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Use of Electronic Devices in Nova Scotia Courthouses

Devices Policy BrochureNOTE: The Courts of Nova Scotia are currently developing a policy on the transmission of information about proceedings from inside courtrooms.

IN THE INTERIM:

In the COURT OF APPEAL, the transmission of information about the proceeding from inside a courtroom by any means IS ALLOWED unless the presiding Justices say otherwise.

In the SUPREME AND PROVINCIAL COURTS, the transmission of information about the proceeding from inside a courtroom by any means IS NOT ALLOWED without the permission of the presiding Justice or Judge.

This change affects the Supreme and Provincial Courts' current policy on the use of electronic devices from inside courtrooms by prohibiting the “transmitting of text only on an electronic device” on an interim basis. The rest of the electronic devices policy remains in effect as it currently reads.

The Courts of Nova Scotia introduced their policy regarding the use of electronic devices in the Province's courthouses in 2006. It applies to all electronic devices (video and still cameras, laptop computers, personal digital assistants, cell phones, etc.) used by the general public, the media, legal professionals and anyone else entering the courthouses.

It incorporates the policy regarding the use of electronic devices in courtrooms (introduced in 2007) and expands on it with the addition of a new policy regarding the use of electronic devices inside the courthouse (in the public areas outside the courtrooms).

The policy is outlined below.

To view or print a policy brochure, click here: Electronic Devices Brochure

This brochure is available in all of Nova Scotia's courthouses.

To print the policy on plain letter-size paper, click here: Electronic Devices Policy

Inside the courthouse, outside the courtroom

Without permission of the court, no person shall use a device such as a video/still camera, cell phone, or audio recorder inside the courthouse to produce, record or transmit audio, video or still photographs.
Allowed

~ speaking on a cell phone
~ inputting text only on an electronic device
~ receiving text only on an electronic device
~ transmitting text only on an electronic device

Prohibited

~ taking pictures
~ recording video or audio
~ transmitting pictures, video, or audio

Exceptions

Members of the press and media may use audio recorders, still/video cameras, and other devices to produce, record, or transmit audio, video, or still photographs inside the courthouse but not in courtrooms, and only within designated media areas where these areas exist. In courthouses that require accreditation, this exception applies only to accredited members of the press and media.

These prohibitions do not apply to anyone during official ceremonies such as a swearing in and events such as law day mock trials and weddings held in the courthouse

 
Inside the courtroom

Without permission of the court, no person shall use an electronic device, such as a cell phone, computer or personal data assistant, in a courtroom:
~ to carry on a conversation while Court is in session,
~ to take photographs or record or produce a digital image,
~ to transmit an audio or video recording, or which interferes with the proceedings or the recording of them by the Court's systems by producing any noise, vibration, or electronic signal.

Allowed

~ keeping a cell phone on in vibrating mode only (but not answering it)
~ receiving text only, if it does not interfere with proceedings or the courtroom recording system
~ transmitting text only, if it does not interfere with proceedings or the courtroom recording system (UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE ..... TEXTING, TWEETING, AND E-MAILING is allowed by default in the COURT OF APPEAL --- IS NOT ALLOWED without permission in the SUPREME AND PROVINCIAL COURTS)

Prohibited

~ answering a phone call while Court is in session
~ making a phone call while Court is in session
~ taking pictures in a courtroom
~ recording video or audio in a courtroom
~ transmitting pictures, video, or audio in a courtroom
~ using an electronic device - or having one on - that disrupts what is going on in the courtroom in any way
~ using an electronic device - or having one on - that interferes with the courtroom recording system in any way

Exceptions

Members of the press and media may use audio recorders inside courtrooms to augment their note taking, but not for broadcast. In courthouses that require accreditation, this exception applies only to accredited members of the press and media.

These prohibitions do not apply
~ to official ceremonies such as a swearing in and events such as law day mock trials and weddings held in the courthouse
~ if an order of the Court has been obtained allowing the televising of proceedings of the Court of Appeal