Oct 19, 2020

Courts and tribunals operate from the default position that their proceedings are open to the public and the information revealed during the hearing is also public. Restrictions on access to that information require evidence that they are necessary to prevent a serious risk to an important public interest.

Rhyno v Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, 2019 NSCA 67, http://canlii.ca/t/j1r3b gave guidance as to when this test is likely to be met:

1. The identities of clients of the practitioner will often be protected because the professional confidentiality requirements create an expectation of privacy of that information and because disclosure may discourage clients from coming forward to the regulator.

2. The identities of third parties involved in the events will ordinarily not be protected because there is no expectation of privacy.

3. The medical information of the practitioner may be protected from disclosure because it is inherently personal and private.

This decision provides some guidance to regulators as well.