The Day of the Hearing
This section contains important information related to the day of the hearing that you will need to know about, namely the start and check-in times for the hearing, the time allotted for oral argument, the need to speak clearly, and the broadcasting of the hearing.
Hearings generally begin at 9:30 a.m. However, the Court frequently decides to start at 9:00 a.m. If it does so, you will be advised of this in advance.
Counsel for both the morning and afternoon hearings must check in with the Registry by 8:00 a.m. if the day's hearings start at 9:00 a.m., or by 8:30 a.m. if the hearings begin at 9:30 a.m. Enter the Supreme Court of Canada building through the East entrance. Please note that only counsel listed on the counsel sheet, along with an accompanying person or agent, may enter by the East Entrance on the day of the hearing. All other guests for which a request for reserved seating tickets was granted must enter by the main entrance of the Supreme Court of Canada Building. Please consult the Supreme Court of Canada “Reserved Seating Procedure”. The Registry may limit the number of accompanying persons or agents entering through the East Entrance so as to mitigate any crowding or security issues at the entrance and/or in the Courtroom prior to the hearing.
Also, please note that passes for access to the Registry which are obtained at the East entrance may not be used for the purpose of gaining access to the courtroom on hearing days.
Before the Hearing
Once you have checked in, you will be assigned a locker for your personal items in the Barrister's Robing Room. You will have access to the Courtroom one hour before the hearing in order to set up. You may also go to the Library, which is located on the third floor; a comfortable lounge and a private meeting room are available there for counsel to use on hearing days. The meeting room is equipped with a telephone and has wireless Internet access. Additional tables are available in Room A of the Library.
If you have reserved seating, counsel must claim the tickets from the Registry Office upon check-in and distribute them to their client(s), accompanying person or agent, and guest(s) in the Grand Hall up to 30 minutes prior to the hearing start time.
You are reminded to stay within your allotted time, which is generally one hour unless the Court orders or directs otherwise. The counsel sheet will set out how much time each party has for oral argument. No more than two counsel for each appellant or respondent and one counsel for each intervener can present oral argument, and if two counsel are doing so for any party, they must share the time allotted to that party (Rules 71(1) and 71(5)).
Note that for your assistance, the lectern is equipped with a digital clock. Five minutes before your allotted time is over, the clock will turn green. Two minutes and a half before your allotted time is over, the clock will turn yellow. Once your time is over, the clock will turn red.
Need to Speak Clearly
Simultaneous translation services are provided at all appeal hearings, and transcripts will be produced later from the audio recordings of the proceedings and placed on the Court file. We ask, therefore, that you speak slowly and loudly into the microphone to facilitate the oral translation and the transcription of the hearing.
Broadcasting and Webcasting of Appeals
Public proceedings at the Supreme Court of Canada are digitally recorded. The Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) televises and webcasts Supreme Court of Canada hearings. The Court also provides webcasts of all hearings provided that the digital recording of the appeal hearing is available and is not subject to any limitation on access by court order or law as set out in paragraph 3.2 of the Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records. See also the Notice to the Profession dated October 2013.
The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada authorizes the copying, use and distribution of the recorded proceedings for any use which the Office of the Registrar considers appropriate.
Note that when the Court is in session, no photographs can be taken. Counsel may take pictures after the hearing.
Other Useful Information
- Filing condensed books
- No parking is available for counsel at the Court on the day of the hearing.
- The Court is wheelchair accessible.
- The Court provides hearing assisted devices upon request, please contact the Registry Office at least 48 hours prior to the day of a hearing if this is required.
- A cafeteria is available for counsel; it is located next to the East entrance.
- Reserved seating Policy and Procedure
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