Canadian court files should be kept off Internet, judicial committee says

[JURIST] A Canadian judicial advisory committee has recommended that detailed court filings should not be available for viewing via the Internet, despite the fact that they are considered "public documents." The committee, comprised of judges on the Canadian Judicial Council [official website], said that while they accept that court opinions and some case information may be found on the web, detailed filings such as pleadings, motions and affidavits should not. The guidelines also suggest that personal information, including phone numbers, addresses, and social security numbers, should be removed before court documents are publicized "to ensure the safety and security of those whose lives are exposed in legal proceedings." The policy drafted by the committee is not mandatory and individual courts can still decide what information they will allow to be disseminated on the web. In the meantime, courts in the US have been more willing to allow internet access; federal court documents can be downloaded through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) [official website] system. Thursday's Globe and Mail has more.

 

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