Bilingualism in the Federal Courts

Given the recent interest in whether the nominees for the Supreme Court should be bilingual, I thought readers might be interested in a dispassionate overview from those great folks at the Legal and Legislative Affairs Division of the Parliamentary Information and Research Service: “Bilingualism in the Federal Courts,” [PDF] by Marie-Ève Hudon.

This document analyzes the rules that govern the use of both official languages in the federal courts, that is, the courts established by Parliament. It gives a brief overview of Canada’s court system before examining the legislative, constitutional and judicial framework of bilingualism in the federal courts. Lastly, it reviews the unique case of the Supreme Court of Canada and summarizes the recent debate on adding language requirements for the judges who sit on the Supreme Court bench.

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