The Facebook bullying case and the threat to Canada’s open courts

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Dartmouth, NS — Most Canadians understand the value of open and transparent justice. Our fundamental laws recognize the right of citizens to know what goes on in the courts. Open courts counterbalance the powers of the state and promote judicial fairness.

In fact, the principle of judicial openness is so central to the Canadian idea of democracy that it is only rarely opposed. Anyone trying to frustrate that principle better have good reasons.

Rare cases involving terrorism or national security, for instance, might merit limiting the public’s right to know. But those cases are the exception and invariably involve criminal charges.

But a matter now before the Supreme Court of Canada flies in the face of the principle of open courts. The case isn’t about national security or terrorism, it’s not even a criminal matter. It’s all about whether you can hide your identity in a civil lawsuit.

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