Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Is Access to Canadian Court Records Too Restrictive?

That's the question raised in this week's issue of The Lawyers Weekly in an article entitled Access to information: law and reality miles apart:

"There’s a growing chorus of complaint that access to key court documents — informations setting out criminal charges, exhibits tendered during trials, youth court dockets — has become increasingly restrictive, despite a growing body of Charter jurisprudence that demands greater openness. Understaffed court offices and lack of training for front-line officials compound the problem."

" 'You have to go through hoops — very time-consuming and expensive hoops — in a lot of cases. to get access,' complains Tracey Tyler, The Toronto Star’s legal affairs reporter, who has been covering the courts for two decades."
I helped organize a panel on the related issue of Access to Electronic Court Records and Privacy at last year's annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Saskatoon. Some of the panelists' presentations on the issue are online (scroll down on the page to May 26, 2008, 3:30 PM). Participants included Mr. Justice Gerald N. Allbright, Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan; Mr. Gary Dickson, Q.C., Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner; Frédéric Pelletier of CanLII; and Paul Schabas representing Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:16 pm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an unfortunate side effect of (i) the government's reluctance to put anything into the public domain unless pushed, and (ii) the role of private sector companies like Quicklaw, who make their money charging for access to content. All content must be free to access.

11:37 am  

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