La Cyber Diffusion Des Documents De La Cour: Dans La Quête D’Un Juste Équilibre Pour Assurer L’Accès À La Justice Dans L’Ère Numérique ('Purposively' Posting Court Documents Online: Striking a Balance with an Eye Towards Protecting Access to Justice in the Digital Age Post Ab v Bragg)

In Peter Oliver and Graham Mayeda (eds.), Principles and Pragmatism: Essays in Honour of Louise Charron (LexisNexis, 2014) Forthcoming.

Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2013-12

21 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2013

See all articles by Karen Eltis

Karen Eltis

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law; Affiliate- CITP Princeton

Date Written: December 5, 2013

Abstract

French Abstract: Comment favoriser la transparence tout en respectant la vie privée des parties concernées? L’arrivée des cyber technologies ravive intensément la problématique. Faut-il encore reconnaître que face à une revendication accrue de transparence s’érigent les devoirs de l’organe judiciaire de protéger les justiciables, de maintenir le contrôle sur leurs documents et surtout de favoriser l’accès à la justice. La décision de la Cour suprême dans A.B. c Bragg représente un premier pas vers une nouvelle conception de la protection de la vie privée en matière de justice. Il s’agit donc d’une opportunité cruciale pour repenser la protection de la vie privée en justice dans l’ère digitale, pour en faire un allié de l’accès. La présente s’attarde sur les prochaines étapes à considérer suite à l’évolution jurisprudentielle que déclenche A.B c. Bragg, à la lumière d’un aperçu comparatiste. Ce survol laisse à croire que seuls les renseignements qui se rapportent à la finalité de la publication, qui sont significatifs (« meaningful data ») pour l’information du public selon la rationalité sous-jacente de la publicité des audiences se prêtent à la cyber diffusion. Cela implique nécessairement un tri contextuel d’informations afin d’éliminer les données personnelles superflues, qui rajoutent très peu à la transparence mais mettent en danger l’accès à la justice dans les circonstances.

English Abstract: Despite technology's sweeping impact, its specific effect on the judiciary, litigants and their respective obligations have been the object of surprisingly little scrutiny. The “Digital Age”, providing unfettered, indiscriminate and often decontextualized access to information, arguably thrusts courts into an unfamiliar role – that of publisher (rather than custodian) of sensitive data and will in turn have untold effects on the delicate balance between privacy and the traditional “open court” principle. Technology – as well as the dramatically increased availability of information of all kinds and quality – is distorting the judicial process and its outcomes. It is of primary importance, therefore, to identify the broad issues that emerge from the growing judicial use of technology, and to provide a theoretical basis for adjudicating the ongoing tension between privacy and transparency in the justice setting. The contrast between the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent landmark decision (2012) in A.B. v. Bragg recognizing the relationship between protecting litigant privacy and access to justice is an important starting point. Accordingly, this paper investigates the ‘next steps’ to be considered as a logical outgrowth of the Bragg decision, inspired by comparative inquiry. It argues that a contextualized understanding of privacy, which recreates some of the ‘bricks and mortar’ safeguards historically associated with court documents, is desirable. Thus, for instance, releasing only "meaningful data" online following a qualitative triage aimed at holding back superfluous (however potentially harmful) sensitive information, not rationally connected to the underlying rationale of the open court principle- in light of the vicissitudes of the networked environment. For, if we rethink privacy within the cyber context, it can be considered an ally of access to justice and construed as part of courts’ “supervisory and protecting power over [their] own records” and duty to maintain access to justice and prevent disinformation.

Note: Downloadable document is in French.

Keywords: privacy, law and technology, access to justice, availability of court documents online

Suggested Citation

Eltis, Karen, La Cyber Diffusion Des Documents De La Cour: Dans La Quête D’Un Juste Équilibre Pour Assurer L’Accès À La Justice Dans L’Ère Numérique ('Purposively' Posting Court Documents Online: Striking a Balance with an Eye Towards Protecting Access to Justice in the Digital Age Post Ab v Bragg) (December 5, 2013). In Peter Oliver and Graham Mayeda (eds.), Principles and Pragmatism: Essays in Honour of Louise Charron (LexisNexis, 2014) Forthcoming.; Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2013-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2364139

Karen Eltis (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law; Affiliate- CITP Princeton ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Dr
Ottawa
Canada

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
63
Abstract Views
590
rank
361,431
PlumX Metrics