Publishing Lower Court Decision (CZ0024)
Starred: Pending IRM Review
Early Results: Pending IRM Review
Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information
Publishing the decisions of lower courts
Start and end date of commitment: 1 September 2018 – 31 August 2020
Lead implementing agency: Ministry of Justice
Description of the commitment
Which public problem will be resolved by this commitment?
The decisions of lower courts are not currently sufficiently transparent in the Czech Republic, since the public and the courts themselves do not have access to the database of all court decisions. Publishing all court decisions in anonymised form will reinforce the unity of the judiciary and increase the transparency of court decision-making. Currently only the three highest courts publish their decisions. It is necessary to support greater transparency in the whole decision-making process in the court system, and to make it accessible to the public in a suitable form, along with the option of searching the decisions.
What is the commitment?
The publication (disclosure) of the texts of the final and enforceable decisions of the high, regional and district courts in electronic format (online).
How will the commitment contribute to solving a public problem?
Publishing the decisions of lower courts will lead to reinforced, supported access to justice and increased transparency in court decision-making. Even though the Czech Republic does not have the system of precedent, publishing all court decisions will reinforce the principle of consistency in court decision-making and legitimate expectations.
How does the commitment relate to OGP values?
The commitment meets the basic OGP values (principles):
• - access to information (transparency)
• - civil participation
• - accountability (the implementation of the highest quality
standards in the Civil Service)
• - technology and innovation.
The commitment meets 2 of the 3 OGP Grand Challenges:
• - improving public services (justice)
• - increasing public integrity.
Link to other government programmes:
This commitment is directly linked to the government strategy “The Departmental eJustice Development Strategy for 2016 – 2020”, adopted by the Government ́s Resolution No. 505 of
8 June 2016 (supplemented and revised by the Government ́s Resolution No. 170 of 14 March 2018).
The strategy’s objective is the further development of electronic justice (see point 1.2). One of the specific eJustice strategic objectives is Strategic Objective 4.2 – “Form – to enable easy and pleasant communication with participants in the process, the public and other local authorities performing some state functions, including improving the quality and extending the scope of information provided”.
This strategic objective has 7 specific targets. One of the specific targets is no 4.2.7, under the name “Providing information on court decisions”.
Link to other relevant plans, such as the national anti- corruption strategy:
The commitment may also partially fulfil the tasks arising from other government missions and strategies, such as action plans for the fight against corruption or missions relating to open data.
Failure to meet the obligation to publish selected decisions is also noted in the Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2016 (see page 57 of the report).
The problem further resonates in the professional press or general news publications (media).
The electronic Slov-lex system of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic containing all final and binding court decisions.
Korbel, F. – Melzer, F. Společenské a právní základy zveřejňování judikatury a způsoby jeho realizace. Právní rozhledy, 2011, no 9, pp. 1-7.
Králík, L. Hromadné zveřejňování soudních rozhodnutí (in press).
Králík, L. Tvorba a publikace judikatury. Právník, 2018, no 4, pp. 320-332.
Králík, L. Publikace judikatury v USA. Právník, 2018, no 2, pp. 131-142.
Králík, L. Citace judikatury. Právník, 2017, no 1, pp. 60- 65.
Králík, L. Soudní rozhodnutí versus judikát a jejich zveřejňování. In: sborník příspěvků z konference Weyrův den právní teorie, Brno: PF MU, 2015, online: http://www.pravniprostor.cz.
Milestone activity with verifiable output
Creation of an anonymiser
Publication of judgments in one judicial agenda
Name of the responsible person from the implementing agency: Dominik Divák
Assistant Deputy Minister for Management of the Economic Section
Email and telephone
DDivak@msp.justice.cz, +420 737 244 230
Other stakeholders involved: NA
IRM Midterm Status Summary
3. Publishing the decisions of lower courts
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:
The objective of the commitment is the publication (disclosure) of the texts of the final and enforceable decisions of the high, regional and district courts in electronic format (online).
- Creation of an anonymizer;
- Publication of judgments in one judicial agenda.
For full text of the commitment please see: https://korupce.cz/partnerstvi-pro-otevrene-vladnuti-ogp/narodni-akcni-plany-nap/ctvrty-akcni-plan-2018-2020/faze-vytvoreni/
Start Date: 1 September 2018
End Date: 31 August 2020
Context and Objectives
The commitment aims to publish online all court decisions in an anonymized form to increase the transparency of the judiciary. This commitment derives from the Departmental eJustice Development Strategy for 2016-2020 (revised in in March 2018; Resolution No. 170), namely one of its strategic objectives to further develop “electronic justice” providing information on court decisions (target 4.2.7).
The commitment is verifiable and contains two concrete milestones: the creation of an anonymizer and the publication of judgements in one judicial agenda by December 2020. Both milestones have a clear timeline and the commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information, as it discloses new information to the public online.
If implemented as written, the commitment could have a moderate potential impact. Currently, only three highest courts in the Czech Republic publish their final decisions online. This commitment could change the status quo by making all high, regional, and district courts’ first instance decisions publicly available online. Experts, civil society representatives, and judges interviewed for this report noted that the commitment could strengthen legal certainty and transparency of courts’ decisions. However, as the representative of the Ministry of Justice explained, publication of all decisions is a long-term goal which will be tested at regional courts in a limited area, stipulated in section §9 par. 2 of the Act No. 99/1963 from the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended.  Representatives of the Ombudsman’s office also noted the implementation could be hindered by the lack of allocation of resources to finalize the task by the deadline.  
During the implementation period, the IRM recommends taking into account the following:
- Consider the learnings from the Slovakia Slov-lex system to create a roadmap that specifies the different steps to implement the commitment successfully.
- Specify which judgements will be published; this was important for the functioning of the Slov-lex system, which was a commitment in Slovakia’s first OGP action plan (2013-15).
- Based on the Slovakian experience, it would be important to develop an automatic anonymizer to ensure anonymity in the process and avoid unexpected delays.
- Follow the Ombudsman’s office suggestion to create a multi-stakeholder working group to advise the Ministry of Justice on the process, since other institutions within the justice system are already running databases and could share lessons learnt.
- Raising awareness among court personnel will be important for the successful publication of courts’ decisions.
 Email exchange with Kucera Frantisek, 10 December 2019.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
3. Publishing the decisions of lower courts
By the end of the implementation period, the Ministry of Justice had developed software for anonymization of court decisions. This included five testing rounds, which allowed the ministry to improve the software and gather feedback from the courts. According to the ministry, the final product works well, although it will always be necessary for a qualified person to verify the final texts. A technical challenge exists in completing this commitment because some courts have older or incompatible computer hardware and software. Civil society support the publishing of court decisions but have expressed frustration with the length of time taken for this commitment to be implemented. 
While recognizing the important preparatory work, the commitment was not completed and cases from lower courts have yet to be published online. This commitment is carried forward into the 2020–2022 action plan.