12th Summer Institute of Jurilinguistics


June 15, 2018, McGill University

The twelfth edition of the Summer Institute of Jurilinguistics, organized by the Paul-Andre Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law in collaboration with the Network of Jurilinguistics Centres, was held on June 15th, 2018 at McGill’s Faculty of Law. The event brought together more than 130 participants from different fields pertaining to jurilinguistics.Cette année, l’Institut portait sur le thème « Coder/Décoder : Linguistique et Concepts Juridiques ». Le programme scientifique de la journée a été organisé de façon à permettre la tenue de deux plénières et quatre ateliers, couvrant plusieurs thématiques grâce aux exposés des conférenciers et conférencières.

This year’s theme was “Coding/Decoding: Linguistics & Legal Concepts,” with a focus on how different aspects of linguistics play a role in our understanding and use of legal concepts, particularly pertaining to issues of access to justice.  The program for the day consisted of two plenary sessions and four workshops, covering a wide range of subjects presented by various speakers.

Véronique Bélanger, assistant dean of McGill’s Faculty of Law and Professor Yaëll Emerich, director of the Crépeau Centre opened the event and delivered words of welcome. The first plenary, moderated by Professor Johanne Poirier (McGill University), was devoted to the topic of drafting legislation in bi/multi-jural and bi/multilinguistic contexts, and the unique challenges that arise therein. Professor Karine McLaren, director of the Université de Moncton’s Centre de traduction et de terminologie juridiques, gave the first presentation, “Le bijuridisme canadien et ses conséquences sur les techniques de rédaction législative bilingue,” in which she discussed the interaction between the common law and civil law traditions and its consequences on drafting federal laws. To follow, Mtre France Allard, senior general counsel and comparative law expert for the Department of Justice Canada, in “Les lois d’harmonisation : un long processus tranquille,” discussed the 20-plus year process to harmonize federal laws so that both French and English versions take into account civil law and common law traditions. Then, Professor Isabelle Pingel (Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), in “Coder/décoder dans l’Union européenne : la traduction dans tous ses états,” gave a comparative European perspective, explaining the unique challenges the EU faces, with its 28 member states and 24 official languages.

Two morning workshops tackled the broad topic of linguistics and interpretation. In one, Kathy Bellefleur moderated two presentations on the semiotics of law, one by Dr. Sandy Lamalle, consultant and Associate Researcher at Concordia University, and the other by Professor Jeffrey Ellsworth (Ramapo College of New Jersey), where topics discussed included the approaches and tools used to understand, interpret and analyze law, as well as contemporary challenges in this field. At the same time, Professor María Sierra Córdoba Serrano (McGill University), discussed new initiatives in jurilinguistics education in Quebec, notably the Graduate Certificate in Legal Translation offered by McGill’s School of Continuing Education, in a session moderated by Lyne Jolette.

Two workshops about linguistics and trial proceedings took place during the afternoon. Mtre Laurence Bich-Carrière, lawyer at Lavery, de Billy, discussed emoji interpretation and its relation to proof in a presentation moderated by Marie-Andrée Plante. In the other, Professor Sylvie Monjean-Decaudin, director of the Université de Cergy-Pontoise’s Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Juritraductologie, compared the Canadian and European approaches to jurilinguistics and juritraductology in a workshop moderated by Jelena Holland.

The last plenary, moderated by Aileen Clark, focussed on the role of linguistics rights as they pertain to human rights, particularly insofar as they are a powerful tool for equality and social justice, protecting and recognizing minorities and ensuring access to education. Lindsay Borrows, lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, discussed language as a human right, and how strengthening indigenous languages through law is an important part of the decolonization project. Then, Roger Jones (Assembly of First Nations), provided an overview of the state of indigenous languages in Canada, particularly in light of international treaties and the Constitution, as well as the reconciliation process. Following that, Frédéric Bérard, Lawyer, Ph.D in Law, and co-founder of the National Observatory of Language Rights, reflected on potential asymmetries in the judicial interpretation of language rights for linguistic minorities in Canada.

The Honourable Nicholas Kasirer concluded the twelfth edition of the Summer Institute by discussing the importance of jurilinguistics within the law and how our understanding of fundamental legal concepts might be framed according to the different approaches to legal translation explored throughout the day’s events. He then thanked the participants and invited all to end the day with a celebratory cocktail. The organizers, the administrative officers from the Network of Jurilinguistics Centres, and the participants all expressed their appreciation for this annual gathering.

Click here to view the program of the 12th Summer Institute of Jurilinguistics PDF icon institut_dete_de_jurilinguistique_-_programme.pdf.

This conference was recognized by the Barreau du Québec and the Chambre des notaires du Québec as fulfilling 5 hours and 45 minutes of Continuing Legal Education.

The Crépeau Centre would like to thank Justice Canada for its financial support from the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund through the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future.