Reserved Seating Policy and Procedure


The Supreme Court of Canada ("SCC") has adopted a policy to allow counsel to reserve seating in the public gallery of the SCC courtroom for their client, a party before the Court. This policy and attached procedure allows counsel to request in advance of the hearing reserved seats for their client, ensures to the extent possible that a person is able to keep the reserved seat throughout the hearing, and assists SCC Registry staff and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ("RCMP") Officer stationed in front of the Courtroom in managing attendance, especially in cases where there is a high level of public interest.

The Registrar reserves the right to limit or not issue reserved seating passes. The RCMP Officer who is responsible for the security in the courtroom may revoke reserved seating privileges in individual cases as circumstances warrant.

Reserved seating procedure

1 Obtaining Reserved Seating

1.1 A counsel for a party before the Court may obtain two reserved seating passes for their client on the morning of the hearing when that counsel registers at the Registry.

1.2 If a counsel for a party before the Court wishes to obtain more than two reserved seating passes, that counsel must write to the Registrar to request the additional number of passes no later than two weeks before the scheduled hearing date of the appeal.

The Court Clerk will contact counsel at least one week before the hearing to advise whether the request is approved. These additional passes must also be obtained on the morning of the hearing when counsel registers at the Registry.

1.3 Counsel for a party shall distribute the passes to his client.

2 Arranging Reserved Seating

2.1 The Court Clerk will place a "Reserved Seating" sign on the first row on each side of the Courtroom in advance of every hearing.

The Court Clerk will place signs in additional rows, as required.

2.2 If all of the approved reserved seating cannot be accommodated in the main courtroom, arrangements will be made by the Court Clerk for seating in one of the Federal Courts courtrooms, if available.

3 Seating in the Courtroom

3.1 The doors to the Courtroom are opened 30 minutes prior to the start of a hearing both for persons with reserved seating passes and for the general public.

3.2 A person with a reserved seating pass is required to show that pass to the RCMP Officer stationed at the front of the courtroom, sit in one of the rows designated as reserved by the Court Clerk and keep the reserved seating pass throughout the hearing.

3.3 If the reserved seats are not taken 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the hearing in the morning or the afternoon, or 10 minutes after an interruption from a break, the seats will be given to the general public. This 10 minute rule also applies if a person with a reserved seating pass leaves the courtroom during the hearing.

3.4 A person who has left the courtroom must show the reserved seating pass to the RCMP Officer stationed at the front of the courtroom when they wish to re-enter the courtroom.

For information on this policy and procedure, please contact:

Registry Branch