1891

The Supreme Court of Canada renders its first decision about the equal authority of the English and French versions of legislation

Faced with a question on the interpretation of sections of the Civil Code of Quebec, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that both the English and French versions of the text are of equal authority.

The Court determined that regardless of whether the Civil Code of Quebec was originally drafted in one language and then translated to the other, the fact that both the English and French versions of the text were enacted and sanctioned simultaneously by the legislature means that the English version cannot be read out of the law. In the case of ambiguity, the courts must interpret each version by the other.