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Czech Republic

Publishing Lower Court Decision (CZ0024)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Czech Republic Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Judiciary, Justice, Open Justice

IRM Review

IRM Report: Czech Republic Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

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.
Further information
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.
Other sources:
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).
Foreign benchmarks:
The electronic Slov-lex system of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic containing all final and binding court decisions.
Professional literature:
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
Role, Department
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).

Milestones:

  • 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. [4] 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. [5] [6]

Next steps

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.

[4] Email exchange with Kucera Frantisek, 10 December 2019. 

[5] Interviews with Pavol Zilincik and Jaroslav Svoma, Legal Department, The Office of Public Defender of Rights, 27 May 2019.


Commitments

  1. Quality Management in Service Authorities

    CZ0022, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  2. Judiciary Annual Report

    CZ0023, 2018, E-Government

  3. Publishing Lower Court Decision

    CZ0024, 2018, E-Government

  4. Raising Awareness About Whistle-Blowers

    CZ0025, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  5. Open Education Data

    CZ0026, 2018, Access to Information

  6. InspIS Information System

    CZ0027, 2018, Access to Information

  7. Open Data from School Inspector

    CZ0028, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Publication of Education Information on Creative Commons

    CZ0029, 2018, Access to Information

  9. Implementing the Civil Service Act

    CZ0016, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  10. Priority Data Sets of Public Administration

    CZ0017, 2016, Access to Information

  11. Public Administration of the Czech Republic’s Open Data Ecosystem

    CZ0018, 2016, Access to Information

  12. National Open Access to Scientific Information Strategy

    CZ0019, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  13. Supporting Volunteering

    CZ0020, 2016, Civic Space

  14. Improving Local Level Safety

    CZ0021, 2016, E-Government

  15. Adoption of the New Act on Civil Service

    CZ0007, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  16. Implementing Legislation for the New Act on Civil Service

    CZ0008, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  17. Institutional Measures to Implement the New Act on Civil Service

    CZ0009, 2014, Capacity Building

  18. Selection, Recruitment, and Appointment of Civil Servants/High-Ranking Civil Servants

    CZ0010, 2014, Capacity Building

  19. Systematization of Service Positions and Service Authorities

    CZ0011, 2014, Labor

  20. Streamline the Free Access to Information System

    CZ0012, 2014, Access to Information

  21. Support for Open Data Publishing

    CZ0013, 2014, Access to Information

  22. Open Data Catalogue

    CZ0014, 2014, Access to Information

  23. Open Data Legal Framework

    CZ0015, 2014, Access to Information

  24. Adoption of an Act on Civil Servants

    CZ0001, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  25. Amendments of the Free Access to Information Act

    CZ0002, 2012, Access to Information

  26. Identification and Removal of Legal and Technical Obstacles

    CZ0003, 2012, Access to Information

  27. Creation of an Open Data Infrastructure in the Public Procurement Sector

    CZ0004, 2012, Access to Information

  28. Converting the Most Important Data Sources to Open Data Standards

    CZ0005, 2012, Access to Information

  29. Creation of a Catalogue of Public Administration Data

    CZ0006, 2012, Access to Information

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