articles to be suspended, which will soon require all cases filed in Quebec courts in English to be accompanied by a French translation.

On June 21, these attorneys filed a stay motion to temporarily stay two articles of Law 96 that they believe are problematic pending the court’s determination of their constitutionality.

They act independently and “respect the rights of their clients [et] of the principle of access to justice, which is at risk,” said her lawyer, Me Félix-Antoine Doyon.

In her opinion, Articles 9 and 208.6 of Law 96, passed by the Legault government “although undoubtedly the protection of French is crucial”, are “problematic at the constitutional level”, we can read in a case filed in the Supreme Court on 21. June.

The relevant translations

Although this is the second official challenge in court, following that by the English-Montreal School Board (EMSB) on June 1, the group of attorneys will be heard earlier, on August 5, as they seek emergency suspensions of those two articles as problematic deems

Because from next September, they will oblige every legal entity, i.e. individuals, but also companies and non-profit organizations, to accompany proceedings submitted in English to a court with a French translation certified by a sworn translator.

In addition, the costs of this translation must be borne by the person who initiates the procedure.

If this legal requirement did not exist, if the state had agreed to pay for the translations, we might not be here today.

I Felix-Antoine Doyon

Forced to use French

In his opinion, the prohibitive costs associated with this condition will force many SMEs or other organizations with little money to turn to French to file certain procedures, as they cannot afford the services of certified translators.

You may also be forced to turn to French given certain, sometimes very tight, deadlines that the legal system allows for the provision of translations.

[Plusieurs PME ou d’autres organismes peu argentés] will be forced to submit to the law [96] and therefore to address the courts de facto in French when protected by constitutional law.

I Felix-Antoine Doyon

According to Me Félix-Antoine Doyon, Section 133 of the Constitutional Act of 1867 “contains a guarantee that any person may use French or English in any pleading or procedural document in any Quebec court”.

“In practice, this has resulted in a justice system that operates largely in the language of the majority, while guaranteeing Quebec’s linguistic minority the right to full participation in the official language of their choice. From a linguistic point of view, this system has worked well since the Confederation,” he recalls on March 21.

Debate on the merits

If the Aug. 5 hearing were to focus on the urgency of suspending the two articles deemed problematic until the court finally rules on their constitutionality, that final issue could actually be addressed there, Me Doyon said.

The office of Justice Secretary Simon Jolin-Barrette, contacted Monday night, said he would not comment “given the ongoing court proceedings.”

The English-Montreal School Board was the first organization to announce and formalize the filing of a Bill 96 challenge in court. She relies primarily on Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 133 of the Constitution Act 1867 and Part V of the Constitution Act 1982.

Bill 96, which updates the Charter of the French Language – commonly known as Bill 101 – adopted by the National Assembly on May 24, contains more than 200 articles and amends about twenty existing laws.