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British Columbia Supreme Court Record Access Policy

The British Columbia Supreme Court has amended its Court Record Access Policy to incorporate Forms 1, 2, and 3, which facilitate requests by accredited members of the media for access to court exhibits, and requests for access to notices of application and affidavits in criminal proceedings.

Form 1 Protocol for Media Access to Exhibits

Form 2 Media Request for Access to Exhibits

Form 3 Media Request for Access to Court Records in Criminal Proceedings

BCCA Publication Bans and Sealing Orders (Civil Practice Directive 4 June 2018

Effective: 11 June 2018

At the time a notice of appeal or notice of application for leave to appeal is filed, parties must advise the Registrar in writing of the existence and nature of any publication bans in place.

If a party wishes to seek an order sealing material, they must immediately apply to a justice in chambers upon filing that material. Parties should not assume that a sealing order made in a court or tribunal below will continue to apply in the Court of Appeal.

BCCA Publication Bans and Sealing Orders (Practice Directive 4 June 2018

British Columbia Supreme Court Publications Ban Template Order

The Supreme Court has developed a “Publication Ban Pick List”, which sets out the mandatory and discretionary statutory publication bans available in the Criminal Code and Extradition Act, and important information that should be recorded in a publication ban order under each provision.

The Supreme Court has also developed a “Publication Ban Template Order” for use in conjunction with the Pick List.

The Pick List and Template Order are tools aimed at addressing difficulties experienced by individuals seeking to obtain complete information about the scope of a publication ban in a criminal proceeding. Applicants for a publication ban are encouraged to use the Pick List and Template Order to prepare a draft order for consideration of the Court at the hearing of the application.

Written publication ban orders made by the Court will be placed on the court file and will be available at the Criminal Registry for viewing by members of the media or public upon request.

BC Supreme Court Publication Ban Pick List

BC Supreme Court Publication Ban Template Order

Vincent Review of Victoria's Open Courts Act

In 2017, an independent review of the Open Courts Act 2013, in the state of Victoria, in Australia, was conducted by former Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Frank Vincent.

The Open Courts Act Review was asked to consider whether the Act is striking the right balance between the need for open and transparent justice, and the need to protect the legitimate interests of victims, witnesses and accused persons, and to preserve the proper administration of justice.

It recommended a range of improvements to existing suppression laws (publication bans), including:

(1) a statutory obligation to provide public reasons for suppression orders;

(2) a central, publicly available register of all suppression orders; and

(3) a Public Interest Monitor to act as contradictor in suppression order applications (either at the request of the judge or upon the PIM’s own initiative) and to report annually to the Vic AG on operation of the Open Courts Act.

Vincent Review of Victoria's Open Courts Act

Open Courts Act 2013

British Columbia Courts' Amendment to Policy on Use of Electronic Devices

The three Courts’ policy on the use of electronic devices in courtrooms has been amended to clarify the use that can be made of electronic devices during ceremonies and to provide direction to media on retention and destruction of audio recordings used to verify notes.

March 2018 BC Courts' Amendment to Policy on Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms

January 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Guide to Accessing Court Proceedings

The guide explains the public’s right to attend court proceedings and how members of the public can get access to the court record. It also explains some of the restrictions which are placed on access to, or publication of, information relating to court proceedings or information in the court record. The guide applies to court proceedings and court records in civil, family and criminal matters in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland.

January 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Guide to Accessing Court Proceedings and Records

Chamberland Inquiry Report Overview

The first and main recommendation is that the Quebec government enact "a Journalistic Material and Sources Protection Act, in civil and penal matters" which the report summarizes as follows: "An umbrella law that would help gather all elements of a regime of immunity in one place, ensuring the protection of journalistic material and sources in all matters falling under Quebec’s constitutional jurisdiction. A law that would echo, in civil and penal matters, the recent Journalistic Sources Protection Act (October 18, 2017)."

Chamberland Inquiry Report Overview

Bill S-231

Bill S-231, the Journalistic Source Protection Act, received Royal Assent on October 18th, 2017.

This enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to protect the confidentiality of journalistic sources.

The enactment also amends the Criminal Code so that only a judge of a superior court of criminal jurisdiction or a judge within the meaning of section 552 of that Act may issue a search warrant relating to a journalist.

Bill S-231

Nova Scotia Guidelines for Media and Public Access to Courts

On June 1, 2017 the Courts of Nova Scotia adopted new guidelines for media and public access to the courts.

Please click on the link below to see the complete guide to these changes.

June 2017 Nova Scotia Guidelines

The Ad IDEM Writing Prize 2017

Ad IDEM/CMLA is introducing the Ad IDEM Writing Prize for students writing on the topic of freedom of expression. The deadline for submissions is May 30, 2017 with the winner to be announced by September 2017.

For details please click on the link below.

The Ad IDEM Writing Prize 2017

UN Human Rights Council Resolution - A/HRC/33L.6

At its 33rd session on September 29, 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a new Resolution on the safety of journalists which welcomed the work of UNESCO in fortifying media safety worldwide.

Of particular interest, in light of the recent revelations of police intrusions in Quebec and the bid for a shield law, please refer to paragraph 12 of the resolution, which calls upon states to protect the confidentiality of journalists' sources.

"12. Further calls upon States to protect in law and in practice the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, in acknowledgement of the essential role of journalists in fostering government accountability and an inclusive and peaceful society, subject only to limited and clearly defined exceptions provided in national legal frameworks, including judicial authorization, in compliance with States’ obligations under international human rights law;"

United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on the safety of journalists

BC Provincial Court Post-Consultation Memorandum - Court Services Online Criminal Information(CSO)(2016)

1. No more online remote access through CSO to adult criminal case information regarding acquittals, dismissals and withdrawals after 30 days from the entry of the acquittal, dismissal or withdrawal.

2. No more online remote access through CSO to adult criminal case information regarding stays of proceedings after one year from the entry of the stay.

3. No more online remote access through CSO to information regarding peace bonds issued once the peace bond has expired on its terms.

BC Provincial Court Post-Consulation Memorandum re Court Services Online Criminal Information (2016)

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