For lawyers & paralegals
Advising your clients about access to legal services in French
If you have clients who speak French, you have a responsibility to advise them of their French-language rights, as set out in the Law Society's Rules of Professional Conduct Commentary to Rule 1.03 (for lawyers) and in the Paralegal Rules of Conduct Rule 3.02(13).
When am I required to advise my clients of their right to receive legal services in the French language?
You are required to advise them if you believe or know that a client speaks French. Clients who speak French may not be aware that they can request services in French.
If you are competent to offer services in French, provide them to clients who wish to proceed in French.
If you are not able to offer services in French, refer your clients to lawyers or paralegals who are competent in that language.
Where does the right to proceed in the French language apply?
• In courts created by the federal Parliament, including administrative tribunals that have quasi-judicial functions;
• In criminal proceedings;
• In most proceedings before the courts of Ontario;
• In some cases, in administrative tribunals established by the government of Ontario.
How can clients find lawyers or paralegals who are competent to provide legal services in French?
The Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) provides referrals to lawyers or paralegals who are able to provide services in French. The LSRS can be reached at 1-800‑268‑8326 or 416-947-3330 (within the GTA) or via the online request form at http://lsrs.lsuc.on.ca/lsrs.
Callers are provided with the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help them determine their rights and options.
The Law Society's online Lawyer and Paralegal Directory also includes information about the lawyer or paralegal's capacity to offer the services in French:
The Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario (AJEFO) also provides an online directory of lawyers who provide services in French:
Where can I find information on my responsibilities to advise my clients of their French-language rights?
The Law Society's guides Advising Clients of their
French-Language Rights - Lawyers' Responsibilities and Advising Clients of their French-Language Rights - Paralegals' Responsibilities are available online at
www.lsuc.on.ca under For Lawyers or For Paralegals > Equity & Diversity > Model Policies, Publications & Reports.
These guides are designed to assist lawyers and paralegals in understanding their responsibility to advise clients of their language rights under the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct.
Printed copies may be obtained from the Equity Initiatives Department at 1-800-668-7380, ext. 2153 or
416-947-3300, ext. 2153.
For information about the Rules of Professional Conduct or the Paralegal Rules of Conduct, please contact the Law Society's Practice Management Helpline at 1-800-668-7380 or 416-947-3315.
Information about the Equity Initiatives Department of the Law Society of Upper Canada is available at
www.lsuc.on.ca under For Lawyers or For Paralegals > Equity & Diversity.
The Law Society collaborates with AJEFO and other partners in the legal system to strengthen access to French-language services within the justice system.
The Law Society of Upper Canada130 Queen St. WestToronto, ON M5H 2N6416email@example.com www.lsuc.on.ca AJEFO201 - 214, chemin MontréalOttawa, ON K1L 8L8613firstname.lastname@example.org www.ajefo.ca