Law

Apr 24, 2013 - Posted by Tamara Baluja
Jan 31, 2012 - Posted by Dean Jobb

There is a serious and troubling disconnect between the principle of open justice and the reality on the ground. Dean Jobb explains that in many jurisdictions, the bureaucrats who oversee court clerks and registrar’s offices have a habit of devising rules and policies that block access to court filings – policies that have little or no basis in law and make a mockery of Supreme Court of Canada precedents.

Jan 25, 2012 - Posted by Dean Jobb

The Ontario Court of Appeal has struck down a sweeping ban on publishing details of the divorce proceedings of convicted murderer Col. Russell Williams, confirming that “emotional distress and embarrassment” are insufficient grounds for supressing information about court cases. The ban was lifted on Feb. 7.

Oct 30, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

A Toronto Star investigation into the city’s busy youth court met with resistance from judges and prosecutors, arbitrary publication bans and attempts to block access to the basic records the media needs to cover the justice system. In the words of reporter David Bruser, the paper had to fight to lift the “institutional shroud covering the often-disturbing details of youth crimes from public view.”Read the Star’s Oct. 29 report: “A Secret Court.”

 

Oct 14, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

An Ontario judge has found no grounds for preventing the media from reporting that one of three people accused of murder has pleaded guilty, even though the co-accused will stand trial soon. And another judge of the province’s Superior Court has refused to seal documents filed in a civil case despite a claim they reveal trade secrets.

Mar 04, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

Feb. 28, 2011 -- Under new rules that came into effect today, British Columbia's courts will no longer block access to the court file in cases where a publication ban is in place. Previously, journalists and citizens were barred from reviewing documents filed in sexual assault and other cases, even though other provinces permit access. The new rules also clarify that reporters and members of the public have the right to see search warrant documents unless a judge has ordered the file to be sealed.

The changes come after the Victoria Times-Colonist published a series last year that exposed how outdated policies were hindering access to the province's justice system. Read the Postmedia News story on the changes.

Feb 11, 2010 - Posted by Dean Jobb
News
British Columbia’s attorney general promises sweeping changes to make the province’s courts more open in the wake of a Victoria Times Colonist investigation that exposed inconsistent access practices at courthouse registries. Mike de Jong says an outdated policy that authorizes clerks to withhold an entire file when a publication ban protects a name or other information will be scrapped and new access rules will have a “presumption in favour of releasing information.” Read the Times Colonist report.
Feb 09, 2010 - Posted by Dean Jobb
News
The Victoria Times Colonist has published a four-day series exposing glaring inconsistencies in public access to court records at British Columbia courthouses. Some court officials cited a legally flawed, 16-year-old policy similar to one discredited and abandoned in Ontario last year that allows them to withhold files if there is a publication ban on a name or other information. Times Colonist reporters also had difficulty locating and obtaining records of completed police searches. Read the first days stories, with links to follow up articles and editorial comment.
Commentary: "Justice can't exist hidden behind secrecy"

Feb 04, 2010 - Posted by Deborah Jones
The government of British Columbia breaks its own law on meeting freedom of information requests nearly half the time, reports a legal study on freedom of information. Or, in the words of a newspaper headline, the province is accused of "rampant censorship" ....
Nov 17, 2009 - Posted by Regan Ray
A group of news organizations including the Toronto Star, CBC, Associated Press and CTV have asked the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down a law that makes publication bans on bail hearings mandatory if requested. According to...
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