On February 3, 2023, Justice Jean Bouchard will retire from the Court of Appeal of Quebec, where he has sat since October 1, 2009. Justice Bouchard is a graduate of the Université de Sherbrooke and Université Laval, having obtained an undergraduate degree in law in 1977 and a master’s degree in 1989 for his thesis on injunctions and section 96 of the Constitution Act, 1867. He was called to the Quebec Bar in 1978 and was in private practice until 1981. He then joined the constitutional law branch of Quebec’s Ministère de la Justice, where he remained until his appointment to the Superior Court.
As a litigator, he represented the Attorney General of Quebec in numerous constitutional cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, participating in landmark cases on freedom of expression, hate propaganda, abortion rights, self‑incrimination, the constitutional doctrine of vagueness, and aboriginal law, to name but a few.
In June 1991, he established the Ministère de la Justice’s aboriginal law branch, which he led for nearly three years. He taught constitutional law at Université Laval from 1986 to 1988 and also authored several scholarly articles and gave conferences in this field of law. From September 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016, he sat on the board of the law journal Les Cahiers de droit, a publication of Université Laval’s Faculty of Law.
He was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Quebec on February 28, 2000, and elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2009.
In the words of Chief Justice Manon Savard: “Versatile, meticulous, wise, empathetic, affable and open-minded—these adjectives perfectly describe Justice Bouchard, an exceptional jurist. His contributions to the Court’s opinions have shaped the case law in all legal fields, especially in the areas of constitutional law and aboriginal law. Justice Bouchard is known for his great ability to listen, his sense of humour and his constant respect for litigants, for counsel and for his colleagues, who hold him in the highest regard. His words, imbued with a deep sense of justice and fairness, have been widely sought out. We will definitely miss his presence on the Court. All of his colleagues at the Court, myself included, extend their best wishes to him on his retirement.”