Ministry of Justice

Access to Court Files

The court file forms the public record of legal proceedings. It is accessible to anyone who pays the search fee at the court registry where the file is kept. Someone interested in "closing" or "sealing" court proceedings in which they were involved must explain to a justice or judge why the records should not be available to the public.

However, access is restricted if the case involves the following acts:

  • Divorce Act;
  • Family Relations Act;
  • Child, Family and Community Service Act;
  • Family Maintenance Enforcement Act.

Under the Adoption Act, the confidentiality of court files is protected by only allowing a search of files by order of the court or at the request of the director of adoptions.

In cases under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada) and the Young Offenders (British Columbia) Act, there is a general ban on the publication of any information that could identify a young person's charge or crime.

For further information regarding access to court records, see the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal policies.