During a bilingual hearing in the Court of Appeal, an unrepresented party made an objection to the use of the court-appointed translator. When this occurred, the presiding judge on the panel asked whether the parties were content to hold the hearing in French only.
It turned out the only one who demurred was the lawyer from the Crown, who was not a party but who had standing as an intervenor because of a Charter issue. Eager to avoid an adjournment, I turned around, spoke to the lawyer in French and ascertained that he could in fact speak French. I avoided the adjournment. The hearing continued in French only, and the young lawyer from the Crown Law Office prevailed against me. (Belende v. Patel [Eng.]; Belende c. Patel [Fr.]) Continue reading
Lack of diversity in law, in the world’s most multicultural city in the country the most welcoming of outsiders, continues to confound.
In 2011, I met with the leaders of the American Bar Association during their annual conference in Toronto. I was impressed with how more reflective of our general community the delegates were, compared to senior members of our bar. They seemed to have got over the barrier from diversity as prototype to diversity as integral professional culture. Even to the point that, it was pointed out to me, the seven members of the California Supreme Court included four women and four Asians. The American Civil Rights Movement has always been about participation and integration, and less about preservation of diasporic customs. Continue reading
La question de diversité dans le domaine de droit, à la métropole et au pays le plus multiculturelles au monde, ne cesse de confondre tous.
En 2011, j’ai rencontré les leaders du barreau américain durant leur conférence annuel à Toronto. Ce qui m’a vraiment frappé, c’est qu’aux É.-U., on a franchi le seuil entre la diversité comme prototype et la diversité comme processus intégral de la culture professionnelle. Même au niveau que les sept membres de la Cour suprême de la Californie comprennent quatre femmes et quatre asiatiques. Aux É.-U., les batailles historiques à venir à ce point furent toutes à propos de la participation ou de l’intégration. Non pas de la préservation des coutumes des immigrés. Continue reading