All courts should work openly and publicly so that their decisions are available for public scrutiny.

This means that the court should not hold hearings and adopt judgements in secret, ensuring that the work of the court is open and visible to the public. 

Right to a public hearing

Your right to a public hearing, in at least one instance, involves:

1. A right to hold a public oral hearing.

The right to an oral hearing generally applies to at least one instance in the proceedings. The requirement to hold a public hearing is applicable to the court of appeal only if it decides to hold an oral hearing. Read more about an oral hearing and the cases where the court of appeal can decide not to have it.

2. A right to a public pronouncement of the judgement.

Judgements must be available to the public in all instances. The public pronouncement of a judgement does not mean that each judgement must be announced in a courtroom with members of the public present. A judgement will be considered to have been pronounced publicly if it is available to the public, for example, through a special website. 

Depending on the circumstances of the case, certain parts of the judgement, such as the personal details of protected witnesses or other confidential information may be concealed. The courts cannot conceal the entire judgement. The pronouncement of guilt or innocence, and the sentence, must definitely be made public. 


Hearings in your trial must generally be public, which also means that members of the public and the press are allowed to be present in the courtroom. However, they may be denied access to the hearings during the entire trial, or some particular sessions, if there are special reasons for this. 


Last updated 05/05/2019