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Policy Regarding Access to Digital Audio Recordings

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1. Application
This Policy applies to all proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice. This Policy is subject to any order by the presiding judicial officer.

2. Access to Digital Audio Recordings

a) Copies of digital audio recordings will be provided, with a court order and upon completion of the appropriate court request form and undertaking and payment of any regulated copy fee, to the following:

  • Self-represented parties
  • Media not on the Joint Courts’ List of Designated Media for Access to Digital Court Recordings posted on the Ontario Courts’ website at www.ontariocourts.ca/en/media-list.htm.
  • Authorized agents representing parties who are not licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Members of the public

The court order must be sought from the presiding judicial officer or, in his or her absence, the regional senior judge/regional senior justice of the peace or the local administrative judge/local administrative justice of the peace, or their designate.

b) Copies of digital audio recordings will be provided, upon completion of the appropriate court request form and undertaking and payment of any regulated copy fee, to the following: 

  • Legal counsel or paralegals licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada, other than in proceedings governed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act and only for those proceedings in which they are acting for one of the parties
  • Legal counsel of record authorized to have access to records in proceedings governed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act
  • Municipal, provincial and federal prosecutors for those proceedings in which they are acting for one of the parties
  • Media on the Joint Courts’ List of Designated Media for Access to Digital Court Recordings posted on the Ontario Courts’ website at www.ontariocourts.ca/en/media-list.htm
  • Administration of justice officers or agencies authorized by Memorandum of Understanding or legislation to have access to transcripts or digital audio recordings of court proceedings. Such access is restricted to those court proceedings that relate directly to the matter under consideration by these agencies.

Persons attending on behalf of any of the above may obtain the digital audio recording upon providing the appropriate court request form, signed undertaking, applicable fee, and signed authorization court form.

c) Copies of digital audio court recordings will be provided, upon request and at no charge, to the following:

  • Court Services Division staff who require access in the course of their employment responsibilities
  • Transcriptionists who are authorized under the Evidence Act who require access to transcribe court proceedings and who have signed an “Undertaking of Authorized Court Transcriptionist for Access to Audio Court Recordings”
  • Authorized representatives of the Ontario Judicial Council and the Justices of the Peace Review Council for the purpose of investigating a complaint against a judge, justice of the peace or other judicial officer
  • The presiding judicial officer
  • A judge presiding at an appeal under the Provincial Offences Act
  • The regional senior judge/regional senior justice of the peace, who will advise the presiding judicial officer that access or copies of the digital audio recording were made available to them. The regional senior judge/regional senior justice of the peace will consult with an Associate Chief Justice prior to requesting access to the digital audio recording.

3 Restrictions on Access to Digital Audio Recordings

a) Unless a judicial officer orders otherwise, there is no access to digital audio recordings of the following:

  • In camera proceedings or any portion of a proceeding that is heard in camera
  • Proceedings that are private or closed pursuant to common law, statute or court order
  • Proceedings subject to a statutory, common law or court ordered restriction on the provision of court records, transcripts or recordings of the proceedings
  • Case, settlement and trial management conferences.

b) Sealing order:

  • Where any digital audio recording is of a proceeding where there is a sealing order, no access shall be provided to any person other than the presiding judicial officer, the Ontario Judicial Council or the Justices of the Peace Review Council, without a court order of the judicial officer making the sealing order or an appellate reviewing court.

4. Publication Bans and Other Restrictions

Anyone receiving a digital audio recording pursuant to this Policy is responsible to identify and comply with any publication bans, sealing orders, or other restrictions imposed by statute or by court order.

5. Joint Courts’ List of Designated Media for Access to Digital Court Recordings

Media queries relating to the Joint Courts’ List of Designated Media for Access to Digital Court Recordings should be directed to the Communications Officer of the Ontario Court of Justice at OCJCommunicationsOfficer@ontario.ca.

Undertaking of Counsel/Licensed Paralegal of Record to the Court for Access to Digital Court Recordings/Request Form: Word, PDF

Undertaking to the Court for Access to Digital Court Recordings/Request Form: Word, PDF 

Effective: September 2015