Reserved Seating Policy and Procedure


The Supreme Court of Canada ("SCC") has adopted a policy to allow counsel to reserve seating in the public gallery of the SCC courtroom for their client, a party to an appeal before the Court. This policy and attached procedure allows counsel to request reserved seats in advance of the hearing for their client(s), accompanying person and agent. This ensures, to the extent possible, that a person is able to keep the reserved seat throughout the hearing, and assists SCC Registry staff and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ("RCMP") Officer stationed in front of the Courtroom in managing attendance, especially in cases where there is a high level of public interest.

In select cases, it may be necessary to limit the number of seating passes. As such, the Registrar reserves the right to limit or not issue reserved seating passes. The Registry and RCMP Officers may revoke reserved seating privileges to individuals as circumstances warrant.

Reserved seating procedure

1 Obtaining Reserved Seating

1.1 A counsel for a party before the Court may obtain two reserved seating passes for their client by submitting their request via the Notice of Appearance.  Counsel must provide the name of each individual for which a seat is being requested.  The morning of the hearing, counsel will receive their passes once they have completed the check-in process with the Registry.

1.2 If a counsel for a party before the Court wishes to obtain more than two reserved seating passes, that counsel must write to the Registrar to request the additional number of passes no later than two weeks before the scheduled hearing date of the appeal.  A Registry team member will contact counsel at least one week before the hearing to advise whether the request is approved.

1.3 Counsel for a party shall distribute the reserved seating passes to their client(s), accompanying person or agent, and guests in the Grand Hall up to 30 minutes prior to the hearing start time. For counsel appearing before the Court virtually, a Registry staff member will distribute the passes to the client(s). 

1.4 Building access passes to attend 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.

1.5 All client(s), accompanying person or agent, and guests who will be in attendance at the hearing must enter the SCC building via the main entrance. Only counsel named on the Notice of Appearance will enter via the building’s East entrance.

2 Seating in the Courtroom

2.1 The doors to the Courtroom are opened approximately 20 minutes prior to the start of a hearing both for persons with reserved seating passes and for the general public.

2.2 A person with a reserved seating pass is required to show that pass to the Commissionaire stationed at the Courtroom entrance, and keep their reserved seating pass throughout the hearing.

2.3 If the reserved seats are not taken 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the hearing in the morning or the afternoon, or 10 minutes after an interruption from a break, the seats will be given to the general public. This 10 minute rule also applies if a person with a reserved seating pass leaves the courtroom during the hearing.

2.4 A person who has left the courtroom must show the reserved seating pass to the Commissionaire stationed at the Courtroom entrance when they wish to re-enter the courtroom.

For information on this policy and procedure, please contact:

Registry Branch