Quebec Court Says Justice Minister’s Intervention on Judge Bilingualism Illegal

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
February 3, 2022 Updated: February 3, 2022

MONTREAL—The Quebec Superior Court has ruled that the province’s justice minister does not get to decide whether judges can be required to speak English as well as French.

The case was centred around half a dozen Quebec court judge postings in Montreal and surrounding areas, where Chief Judge Lucie Rondeau deemed it necessary that candidates be bilingual in order to apply.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette had refused the bilingualism requirement for those postings and instructed a civil servant overseeing the process to remove it.

Justice Christian Immer wrote in a decision issued Wednesday that Jolin-Barrette does not have any power to interfere with the drafting of notices for Quebec court judge postings.

He said the minister’s intervention exceeded his authority and was illegal.

Immer annulled five job postings for which the demands of Rondeau were not respected because of the minister’s intervention.

Jolin-Barrette said today he would study the judgment but insisted that all lawyers should have the chance to become judges, even if they are unilingual French speakers.