Access to Court Materials
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 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 the LexUM team of the Centre de recherche en droit public at the University of Montreal. The collection available through LexUM goes back to 1985.
The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada has announced in a Notice to the Profession that its Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records takes effect on February 9, 2009.
With the introduction of this policy, the Court will provide more case information on its Web site. In addition to the schedules, docket information, party information and case summaries currently available, the Court will provide Webcasts of appeal hearings and will post appeal factums filed on or after February 9, 2009. For details see the latest news on the access to Supreme Court of Canada court records.
The Court holds copyright over almost all photographs of the Court and its judges that appear on its Web site and in its publications. Upon request, the Court will grant a limited licence to use its photographs, subject to conditions set out in an undertaking to be signed by the requestor. Anyone wishing to obtain a photograph and the right to use a photograph must fill an on-line Request to Use Supreme Court of Canada Photographs, Videos or Webcasts.
Note that certain appeals may be subject to a publication ban. If a request for a video recording is granted, it is the responsibility of the person or entity broadcasting the appeal to ensure that the publication ban is respected.