LexisNexis has just published the first two volumes of a major encyclopedia of Quebec and Canadian law in French – the Juris Classeur Quebec. Modeled on the celebrated series of encyclopedias that have for 100 years set the standard for legal publishing in France, this "made in Quebec" version of the classic French encyclopedia is expected to quickly establish itself as an essential and authoritative element of the practice of law in Canada.
The Juris Classeur is in fact a series of five separate multi-volume encyclopedias known as "collections", each one dealing with one of the grand subjects of the law – civil law, labour law, criminal law, business law and public law. Authored by teams of leading academics and practitioners, the collections offer a clear presentation of the federal and provincial law of Quebec using a format developed and refined in France. Substantive reviews of the content by persons well versed in the law of Quebec have yet to come, but initial feedback has been very positive and bodes well for the success of this major undertaking published under the direction of Mathieu Boutin of LexisNexis.
It is interesting to note that a major new doctrinal work should appear in the market at the same time as LEXUM launches its populist digital annotated version of the Quebec Civil Code. In a jurisdiction that has prided itself on the importance of "doctrine" in interpreting the law, the fact that the major French language university opts for content with the lowest common denominator, while a foreign owned commercial publisher offers an authoritative work by leading academics and legal practitioners, is a remarkable case of role reversal, as well as a reflection on how times have changed.