Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Survey on Making Supreme Court of Canada Factums Available on the Web

Slaw.ca, the collaborative Canadian law research blog, and the Canadian Bar Association conducted a survey last month about Supreme Court of Canada factums (or "briefs" for any Americans reading this). The survey asked people in the field of law whether they supported making factums submitted in cases before the Supreme Court more broadly available by being published on the Internet.

South of the border, United States Supreme Court briefs are on the Internet.

Currently, people can contact the Court Records Office here at the Supreme Court of Canada to order copies of the material in a court file once the file has been closed. Fees for photocopies and consulting the court file apply.

Earlier today, a lengthy analysis of the survey results was posted on the Slaw site. Not surprisingly, respondents, overall, favour much greater accessibility. The Slaw post also includes the images from the PDF document submitted to the Supreme Court.

"The survey showed broad support for making factums more broadly available. The lawyers responding strongly endorsed transparency and disclosure, believing that public access to factums will not significantly interfere with the court or the administration of justice. Of the concerns raised in earlier discussions, none appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle."

Some of those concerns involve the protection of privacy and copyright in the material itself (does it belong to the public, the Court, or the parties?).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:55 pm

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