10 August, 2022
As the judicial system gradually introduces electronic case management system (e-case) and has created an e-case portal, amendments have been made to laws and regulations on the availability of court information. After getting acquainted with the proposed amendment project, the Supreme Court encourages to establish a broader and more clearly defined access to right to court information.
By supplementing the amendments prepared by the Ministry of Justice to the Law on Judicial Power, the Supreme Court proposes to establish that court rulings should be available free of charge in a pseudonymized form. This would apply to rulings posted on the e-case portal as well as to individually requested ones, if such rulings were not available on the said portal.
The Supreme Court also proposes to establish that, in exceptional cases, it should be permissible to publish rulings that have not yet entered into force, as, for example, it was done in the so-called Zolitūde criminal case. As well as for the purpose of ensuring the availability and uniformity of case law, rulings passed in closed court proceedings, concealing information, which cannot be disclosed according to laws and regulations, should be made available.
Whereas, after the completion of the case examination, the case file remains as information of limited availability, which can be obtained by justifying your request and indicating the purpose of using this information.
One of the elements of the right to a fair trial is the principle of public access, which guarantees the public's right to monitor how courts perform their judicial function. Deviations from this principle are allowed only if, in a specific case, there is another significant interest to be protected, which has a priority in the specific circumstances. Already in the ancillary decision of March 10, 2021 in case No SKA-70/2021, the Senate instructed the Ministry of Justice to conceptually solve the issue of the availability of case files and rulings adopted in closed proceedings. After getting acquainted with the prepared amendments to the Law on Judicial Power and Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 123 "Rules for Publishing Information Related to Courts on the Internet Homepage and Processing of Court Adjudications before Issuing them", the Supreme Court concludes that the proposed amendments do not solve conceptual problems, nor do they create a basis for a common understanding of the availability of court rulings and case files.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
E-mail: email@example.com, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211