Comments invited from lawyers

Should family law cases be removed from the internet?

The Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court has advised the Law Society that the Court may discontinue publication of family law cases on the superior courts website. The Court has postponed a final decision on this issue to July to allow for consultation.

The Chief Justice notes the Court's view that family law judgments ought not to be published on the superior courts website because of the ease with which members of the public can search out and review such judgments, coupled with the sensitive nature of the subject matter and the findings of fact that judges are required to make in family cases.

The Chief Justice says that the Court has experienced a relatively steady stream of complaints about family law cases on the internet site. As an example, the school acquaintances of children whose families are involved in family litigation have searched the site and obtained particulars.

It is the intention of the Court that judgments would continue to be available to the profession and to in-person litigants at court registries, through conventional publishers, both in paper and electronic form, and through the Continuing Legal Education Society.

To assist the Court in its consultation, the Law Society invites lawyers to comment on this proposed change and how it may impact on the profession or the public. If you have views, please relay them by June 3 to:

Peter J. Keighley, QC, Bencher
Law Society of British Columbia
845 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 4Z9
Email: pkeighley@rosborough.com.