Northeast Region: Notice to the Profession Regarding Case Center in Criminal Matters

June 17, 2021

Background on Case Center

  • The Ministry of the Attorney General (the Ministry), in collaboration with the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ), is introducing Case Center in criminal matters. Case Center is a cloud-based document sharing platform that supports remote and in-person court proceedings.
  • Case Center is part of the Ministry’s work to establish new and innovative ways of administering justice, including supporting new ways of conducting proceedings, increasing the number of remote proceedings, and moving more services online.
  • Case Center is a user-friendly, online service that allows:
    • Crown and defence counsel to share filed court documents of any size and file format prior to and during a specific court event;
    • Judicial officials and court staff to access materials for the event and send additional materials such as notices to counsel, orders or reasons for decision; and
    • Access 24/7 with or without VPN.
  • The Ministry and the SCJ piloted Case Center through selected civil, family, and criminal proceedings in the Toronto Region. Now, the platform is expanding to all areas of the Court’s business in the Northeast Region, including criminal matters.
  • Case Center does not replace Court filing. Crown and defence counsel must file materials with the court by email in advance in accordance with the applicable rules in the Criminal Proceedings Rules and Criminal Code and in accordance with the Court’s Practice Directions.

Case Center in Criminal Matters in the Northeast Region

  • As of April 4th, 2022, Case Center shall be used for all criminal matters except for those circumstances below.

Items that Should Not be Uploaded onto Case Center[2]

  • None of the following materials should be uploaded into Case Center:
  • Materials related to child pornography
  • Documents referring to a confidential informant
  • Unless specifically directed by the court to do otherwise:[3].
    • A sealed document
    • A document for which a sealing order is sought
    • A privileged document, or a document where privilege is being asserted
    • Any other document where counsel have concerns, until judicial direction is given.
  • After the initial judicial pre-trial using Case Center, it will be open for use at all subsequent proceedings (e.g. pleas/sentencing, motions/applications, or trial). If counsel have concerns about uploading any specific item, they should seek the direction of the Court. Counsel should ensure that this direction is placed on the record at the subsequent court appearance to be endorsed on the indictment or other written record by the Registrar.

Assisting Court office staff

  • Crown and defence counsel are to make every effort to assist the staff at the Criminal administration office in ensuring that Case Center invitations are sent. Crown and defence counsel should advise the Court office immediately in such situations where counsel receive an inadvertent invitation to upload materials to Case Center in a child pornography matter, or any matter where the judge has directed counsel not to use Case Center, or where counsel is aware the accused person is now unrepresented or has changed counsel.
  • In the event that no Case Center invitation is received and defence and/or Crown counsel become aware of a matter where Case Center should be used (e.g. a previously self-represented person has retained counsel), they should confer with each other and advise the Criminal administration office.

Access and Use of Case Center in Criminal

  • In criminal matters, Case Center access will be limited to the judiciary, court staff, lawyers, and their necessary staff requiring access.
  • Counsel are prohibited from inviting their clients/accused persons to access Case Center.
  • Counsel are required to make other arrangements to share documents, as appropriate, with their clients.[4]
  • No matters involving self-represented persons will use Case Center.

New Responsibilities for Crown and Defence Counsel, CSD staff

  • Case Center does not replace service and court filing. Crown and defence counsel must serve and file materials with the court by email in accordance with the applicable rules in the Criminal Proceedings Rules and Criminal Code and in accordance with the notices.[5]
  • Court Services Division must maintain the electronic file in the appropriate system that has been developed for maintaining the Court record.
  • Counsel must have a current email on file with the court. Counsel must ensure that their current email address is included on all court filings.
  • Parties must make Case Center a trusted sender by saving in their contacts list and regularly check their “junk folder” for emails from Case Center.
  • Upon receipt of an email from Case Center, which will be sent prior to the hearing, click the registration link to register. Counsel can also register in advance at by clicking on Register. It is recommended that counsel prepare for this by creating an account in Case Center in advance.
  • For judicial pre-trials, Crown and defence counsel are to upload their joint or respective judicial pretrial forms (Form 17)[6] and any other relevant documents for the pre-trial. Crown counsel will upload any relevant documents (e.g. committal package) and indictment.
  • If the Court provides any direction at a judicial pre-trial that a matter should not use Case Center in an upcoming pretrial motion, plea, or trial or any special instructions regarding whether certain documents can/cannot be uploaded onto Case Center, counsel is responsible for placing this information on the record so that the Registrar can endorse the record in writing.
  • Use the following document naming convention:
    • When documents are submitted to the court in electronic format, the document name must indicate the following information:
      • Document type
      • Type of party submitting the document
      • Name of the party submitting the document (including initials if the name is not unique to the case), and
      • Date on which the document was created or signed, in the format DDMMM-YYYY (e.g. 12-JAN-2021)
  • This simple, user-friendly document naming protocol will allow the judiciary to quickly and easily identify documents during virtual and in-person hearings. This direction has been incorporated into Part C of the Consolidated Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons, Public and the Media (
  • Do not upload the document into Case Center if requesting a sealing order for that document. Instead, please email the document to the Trial Coordination Office identifying the court file number, the hearing date (if assigned), and requesting that it be emailed to the judge because a sealing order will be sought.
  • If uploading documents that will require the in-court registrar to stamp as exhibits, please upload these documents individually as only one electronic exhibit stamp can be added per document.[7]
  • If other lawyers or their staff require access to the case in Case Center, counsel may invite them by selecting the “Invite New Participant” button found on the People’s tab on Case Center but accused persons, victims, witnesses, police are not to be invited.
  • It is recommended that counsel and their staff view one of the training tools that is available on the court’s website and review the Frequently Asked Questions About Case Center. These tools will help familiarize counsel and their staff with Case Center and understand how it can help with the materials during the hearing. More live training will be offered prior to the roll out of Case Center to additional regions.
  • If support to resolve technical issues is required, contact Thomson Reuter’s technical support at 1-800-290-9378 and select either “Case Center” or “Evidence Sharing” when you reach the directory, or email This support is available from 8 AM to 5 PM (Monday – Friday).
  • Suggestions for improvements to Case Center should be directed to the Office of the Chief Justice by emailing

In Court Use of Case Center

  • Case Center will enable Crown and defence counsel to electronically share documents with the judiciary in advance of the hearing. During the hearing Crown and defence counsel and the judge can view the document on the same electronic format.
  • In cases where the accused person needs to have access to the shared documents, defence counsel will be responsible for making arrangements for hard copies or make other arrangements.

Regional Senior Judge Ellies
Superior Court of Justice

[1] The Court Services Division office for criminal matters may also be referred to as the Court office or Administration office in some centres.

[2] While judicial pretrials do not generally involve the filing of exhibits or evidentiary materials, such items may be filed in the subsequent pre-trial motion, trial or sentencing.

[3] Although the hearing may use Case Center for all other documents, these specific documents will not be uploaded.

[4] In accordance with any undertakings given not to share copies of such materials as sexual assault interviews.

[5] Please refer to recent rule changes regarding filing in Part IX and X of the Provincial Practice Direction /Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules Regarding Criminal Proceedings, August 12, 2020

[6] Counsel should follow existing local practices regarding the filing of individual or joint (crown/defence) judicial pretrial forms.

[7] If a document is marked as an exhibit during the hearing, Registrars will download the document and retain it in the usual manner exhibits are retained for the court file.