Since 2004, SOQUIJ has offered English translations of selected judgments of the Court of Appeal of Quebec, the Court of Quebec, and the Superior Court of Quebec, free of charge. Our aim is to promote access to Quebec case law beyond the francophone legal community and citizens of this province, make the valuable insight of Quebec judges more widely known across Canada, and enrich Canadian law.
The judgments we translate are of national interest. In other words, they are selected according to their relevance in areas of law applicable across Canada; accordingly, a majority of our translations are of criminal law, bankruptcy law, and constitutional law cases. Judgments in areas of law under provincial jurisdiction might also be translated if they deal with principles similar to those applied in analogous areas of law in common law provinces, such as youth protection, labour law, or motions for leave to bring class actions.
We also occasionally translate judgments that deal with purely civil law issues if they touch on matters of general human interest or have received a lot of media attention. The well-known case commonly referred to as Eric v. Lola (Droit de la famille — 102866) is a perfect illustration: although the legal situation at issue doesn’t exist in the rest of Canada, the judgment shines a light on some of the legal rules governing family relations in Quebec, which, like everywhere in the world, are constantly evolving.
The translation of judgments of Quebec courts raises some very specific challenges due to the co-existence of the civil law and the common law in this province’s legal universe. The terms used in the two systems are sometimes similar, sometimes overlapping, sometimes even contradictory. The translation we do is therefore a meticulous process, requiring not only precision but also a thorough knowledge of the two legal traditions to guide us in our search for the mot juste.
The translation team has recently started contributing to SOQUIJ’s blog , where we plan to illustrate of some of these challenges, along with other issues we encounter in our work.
Our translations are available, free of charge, through our Services au citoyens section on the Translated decisions page. Portail SOQUIJ subscribers can also download them from the page of a judgment accessed through our Recherche juridique service, by clicking on “Télécharger le texte intégral” and selecting “Version anglaise” from the roll-down menu. You can also receive notifications of new translations by subscribing to our dedicated RSS feed.
Vera Roy is a translator at the Société québécoise d’Information juridique (SOQUIJ). She has been there since 2004, when the Quebec government corporation first created the position of French-to-English translator of Quebec court judgments, and is now the senior member of a small team. After obtaining an honours degree in English literature from Concordia University in Montreal, she taught English as a second language in Asia and at McGill University before earning both civil law and common law degrees from McGill University’s Faculty of Law. She also has a translation certificate from McGill and has worked for a number of years as a freelance translator.
Droit de la famille – 102866 (C.A., 2010-11-03), 2010 QCCA 1978, SOQUIJ AZ-50685017, 2010EXP-3609, J.E. 2010-1970,  R.J.Q. 2259,  R.D.F. 659.