Erdmann v. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta
From Ad IDEM / CMLA
The Court of Appeal of Alberta denied a publication ban on an appeal from an administrative proceeding on the basis that the applicant had "not demonstrated any compelling reason to seal (the) file". The applicant had been seeking an order to have the files of the Court of Appeal sealed, that she be permitted to prosecute her appeal under a pseudonym, and that the oral argument of the appeal be held in camera.
The applicant had filed an appeal from findings of professional misconduct made against her by the appeal tribunal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta. In her application for the ban she states that the Alberta proceedings could prejudice other, unrelated litigation commenced by her in Ontario and could negatively affect her personal and professional reputation.
Justice Slatter begins by stating that the procedures followed in the Court of Appeal "must respect the principles set out in Dagenais" and that "failure to give notice to the media would be sufficient grounds to dismiss or adjourn this application."
Slatter J. finds that "maintaining the openness of the Court of Appeal file will not affect the fairness of the adjudication of the appeal."
On the particular facts of this proceeding, Slatter J. finds that because there is "already a considerable amount of information about the allegations on the public record...the principle of open courts weighs against imposing ineffective restricted court access orders."
Slatter J. goes on to say at para. 7:
It is an assumption fundamental to our system of justice that court files and court proceedings are open...Court files cannot be sealed simply because of a desire for privacy by the litigants, or to protect individuals from embarrassment or inconvenience."