Review of Comments Received on the Legal Dictionary of Property in Canada (LDPC) Vol. 1   imprimer

(Consultation conducted from May 15 to June 15, 2010)
[Version française]

This report summarizes the comments received and indicates the adjustments that will be made to the next version of the LDPC Vol. 1, which is scheduled for release in 2011. To facilitate consultation, the information has been grouped under headings corresponding to the various components and aspects of the LDPC.

Table of Contents

1. Comments regarding the format of the dictionary’s various components
           1.1. Articles
           1.2. User guide
           1.3. Indexes
           1.4. References to sources
2. Comments regarding the concepts and the choice of entries
           2.1. Choice of bilingual and bisystemic entries
           2.2. Reduction of definitions
           2.3. Interpretation of the relationships between concepts
           2.4. Choice of excerpts from judgments
3. Results of the feedback gathering process: Evaluation form [table]

1.     Comments regarding the format of the dictionary’s various components [TOP]

1.1.  Articles [TOP]

Comments: A number of people applauded the bilingual, aligned format of articles, and often mentioned the user-friendliness of the online interface.

With regard to the language alignment in the hard-copy version, some people would have preferred that the French be on the left side of the page instead of the right side in the French version of the LDPC (Vol. 1, Tome I – French/English). Others suggested putting references to entries at the top of pages to make it easier to locate a given entry.

Adjustments: In the next hard-copy version, the French will appear on the left in the French version of the LDPC (Vol. 1, Tome I – French/English) instead of on the right, though the current layout will remain for the English version (Vol. 1, Tome II – English/French). We will therefore deviate from common practice, whereby the English is always on the left in federal texts (to this effect, see the format of federal statutes).

Based on lexicographic usage, the first entry on the left-hand page will be added to the top of the page and the last entry on the right-hand page will appear at the top of that page.

1.2.  User guide [TOP]

Comments: The guide was well received. Users found that it comprehensively contains all the necessary details on the various aspects of the dictionary. However, some users pointed out that the user guide would benefit from being less technical in its language.

Adjustments: The guide is currently being reviewed with the aim of making it easier to read and consult.

1.3.  Indexes [TOP]

Comments: In general, comments on the indexes were positive. However, the lack of page number references for each of the articles in indexes A and C was questioned by many. It was also suggested that indexes be printed on coloured paper to make them more visible in the hard-copy version.

Other users suggested that references to decisions cited by articles contained in Index A appear in a separate table, similar to the list of judgments found in Index B.

Adjustments: Page number references will be added to both dictionary entry indexes (French/English and English/French) in the next hard-copy version of the LDPC. The possibility of printing the indexes on coloured paper will also be considered.

The table of judgments cited (B) will be retained, and we may add a table of judgments cited by articles (separate from Index A).

1.4.  References to sources [TOP]

Comments: The presentation of legal and doctrinal sources was very well received, in terms of both the format and the availability of these reference sources in the dictionary.

Adjustments: Minor changes may be made to the format of the table of judgments cited, as well as to the bibliography.

2.     Comments regarding the concepts and the choice of entries [TOP]

2.1.  Choice of bilingual and bisystemic entries [TOP]

Comments: Comments on article entries, also given as translation equivalents, were generally very positive. However, some expressed reservations with regard to the choice of certain entries. These reservations stem mainly from the lack of in-context documentation of the lexicalization of the chosen equivalent. Others pointed out that some equivalents diverge from the lexical form normally used in the standardization of French Common law vocabulary and in some Supreme Court of Canada decisions. One user pointed out that, in some cases, the contexts did not reflect the bisystemic nature of the headword.

Adjustments: It is important to remember that we searched for the meaning of a definition in the corpus, and not just the lexical form of the entry. Where there was no lexical form, a periphrase conveying the meaning of the definition could sometimes be found in the corpus by searching its equivalent in the other language. For example, the French entry "opposable à tous" had "set up against anyone" and "against the world" in English, while the form that we put forth in the dictionary entry was "opposable to all". We could not use this periphrase as an entry.

Several concepts defined in the dictionary are currently being analyzed in greater detail to verify their meaning. An analysis of their lexicalization ensued when the form in the other language is used to search for their occurrences (e.g. the English form is preferred for Common law concepts and the French form is preferred for Civil law concepts).

Some translation equivalents currently provided in entries will be modified where necessary and an additional 50 entries is already expected for the next version of the LDPC.

The bilingual corpus will soon be available online and its collaboration platform will be equipped with a search engine. Users will then be able to directly consult the working corpus which consists of decisions rendered by bilingual Canadian courts (SCC, FCA and NBCA).

The possibility of posting online tables comparing the translation equivalents provided by the LDPC and the main legal dictionaries is also being considered.

*With regard to the choice of contexts, please see Section 2.4.

2.2.  Reduction of definitions [TOP]

Comments: The comments received on the concision and precision of all the definitions were very positive. However, some definitions generally “bisystemic” in nature were questioned given their level of abstraction and the specific characteristics chosen to define these concepts. Some of these definitions diverge from those generally proposed by the doctrine or by other unisystemic dictionaries – while others simply contradict a usage accepted in one system or another. Note that the definition of the concepts "title (2)," "basis" and "human person" drew particular attention from commenters.

A few users were puzzled that certain entries were missing from the first volume (e.g. "indivision" and "corporation"). Others would like to see the scope of this dictionary expanded to cover other areas of private law.

Adjustments: The validity of definitions will be cross-checked in each of the legal systems and changes will be made as needed. As mentioned beforehand, about 50 new entries will be added to the expanded version of the LDPC.

We should point out that every definition pertains to the analytical meaning of the concept and not to its meaning in accordance with the specific legal rules that apply to it or under which it is used. Each definition is a necessary and sufficient condition and constitutes a part of an assembled coherent structure that explains the concept of property in each system. Reading the definition and the semantic part enables readers to navigate through the definitions. Therefore, a bisystemic concept will take on a Civil law or Common law perspective based on the definitions of the concepts that are above it in the hierarchy, that oppose it or that are given as its equivalents.

The purpose of the LDPC is to explain property as an integrated phenomenon in both Common law and Civil law.

2.3.  Interpretation of the relationships between concepts [TOP]

Comments: Several users found that the semantic part integrated into each dictionary entry was very innovative, but that they needed to adapt to this new approach. Many pointed out that the user guide helps users benefit from the information in this part.

Moreover, the incorporation of graphs illustrating the structure of these relationships in the online version of the dictionary drew many positive comments.

Adjustments: Like the translation equivalents and definitions, semantic relationships between concepts are currently being carefully re-examined, as required by the addition of new entries. Details will be given and adjustments will be made to clarify how they should be consulted.

2.4.  Choice of excerpts from judgments [TOP]

Comments: All users stressed the relevance of this part. Many positive comments were made on the choice of judgments for the corpus’ composition, particularly because of the Canada-wide approach adopted. However, one comment questioned the choice of court decisions that address – only subsidiarily – property issues within another legal context, such as aboriginal law or criminal law.

Adjustments: The excerpts selection process is currently the focus of complementary studies. We hope to provide readers with excerpts in each of the legal systems for every concept defined in the dictionary.

Ideally, every entry should have a few excerpts. In some cases, excepts were so rare that we had to choose some with no lexical form given in the entry as a translation equivalent. Nevertheless, the choice was still justified because the excerpts carried the meaning of the definition in the dictionary.

Keep in mind that the purposes of corpus excerpts are: 1. to illustrate the meaning of the concept, 2. to show evidence of the concept’s presence in the corpus and 3. to give an example of how the concept is used in a judiciary context. They also show possible lexicalizations as well as linguistic and legal uses in context.

From a legal standpoint, the excerpts help illustrate the various factual and legal contexts in which the concept can be applied, and the main defining characteristics emphasized by judges. Excerpts also draw attention to the semantic relationships between concepts in terms of legal reasoning.

The online version of the LDPC will be updated twice a year, and accordingly, each new hard-copy edition will reflect the latest online version.

3.     Results of the feedback gathering process: Evaluation form [TOP]

Forty-four (44) forms were submitted on-line and by mail. On a satisfaction scale from 1 to 5 (1 – Unsatisfactory; 2 – Somewhat satisfactory; 3 – Satisfactory; 4 – Very satisfactory; 5 – Completely satisfactory), the average ratings received for each question are as follows:


Average rating

Question 1: The user guide was developed to briefly present the various aspects of the Dictionary. The guide merits a rating of:


Question 2: The Dictionary’s bilingual format aligns the English and French entries side by side. The selected format merits a rating of:


Question 3: Each Dictionary entry proposes one or more translation equivalents (e.g. droit (2) for right, etc.). After reviewing the index of bilingual entries, the proposed equivalents merit a rating of:


Question 4: The definitions in the Dictionary aim to describe the concepts precisely. The definitions merit a rating of:


Question 5: The description of the semantic relationships between the concepts of the legal systems, indicated by Cat., Incl., Excl., or Equiv. labels, merits a rating of:


Question 6: Most of the entries in the Dictionary end with excerpts from judgments. With regard to the number and to the selection of the excerpts, the Dictionary merits a rating of:


Question 7: The index provided at the end of the Dictionary merits a rating of:


Question 8: For ease of use, the Dictionary on the whole merits a rating of:


Last modified on: 2014-07-15