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Can I have my civil trial in French?

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Can I have my civil trial in French?
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Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario (AJEFO)

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Can I have my civil trial in French?
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Reviewed: 
November 26, 2018
Answer

The Courts of Justice Act says that if you're a resident of Ontario who speaks French, you have the right to a bilingual non-jury civil court proceeding anywhere in Ontario. This applies to all family and non-jury civil cases at the:

  • Ontario Court of Justice
  • Superior Court of Justice, including the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice
  • Small Claims Court
  • Court of Appeal for Ontario

It also applies to proceedings to Provincial Offences Act cases, such as traffic tickets.

You also have the right to a bilingual jury civil trial in some areas in Ontario. This includes:

  • the counties of Essex, Middlesex, Prescott and Russell, Renfrew, Simcoe and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
  • the County of Welland as it existed on December 31, 1969
  • the territorial districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Nipissing, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming
  • the Municipality of Chatham Kent
  • the City of Hamilton
  • the City of Ottawa
  • the Regional Municipality of Peel
  • the City of Greater Sudbury
  • the City of Toronto

The Act doesn't use the words "French proceeding" or "French trial". Instead, proceedings are referred to as bilingual proceedings.

The right to bilingual proceedings also applies to all other hearings in your case, like motions, pre-trials, and conferences, unless you ask otherwise.

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