New ‘Communications Officer’ Position Created for the Alberta Courts to Increase Public and Media Access to the Courtroom

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Upon becoming the Chief Justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Justice Mary Moreau declared her goal of demystifying the court and developing “better public and media access” to the courtroom. True to her word, Justice Moreau has created the new role of ‘Communications Officer for the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the Court of Appeal of Alberta,’ which will initially exist as a three-month pilot project. Tony Blais has been appointed to this position after working as a court reporter for the past eighteen years.

The main role of this newly created job is to break down the barrier between the public and the court system and to increase public access and awareness. Blais explains in an interview with Global News that he believes many individuals in the public are interested in understanding what goes on in Alberta courts on a day to day basis, but because of work and other daytime commitments, most of the public is not kept abreast of important cases. His role as the ‘Communications Officer’ is to be “the eyes of the public” and “draw attention to the stories he thinks newsrooms should be aware of” and assist journalists in gaining “access to court exhibits.”

It is also hoped that the Alberta courts will use different forms of social media and potentially webcasts in the future to continue to pursue the goal of increasing public and media awareness of our courtrooms.