In CBC v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 SCC 2, the Supreme Court of Canada said:
The open court principle is of crucial importance in a democratic society. It ensures that citizens have access to the courts and can, as a result, comment on how the courts operate and on proceedings that take place in them. Public access to the courts also guarantees the integrity of judicial processes inasmuch as the transparency that flows from access ensures that justice is rendered in a manner that is not arbitrary, but is in accordance with the rule of law.
Because few members of the public are able to attend court in person, members of the media play an important role in our democratic system by informing the public about what takes place in court.
The following information is offered by the Provincial Court of B.C. to assist the media to perform that role.
- Public and Media Access Policies - The Principles of Openness
- Access to Court Proceedings (includes conduct, cameras, televising, computers, reasons for judgment, interviews)
- Access to Court Records (who has access to which types of court records)
- Bans on Publication (provides overview and lists of some automatic and discretionary bans)
- Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms (use of any device capable of transmitting and/or recording data or audio)
- BC Provincial Court Locations and Hours
Journalists wishing to obtain B.C. Courts’ accreditation should see the Media Accreditation Policy.
For written or high profile oral judgments see Judgments & Decisions. To receive an RSS feed of all B.C. Provincial Court decisions posted on the Canadian Legal Information Institute database (CanLII), use the URL: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcpc/rss_new.xml.
For reports on judicial interim release matters dealt with by the Justice Centre during the preceding day (subject to the conditions outlined at this linked page) see Justice Centre Daily Judicial Interim Release Results.
If you wish to obtain a transcript of court proceedings, contact the court registry where the hearing was held. They can provide contact information for the company or individual who prepares transcripts for that registry. To order a transcript you will need to know the court location, date and file number.
Information on publications bans, contempt, defamation, and factors to consider when making decisions about what to report can be found in the Canadian Judicial Council publication
The Canadian Judicial System and the Media. Because it is a 2010 publication, references to particular statute sections and court decisions will need to be updated, but the overview the document provides may be useful.
The Provincial Court has partnered with journalists to offer an education programme for journalism students at B.C. colleges and universities. A judge and journalist visit classes to discuss the court system and the rule of law from both perspectives. The written materials prepared for this programme are available at Journalism Students Education Programme.
Please contact the Legal Officer, Provincial Court of B.C., with media enquiries at 604-660-2864, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your enquiry and indicate any deadline you may have.