The “Legislation” dataset doesn’t include case law. And yet that’s an important aspect of the law, especially in common law countries,
Moreover, court judgments are owned by private entities in a lot of countries. For instance in the UK (that ranks 1st in the legislation dataset): “an important part of English law is entirely owned by a private charity, the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting” ( http://blog.okfn.org/2008/08/20/a-wikipedia-of-english-law/#sthash.5g2zcBDn.dpuf ).
Also, access to court decisions is a human right issue. Indeed, according to the European Parliament ( http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/join/2013/474406/IPOL-JURI_ET(2013)474406_EN.pdf ):
- “Greater access to court files for third persons is not only recommended, it is necessary in view of the above mentioned problems ranging from some inconveniences to infringements of procedural rights, acknowledged as a fundamental human rights (i.e. right to fair trial and equality of arms).”
- “Certain aspects of (in)accessibility of Court files cause serious legal problems, and may, arguably, even violate internationally recognised fundamental human rights, such as equality of arms.”
- “It can be argued that, in a case where one party has access to a certain document to which she also refers, but to which the adversary party does not have access, the right to a fair trial is violated.”
The European Court of Human Rights also found that there’s a violation of the article 6 (fair trial) when “the full texts of their judgments openly available to the public in their registries”: Werner v. Austria, Szucs v. Austria, Sunday Times v. United Kingdom 1979.
At the international level, the Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that: “any judgment rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public”.
How could we improve access to court documents? Would it be possible to create a new dataset or to include it as a new criterion of the “Legislation” one?