Access Denied? Inconsistent Jurisprudence on the Open Court Principle and Media Access to Exhibits in Canadian Criminal Cases

  • Dana Adams BJ (Hons) (Carleton), LLB (with Distinction) (Alberta).


The open court principle is a central tenet of the Canadian justice system. However, in cases involving media access to exhibits entered in court, the courts have been neither clear nor consistent in their interpretation and application of the open court principle. This article discusses the historical development of the open court principle and the definition of an “open court” today. The author proposes that the Supreme Court of Canada should clarify that the open court principle extends to access to exhibits and re-articulate the Dagenais/Mentuck test in order to resolve the inconsistencies regarding the open court principle.