Guidelines on Public and Media
The Open Court PrincipleThe general rule in Canada is that court hearings are open to the public. Every court in Canada has significant statutory or inherent powers to ensure that its proceedings are conducted fairly and to protect the integrity of the court’s process, which includes the power to provide guidelines for public and media access to court proceedings.
On Court premises, members of the public and media are requested to go about their business, bearing in mind the safety and dignity of all people involved in the proceedings.
Access to Federal Court of Appeal HearingsThe Federal Court of Appeal is an itinerant court and sits in various cities across the country to best accommodate the needs of the parties. Court hearings are open to the public unless, for special reasons, the Court directs that the hearing be held in private. The schedule of Federal Court of Appeal hearings is available at the following link: http://cas-cdc-www02.cas-satj.gc.ca/portal/page/portal/fca-caf_eng/hearings-auditions_eng
Seating space in the courtroom is limited. Where interest in a proceeding is such that there is not enough seating space for all those who wish to attend, Court staff may have to limit the number of persons who enter the courtroom. The public is not allowed to remain standing during a proceeding.
Use of Electronic Devices in the Courtroom
The use of electronic devices in the courtroom is permitted, provided the devices are used in “silent” or ‘vibration” mode so as not to affect the decorum, the good order and the course of the proceedings.
Accredited members of the media may record proceedings to verify their notes of what was said and done in Court, but not for broadcast. Media accreditation should be prominently displayed.
It is not permitted to make or receive phone calls in the courtroom.
It is not permitted to broadcast or to send text messages, observations, information, notes, photos, or audio and video recording from the courtroom to the outside.
Media Coverage of Court Proceedings
Media coverage of proceedings with audio-visual equipment is only permitted in accordance with the following guidelines:
- A media request to cover a specific proceeding must be made sufficiently in advance to allow for necessary permissions to be obtained.
- A decision as to whether to allow media coverage will be made by the Chief Justice, after consultation with the panel of judges hearing the particular case, as well as with the parties.
- The Chief Justice or panel of judges hearing the proceeding may limit or terminate media coverage to protect the rights of the parties; to assure the orderly conduct of the proceedings; or for any other reason considered necessary or appropriate in the interest of the administration of justice.
- Nothing in these guidelines shall prevent the Chief Justice from placing additional restrictions, or prohibiting altogether, media access to the Court's facilities.
- Only equipment which does not produce distracting sound or light shall be employed to cover proceedings.
- The Chief Justice or his designate may limit or circumscribe the placement or movement of the media personnel and their equipment.
For more information or to make a request for media coverage of court proceedings, please contact:
A/Executive Director and General Counsel
Federal Court of Appeal and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada
This contact information is for media enquiries only.
For information with respect to Federal Court of Appeal practice, procedure and forms, please contact the Registry Office.