Can I have my family law trial in French?

3. Talk to a French lawyer

You don’t have to hire a lawyer to help with your family law problem. But a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and your options.

Lawyers give legal advice. This means they explain what the law says and how it applies to your situation. Talk to a lawyer with experience in family law. Some lawyers only deal with specific areas of law.

Lawyers must tell you about your right to have bilingual proceedings. You decide what language you want your proceedings to be in, not the lawyer.

If you choose French, your lawyer or paralegal must have enough knowledge of French to be able to:

  • speak and write the language in a way you both understand
  • do a good job representing you at court hearings

If they can’t do these things, they should tell you they can’t work for you. They should get your permission to refer you to someone else who can provide services in French.

When you meet with a lawyer, ask questions like:

  • Are you bilingual?
  • How many French-speaking clients do you have?
  • What experience do you have working with French-speaking people who live in Ontario?
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