TORONTO - It will soon be easier to get court exhibits in Ontario as the province's judges and attorney general prepare to launch a new system.

Attorney General Chris Bentley told The Canadian Press that the government is in discussions with the judiciary to create a standard form members of the media can use to request court exhibits.

He says right now there seems to be varying access in different jurisdictions across the province.

Reporters are sometimes told by the court to retain a lawyer just to request a copy of paper, photo or video exhibits, even if the material is not sensitive.

The courts have upheld the media's right to access court exhibits, particularly in a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision, but reporters are often barred from accessing an exhibit that would help to tell a story.

Bentley says simplifying the process for the media will benefit the public by making the courts more open and accessible.

"We want to make sure that justice is as open and transparent for all as possible while at the same time maintaining the integrity of court proceedings," Bentley said in an interview.

Judges will still have the last word and may deny media access to an exhibit if they feel the circumstances warrant it, but a standard form should cut down on different rules being applied in different regions, he said.

"Instead of a long, complicated court application we're hoping...the form could be taken by the court staff and where it's not controversial, simply given the OK by the judge who doesn't have to convene a court to do that," Bentley said.

The ministry is currently in talks with judges to develop the form and there is no timeline for its release, but Bentley said he hopes it will be "sooner rather than later."