Media Advisory: Civil liberties watchdog at Supreme Court of Canada to argue for balancing open court principle with privacy rights

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What: BCCLA appearing at Supreme Court of Canada to intervene in case of Estate of Bernard and Honey Sherman v. Kevin Donovan to argue for balancing open court principle with protection of privacy

When: October 6, 2020, 9:30am ET / 6:30 am PT

Where: Supreme Court of Canada livestream on the Court’s website.

Ottawa – On October 6, 2020, the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) will appear before the Supreme Court of Canada as an intervener in Estate of Bernard and Honey Sherman v. Kevin Donovan. This case is an appeal by the family of murdered billionaires, Bernard and Honey Sherman, who are challenging a decision to unseal files regarding their private estate.

The case raises serious implications for both Canadians’ Charter-protected rights to privacy and the presumptive openness of court proceedings for public scrutiny. The BCCLA is intervening in the case to present a principled approach for balancing these competing interests.

BCCLA staff lawyer Megan Tweedie states: “Courts must presumptively be open but they must also have the tools to protect the privacy of individuals involved in judicial proceedings. In the age of the internet, deeply personal aspects of your life can be revealed to complete strangers through publicly accessible court databases. The BCCLA’s proposed approach maintains a strong presumption in favour of open court proceedings while recognizing that the public interest in protecting personal privacy may justify limiting the public disclosure of otherwise private information in an open court proceeding.”

The BCCLA is represented by Adam Goldenberg and Kathryn Gullason of McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

The BCCLA’s factum in this case can be found here.

Media Contacts:

Adam Goldenberg, Lawyer for the BCCLA: [email protected] or 416-601-8357

Megan Tweedie, BCCLA Senior Counsel: [email protected]