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This guide is the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Court Services Division Policies and Procedures on Public Access to Court Files, Documents and Exhibits. The guide is being posted on the Ministry’s website in order to enhance public access to court proceedings, information and documents. This guide was first compiled and provided to Ministry court staff in January 2006 as part of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to ensure that there is consistent application of these procedures across the province. Policies regarding access to court files, documents and exhibits are periodically reviewed and updated, subject to the direction of the judiciary. For example the Ministry recently clarified its policy in section 2.7 on access to criminal court documents. Effective December 19, 2013 all court documents that are not subject to the access restrictions described in the document are publicly available. Court staff will attempt to assist a member of the public in accessing publicly available court documents, even if the requester does not have specific details about the matter (such as the offence date, conviction date, or location where the proceedings took place).
The material provided here is the same as the material on public access to court documents provided to court staff. In some instances terms or language may be technical. A glossary of legal terms in this document is available on the Ministry website at ontario.ca/legalterms.