Access to Court Proceedings
Media access to in-person, video or teleconference court proceedings
While many proceedings are conducted in-person within the courthouses, several proceedings are being conducted by remote access (video and telephone). The Daily Court Lists provides information about case names, time, room number and reason for court appearances at the courthouse.
To request information for remote hearing access, including video and telephone hearings, please contact the relevant courthouse, either by email, using the subject line, “Hearing Access Request” and identifying the case you want to attend, or by phone. Please include your name in the request. Email contact information for Ontario Court of Justice courthouses is available here and phone numbers are available here.
If, as a member of the media, you wish to participate in a proceeding by video or teleconference, please note the following:
- Attendance and conditions of attendance remain subject to any judicial direction or order.
- Some proceedings are closed to the public by legislation or court order.
- The proceedings may be subject to one or more publication bans. It is the responsibility of members of the media who attend court proceedings to inform themselves of the existence of any publication bans and to ensure compliance with them. Breaching a publication ban can result in a criminal charge.
- It is an offence under section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act, and may constitute contempt of court, to record, photograph, publish or broadcast a court proceeding in any way, unless prior judicial authorization has been granted.
- Audio recording of proceedings is permitted by counsel, paralegals licensed by the Law Society of Ontario, court staff, members of the media, and litigants provided it is done solely for note-taking purposes and the presiding judicial officer has been advised before the recording commences.
- Audio recording of proceedings is also permitted by members of the public provided it is done solely for note-taking purposes and the express permission of the presiding judicial officer is first obtained. These audio recordings cannot be transmitted. The Court’s Protocol Regarding the Use of Electronic Communication Devices in Court Proceedings (see below) remains in effect.
- Please be prepared to join the remote court hearing at least 15 minutes before the scheduled appearance time to allow yourself time to address any technical problems and to minimize disruption.
- To minimize disruptions and to improve connection speed if you are joining a hearing by a smartphone or computer device, close unnecessary apps and windows on your device, especially video streaming. Turn off other devices in your vicinity and turn off notifications and alarms on the device you are using for the remote hearing. Unless directed by a judicial officer, please remain silent (Keep your microphone on mute) and hidden (with your camera turned off) during the proceedings.
For information about Ministry of the Attorney General policies or procedures, please call the Ministry’s media line at 416-326-2210. You may also email them at:
Protocol Regarding the Use of Electronic Communication Devices in Court Proceedings
The Protocol Regarding the Use of Electronic Communication Devices in Court Proceedings is founded on the “open courts” principle, which requires transparency and accountability in the judicial system to foster public confidence in the administration of justice. This Protocol applies to all court users and the media.
This Protocol applies to all persons attending or participating in a location where public court proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice before a judge or justice of the peace are being conducted or transmitted, except as noted below. The use of electronic communication devices should never interfere with court proceedings or the ability to have a fair trial.
Note: This Protocol does not apply to persons who require electronic communication devices (or services requiring the use of electronic communication devices) to accommodate a disability.
“Electronic communication devices” include all computers, personal electronic and digital devices, and mobile, cellular and smart phones.
“Judicial Officer” means a judge or justice of the peace of the Ontario Court of Justice.
(3) Use of Electronic Communication Devices in Court Proceedings
The use of electronic communication devices in silent or vibrate mode is permitted, except as follows:
- The presiding judicial officer orders otherwise.
- Legislation (e.g., the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017) or a court order restricts public attendance.
- No photos or videos may be taken unless there is a court order pursuant to section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act.
- Audio recording of proceedings is permitted by counsel, paralegals licensed by the Law Society of Ontario, court staff, members of the media, and litigants for note-taking purposes only but the presiding judge or justice of the peace must be advised before the recording is commenced.
- Members of the public are also permitted to make audio recordings for note-taking purposes only if the presiding judge or justice of the peace gives express permission. This permission must be obtained prior to making the audio recording. These audio recordings cannot be transmitted.
- Talking on electronic communication devices is not permitted while court is in session.
(4) Publication Bans and Other Restrictions
Anyone using an electronic communication device to transmit information has the responsibility to identify and comply with any publication bans, sealing orders, or other restrictions imposed by legislation or by court order.
(5) Judicial Orders
The presiding judge or justice of the peace has overriding responsibility to maintain courtroom decorum and to ensure that court proceedings are conducted in a manner consistent with the proper administration of justice.
In deciding whether to restrict the use of electronic communication devices, the presiding judge or justice of the peace may consider whether there is evidence regarding factors such as whether the use of electronic communication devices would:
- disrupt the court proceedings;
- interfere with the proper functioning of the court electronic equipment;
- interfere with witness testimony; or
- unreasonably infringe anyone’s privacy or security.
(6) Enforcement of the Use of Electronic Communication Devices
Anyone who uses an electronic communication device in a manner that the presiding judge or justice of the peace determines to be unacceptable may be ordered to:
- turn off the device;
- leave the device outside the courtroom;
- leave the courtroom; or
- abide by any other order the presiding judge or justice of the peace may make.