Access to Court Documents, Photographs and Recordings
At the Court Registry
As a general rule, all court documents are a matter of public record unless a legislative provision or court order restricts public access. Documents subject to a sealing order (these are rare) cannot be inspected by the public, including members of the media. Documentation pertaining to cases subject to a publication ban, may be inspected.
Members of the public, including the media, can attend in person at the Court Registry and inspect court records. Twenty-four hours' notice is required to have them delivered to the Registry Desk. Please contact the Court Records Office by telephone at 613-996-7933 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to check about the availability of the court record in question.
If photocopies are required, they can be made at the Registry at a cost of $.50 per page. No part of the Court record can be removed from the Courthouse.
Paper copies of the Court's decisions are also available at the Court Registry for a fee.
On the Internet
Information about cases, including names and contact information for counsel for the parties and interveners, dates of steps taken in the litigation, etc. is available through the SCC Case Information page.
The decisions of the Court are available over the Internet in both official languages. This service is provided through a joint project between the Supreme Court of Canada and Lexum Inc., formerly the Centre de recherche en droit public at the University of Montreal. The collection goes back to 1876.
In addition to the schedules, docket information, party information and case summaries currently available, the Court provides Webcasts of appeal hearings and posts appeal factums and memorandums of argument in cases in which the Court grants leave appeal. For details see the Court’s Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records.
Where a photograph forms part of the “Supreme Court of Canada Collection”, copyright is held by the Supreme Court of Canada and the photographs may be used or reproduced in accordance with the Copyright Act or with the written authorization of the Court. Where a photograph does not form part of the “Supreme Court of Canada Collection”, necessary permission for use or reproduction must be obtained directly from the copyright holder.
The Supreme Court of Canada provides a live feed of all appeals to the Parliamentary Press Gallery through the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel (CPAC). Most courtroom proceedings are also webcast live and are later televised by CPAC. Live and archived Webcasts of appeal hearings are available on the Court's Website.
Webcasts and audio files of Supreme Court of Canada proceedings may be broadcast, rebroadcast, transmitted, communicated to the public by telecommunication, or otherwise be made available in accordance with the Copyright Act or with the written authorization of the Court. To request permission to use such material or to request a copy on DVD, please fill out the on-line Request to Use Court Photographs, Webcasts or Audio/Video Recordings.
Note that certain appeals may be subject to a publication ban. If a request for a video recording is granted or a use authorized by the Copyright Act, it is the responsibility of the person or entity broadcasting, transmitting or communicating the appeal to the public to ensure that the publication ban is respected.
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