May 11, 2009
Access to Court Records in the UK and Europe
“[T]rans-European research on civil or criminal justice would appear to be impossible given” a lack of access to court records, and inconsistent regulation respecting that access, “in the various European member states,” argue Philip Leith and Maeve McDonagh in their new article, New Technology and Researchers’ Access to Court and Tribunal Information: The Need for European Analysis, 6 SCRIPTed 33 (2009). The authors call for a European-wide study of access to court records, in order to thoroughly document access barriers faced by researchers, and to develop a basis for policy recommendations.
In exploring this topic, the authors provide an enlightening discussion of the public/private status, physical/administrative accessibility, and regulation (particularly respecting article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Data Protection Directive, the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the UK Freedom of Information Act, and cases and administrative materials interpreting them) of court documents in the UK and Europe. For example, the authors observe that
“judgments from most European courts are copyright of the relevant government or agency. In the UK . . . there is some dispute over whether the judge or Court Service owns the judgment, and frequently the only text version of a judgment is copyright of the privately employed court stenographer.  Is, then, [UK and European] court based information public? Answered in toto, it certainly is not.”
The article is of potential interest to those conducting research on UK or European law, librarians who assist them, those engaged in public policy work respecting access to court records, and those who build or administer digital law collections. [Robert Richards]
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Jonathan or anyone else that can help.
Is this the only commercial provider of UK court filings that you know of? Bloomberg Law access appears to be highly limited.
Posted by: Steven | Nov 5, 2009 4:45:36 PM
Please note Bloomberg Law does offer access to uk court filings - access to dockets and cases filed in the UK High Court, Isle of Jersey and regional courts. thanks
Posted by: Jonathan Dolties | Sep 3, 2009 5:03:22 AM