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.
Labels: access to information, courts, journalism