The Nova Scotia Courts are planning to launch a new public website on May 1, 2023.
The existing Courts website (www.courts.ns.ca) is almost 10 years old. This refresh modernizes the look and feel of the site by streamlining content and layout, thus improving navigation and accessibility for all users.
The refreshed site also improves security and ensures the site is adaptive for viewing on many types of devices, including smartphones and tablets.
“Websites are an important tool for the public to learn about the Courts and the legal system, but they also serve a very practical function in the administration of and access to justice and legal services,” said The Hon. Michael J. Wood, Chief Justice of Nova Scotia. “I think Nova Scotians will be impressed with how much easier it will be to find the information they need on this new site.”
The Executive Office of the Nova Scotia Judiciary began the process of refreshing the site in 2018, including surveying members of the Bar, the public and media on how they were using the current site. Information gathered through this engagement, as well as throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, helped inform how the new website was designed and built, with a greater focus on court users.
“The Courts of Nova Scotia website has always been a way for the Judiciary to promote the democratic principles of access to justice, transparency and accountability of the judicial process, and judicial independence,” said The Hon. Deborah K. Smith, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. “But more than that, the website must serve the needs of the people appearing before us in court. We heard that from court users and we listened.”
The public will now have more direct access from the home page of the website to court rules, forms, decisions, dockets, contact information, and webcasts of court proceedings, as well as a News feature and the Courts’ live Twitter feed.
Visitors can also navigate the new site through one of three personas: as a member of the public, including students, teachers, jurors and self-represented litigants; as members of the media; or as a legal professional. Each persona offers information and resources relevant to that specific group.
“The last few years have shone a light on the need to modernize the Courts in this country, including how we engage and communicate with the public,” said The Hon. Pamela S. Williams, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia. “This new website is a big step forward on both accounts, and will build on the momentum underway to digitally transform the Nova Scotia Courts.”
Counsel, court staff, and others should note that although the URL for the Courts website will remain the same, links to specific web pages and online resources will change on May 1, 2023. Organizations that link to material on the Courts website are encouraged to update their links after the new site is live. Individuals will also need to update any personal bookmarks associated with the Courts website. Redirects will be available for a short period for the most commonly visited pages.
Please note that the new website will include news and court notices from Jan. 1, 2020, and later. News and court notices from before Jan. 1, 2020, have been archived and are available by request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Counsel and other individuals who use the Courts’ online system for notifying media of applications for publication bans are advised that this process will change with the new website. A separate notice outlining the revised process will be available soon.