Supreme Court decision a boost for language rights

Posted on: March 9th, 2019 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

A Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision shows how more judges are recognizing the importance of language rights, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The unanimous nine-judge panel’s ruling upheld a Federal Court of Appeal judgment which overturned a Tax Court decision after the judge was found to have violated the official language rights of an insurance company’s lawyer and its witnesses.

According to the judgment, the trial judge ignored their wishes to testify and communicate in French because they were bilingual, while another party in the case spoke only English fluently.

“We’re seeing more and more that judges are becoming aware of how important language rights are as a part of access to justice,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish.

“It was pleasing to see the court recognize that these are principles of natural justice, and these rights are not something to be ignored anymore,” she adds.

The case involved a self-represented individual appealing the minister’s assessment of his employment with an insurance company during the year 2012. His former employer intervened, and several representatives were called to testify in court.

When one expressed a desire to speak French, the self-represented appellant requested an interpreter because of his basic French skills. Instead, the judge granted a break for counsel to reach a compromise, which resulted in the witness giving evidence in English.

The rest of the post can be found at: https://www.advocatedaily.com/suzanne-deliscar-supreme-court-decision-a-boost-for-language-rights.html.

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