Case Report – Search warrant indexing challenge to proceed without Attorney General as respondent

On July 27th, Moir J. of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court issued a preliminary ruling in a novel Canadian Broadcasting Corporation application in which it is seeking an order requiring the Nova Scotia Provincial Court to index its search warrants based on the open courts principle and the Charter.

In his preliminary ruling, Moir J. held that the Attorney General, as a representative of the executive branch of government, was not a proper respondent because the executive cannot control the judiciary’s records. Though acknowledging that the application “seems to concern a clerical, or mechanical, function,” he held that the matter, in its essence, concerns the sufficiency of access to records in order to satisfy the open courts principle. Moir J. held that the application can continue with the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court as a respondent and the Attorney General, as financial supporter of the judiciary, as an affected party.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General), 2010 NSSC 295 (CanLII)