BLG’s Appeal and Review Group issues Alerts to keep selected recipients up to date about significant developments in the law and procedures of the courts. This Alert concerns a new policy that has been adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada for Internet access to records filed with the Court. Please contact any member of BLG’s Appeal and Review Group if you would like further information.

For several years, the Supreme Court of Canada has made certain case information available on its website – in particular, hearing schedules, docket information, party information, and case summaries. After consultation with various stakeholders, the Court has now agreed to expand the case information available on its website to include factums and webcasts of oral hearings.

A. Supreme Court of Canada Factums Now Available Online

Factums are the documents prepared by or on behalf of parties to proceedings and filed with the Court. They set out the facts of the case, the legal issues, and the legal arguments. They are essential reading for those who wish to understand what a particular appeal is about. Until now, factums filed with the Court have not been accessible online. All factums filed with the Court since 09 February 2009 will now be available as Adobe Acrobat files on the “SCC Case Information” section of the Court’s website (http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/information/cms-sgd/search-recherche-eng.asp).

Some access restrictions will apply to factums that contain personal information that should not be made widely available over the Internet (for example, an individual’s home address, social insurance number, or bank account number), in which case a duplicate version of the factum will be made available online that omits such information. Similarly, if a factum contains information that is subject to a publication ban then a redacted version of the factum will be made available online.

Questions concerning any factum and requests for permission to use a factum should be directed to the factum’s author, whose contact information appears on the first page of each factum.

B. Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Now Available Via Webcast

The Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel (CPAC) broadcasts videotaped hearings in the Supreme Court of Canada as part of its “Jurisprudence” programming. Those broadcasts, though, are delayed and not every hearing is selected for broadcast over CPAC.

Effective immediately, all courtroom proceedings in the Supreme Court of Canada will be webcast live unless the case is subject to a publication ban. The Court will maintain an archive of webcasts on the website here (http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/information/cms-sgd/webcast-webdiffusion-eng.asp). Webcasts of Supreme Court of Canada proceedings may not be broadcast, rebroadcast, transmitted, reproduced, communicated to the public by telecommunication, or otherwise made available in whole or in part in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, or stored in whole or in part in any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written authorization of the Supreme Court of Canada. Requests for permission to use a Supreme Court of Canada webcast must be submitted online here (http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/contact/photo-video-eng.asp).

C. Closing

For full details regarding these developments, please consult the Court’s new access policy online at http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/court-cour/rec-doc/pol-eng.asp.