TO: Parties and Members of the Legal Profession
FROM: The Honourable Marc Noël, Chief Justice
DATE: December 21, 2016
RE: Access to Digital Audio Recordings of Federal Court of Appeal Proceedings
As of January 9, 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal will create and keep an audio recording of all hearings using a digital audio recording system (DARS). This does not apply to hearings by teleconference, which may be recorded in the Court’s discretion.
Copies of the audio recording of a proceeding will be made available to the parties upon request. Media organizations and members of the public will be authorized, upon request, to listen to an audio recording, if they were entitled to be present in the courtroom for that proceeding. A court order is required before media organizations and members of the public are able to obtain a copy of an audio recording.
In the case of oral reasons for judgment, the reasons will be redacted from the audio recording.
Where there are access restrictions applicable during the hearing (e.g., as a result of a confidentiality Order), the protected information will, where practicable, be redacted from the audio recording so as to allow for access. The audio recording will not be released if it is impracticable to redact the protected information.
Exceptionally, there may also be situations where protected communications (e.g., between solicitor and client) are inadvertently recorded. Parties and their legal counsel should exercise prudence when such discussions close to the hearing room microphones, which are sensitive. Any concerns with respect to a recording should be brought as soon as possible to the attention of the Court.