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Courts: Internet

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make it his policy for court transcripts to be posted on the internet; and if he will make a statement. (255381)

The Government have announced their intention to open up the criminal justice system through the power of the internet by publishing the outcomes of criminal cases on a public-facing website. Further details on this will be brought forward in the spring. However this will not, include court transcripts.

The Government also plan to open up the family courts by increasing the amount and quality of information coming from the courts.

At present, anonymised judgments of the Court of Appeal, and in some instances of the High Court, are made public. But this is not the situation for the county courts or the family proceedings courts, which deal with the bulk of family law cases.

We have therefore decided to pilot the provision of written judgments when a final order is made in certain family cases.

The courts in the pilot areas—Leeds, Wolverhampton and Cardiff—will, for the first time, routinely produce a written record of the decision for the parties involved. In selected cases where the court is making life-changing decisions for a child, they will publish an anonymised judgment online so that the wider public can read it.

Judgments from the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Court of Appeal, including the Administrative Court, selected by the Judge concerned, are available at no charge on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) database. If a High Court judgment is not available by this means, the court can be contacted direct for a copy.