Supreme Court of Canada and Library and Archives Canada sign agreement on transfer, preservation and access to case files

For immediate release

Ottawa, Ontario, June 9, 2017 — Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) are pleased to announce an agreement that will ensure that the case files of Canada’s highest court will be preserved and accessible to future generations.

Under the agreement, the SCC will transfer ownership to LAC of its case files older than 50 years. This will bring many historical SCC case files under LAC’s control, where they can be preserved and used for research purposes.

Among the cases covered by the agreement are:

  • Roncarelli v. Duplessis, a landmark 1959 ruling on the rule of law involving the Premier of Quebec;
  • the Margarine Reference which outlined the proper exercise of the criminal law power under the Canadian Constitution; and
  • several matters decided in the aftermath of the enactment of the Canadian Bill of Rights in August 1960.

The LAC-SCC agreement also means that certain categories of the Court’s judicial information, such as the Collegial files of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, will become accessible to the public 50 years after a case file has been closed, thereby providing insights into the inner deliberations of the Court. 

The SCC will continue to control its active case files and closed files until 50 years after a judgment has been rendered. 


“On behalf of the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada, I am very proud of this important milestone in the preservation of the Court’s historical records. I wish to thank all who played a role in this matter for their untiring efforts to arrive at this important agreement which will add to our country’s institutional memory.”

Roger Bilodeau, Q.C., Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada

“Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is very pleased to be adding an important part of the country’s judicial and legal history to its collection. The Supreme Court of Canada has played a key role in making Canada the just and equitable society that we all enjoy today, and it is with much pride that LAC will help preserve and share that legacy.  ”

Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

For more information, please contact:

Gib van Ert
Executive Legal Officer
Supreme Court of Canada

Richard Provencher
Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada

About the Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada's final court of appeal. It serves Canadians by deciding legal issues of public importance, thereby contributing to the development of all branches of law applicable within Canada.

About Library and Archives Canada

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. Stay connected with Library and Archives Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.

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