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New Court Information Access Guide for Alberta

May 6, 2022

The Court of Appeal of Alberta, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, and Provincial Court of Alberta, have released a new Court Information Access Guide for Alberta.

The CIAGA replaces the former Alberta Courts Public and Media Access Guide and applies to all proceedings in the Alberta courts. Lawyers, members of the public, and media wanting to access court information should familiarize themselves with the new CIAGA.

The CIAGA covers access to court proceedings, information, documents and exhibits by members of the public, including the media, and describes some of the applicable privacy restrictions. It does not deal with access to court administration records under the custody or control of a public body, which is governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). The CIAGA is a practical resource and is not a substitute for legal advice and research.

The Guide updates the applicable legislation, case law and procedures. With an increase in public and media requests to access court file information, the Guide provides more comprehensive guidance for making and processing these requests. Some of the notable changes to search procedures include:

  • Copies of paper documents may be made using a smartphone or portable scanner, eliminating page fees. A $10 search fee still applies to retrieve and view the file.
  • Copies of court audio files may be obtained by submitting an Undertaking and receiving court approval. This Policy does not apply to the Court of Appeal.
  • Queen’s Bench civil and family search requests are through an online search portal. Pre-payment must be made through the website by credit card and Interac.
  • Court of Appeal and Provincial Court search requests and payment continues to be made at the specific court location using the search request form.