Quebec court and tribunal judgments are published and/or added to databases in the language of the hearing.
Even when a decision is rendered in English, sometimes counsel will interchangeably use English and French, which can create some difficulties with searching for or reading a case. The Honourable Mr. Justice Allan Hilton provides an example of this within his paper, The Practice of Law in Quebec: The Perspective of an Anglophone Quebecer:
"My Lord, we have been referred to you by the Greffière spéciale because we cannot agree on an échéancier for this case and we want you to fix one. In addition, I wish to present an application for an ordonnance de sauvegarde to remain in effect until the hearing on the injonction interlocutoire."
Translated into proper English, this statement would be as follows:
"My Lord, the Special Clerk has referred us to you because we cannot agree on a timetable for this case and we want you to establish one. In addition, I wish to present an application for a safeguard order to remain in force until the hearing on the interlocutory injunction."
La Societe quebecoise d'information juridique (SOQUIJ) was founded in 1976 by the Quebec government and operates under the Department of Justice.
SOQUIJ provides comprehensive coverage of Quebec law by publishing decisions from the judicial and administrative tribunals of the Province of Québec. The website states, "While some of the full-text decisions reported in our products are provided in the original English, the summaries and search tools (indexes, tables, web interface, etc.) are in French".
Although the search page is in French, the judgment database can be searched using English keywords to locate judgments originally written in English. This approach works in CanLII, Quicklaw, and LawSource search templates as well.
SOQUIJ also produces around two hundred unofficial English translations per year, mostly within criminal and family subjects. In spite of the unofficial status, these decisions are ordered and reviewed by the courts. There is no search feature, and the decisions are listed in reverse chronological order. The English translations page is separate from the page used to search for decisions originally rendered in English.
Law firm newsletters sometimes summarize French cases in English. Either search a firm’s site for their newsletter when trying to find a known case or search law firm search engines such as Fee Fie Fo Firm or Lexology can be searched using keywords such as “Quebec” and “case” to pull newsletters discussing recent Quebec cases.
See also Quebec Legislation and Case Law: Free Sources and Demystification.
Finding English Translations of French Language Court Decisions in Canada. T. Tjaden. Slaw. (March 2, 2011). Retrieved from: http://www.slaw.ca/2011/03/02/translations-court-decisions/
Legal Research Handbook, 5th ed., by D. MacEllven. Chapter 12: Researching Quebec Law (available in Vancouver and regional courthouse libraries)
Lost in Translation? Quebec Sources for Non-Quebec Librarians. C. Mehu. CALL/ACBD 2013 Conference. (May 7, 2013)
The Practice of Law in Quebec: The Perspective of an Anglophone Quebecer. A. Hilton. The Law Society of Upper Canada: 3rd Colloquium.
Societe quebecoise d'information juridique
715, rue du Square-Victoria
Montreal, Que., H2Y 2H7