On September 9, 2016, the B.C. Supreme Court issued the first decision to consider the court's new
practice directive concerning the often contentious question of
whether to permit a trial to be recorded for broadcasting.
In British Columbia, like other provinces in Canada, trials and
other court proceedings are not typically recorded for the purpose
of media broadcasts. In contrast to the American experience, the
public cannot watch even high profile civil or criminal trials on
television. An exception is the broadcasting of proceedings before
the Supreme Court of Canada, which are typically
In 2015, the B.C. Supreme Court issued Practice Direction 48 (the "PD-48"),
which describes the procedure for applications for authorization to
video record or broadcast court proceedings. PD-48 states that
video recordings or broadcasts are prohibited unless authorized by
the court. It prescribes a form of notice of application to be used
by media organizations and requires that such an application be
filed not more than 90 days and not less than 14 days prior to the
start of the hearing. PD-48 provides that the argument in support
of the application must address (a) fair trial rights, (b) privacy
rights, (c) witnesses who will testify, and (d) the court and the
administration of justice. PD-48 also addresses other matters, such
as the physical criteria for recording equipment personnel,
specific restrictions on what may be recorded, and a mandatory
delay in broadcasting.
In Cambie Surgeries Corporation v. British Columbia (Medical
Services Commission), 2016 BCSC 1686, Justice Steeves considered the
first application brought under PD-48. The applicant, Pacific
Newspaper Group, sought to set up a daily feed to host recordings
of all proceedings in the trial for the purpose of recording or
broadcasting. The underlying case has attracted immense public
interest because it involves a constitutional challenge to BC's
ban on private health care for medically necessary services covered
by the public health system.
Justice Steeves dismissed the application, and his reasons for
doing so give some helpful guidance for those bringing future
applications on behalf of the media. His decision demonstrates the
The application must be brought in a
timely way. Steeves J. made clear at several points in his decision
that the 14-day deadline imposed by PD-48 must be respected.
The court will ensure that any order
made under PD-48 presents a fair and objective portrayal of the
proceedings. He rejected an earlier attempt to have the application
heard because of concerns with "an issue of objectivity"
in the initial materials. He dismissed the application to broadcast
the opening statements because the plaintiff had already completed
its opening, and it would not be balanced if the public saw only
the opening statement of the defendants.
The court will be sensitive to the
privacy interests of parties and witnesses. Steeves J. dismissed
the application to record testimony in the trial because
individuals will be testifying about "very personal
matters" regarding their health, their medical histories and
issues of diagnosis and treatment. The application to record expert
evidence on historical and policy matters was also dismissed
because the cross-examination of those experts may involve putting
individual cases to them.
Justice Steeves adjourned the application to record the closing
submissions because the court would not hear those submissions for
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).