Harmoniser le Droit Dans un Espace Multilingue et Pluri-Juridique: Un Point de Vue Canadien (Legal Harmonization in a Multilingual and Poly-Jural Space: A Canadian View)
Uniform Law Review, Vol. 13, pp. 39-58, 2008
21 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2011
Date Written: September 9, 2008
In what way does Canada act a testing ground for legal harmonization in a multilingual and pluri-juridical environment? In Canada, harmonization focuses on language and separate legal traditions. The equal legal authority of the French and English versions of federal law and the laws of certain provincial legislations is of elementary importance. Where the harmonization of legal traditions is concerned, a distinction should be made between formal and informal harmonization. Informal harmonization refers to the process of exchange and mutual influence between the common law and the civil law within the country. Moreover, it is a constitutional principle in Canada that the application of federal law may vary from one province to another depending on which provincial law is in force. In short, the legal diversity springing from separate legal traditions is part of the constitutional order, and it is regarded as an advantage rather than a drawback. The federal government has made a considerable effort to adjust the laws to take into account the civil law of Quebec, and has promulgated a rule ordering that the federal laws must be interpreted so as to accommodate both legal traditions. While the Canadian experience shows that the harmonization process is never complete but an ongoing challenge, nevertheless it emphasizes the value of pluralism and the meeting of languages and legal traditions.
Note: Downloadable document is in French.
Keywords: legal bilingualism, legal harmonization, Canada, federal law, provincial law
JEL Classification: K10, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation