June 16, 2021
The Ministry of Justice today announced the creation of a free comprehensive database of all judgments delivered in England and Wales, hosted by The National Archives. The announcement paves the way for improved, transparent, and comprehensive access to judgments for all.
This decision follows recommendations made by Dr Natalie Byrom, Director of Research at The Legal Education Foundation as part of her 2019 HMCTS Digital Justice Report. Dr Byrom highlighted in the report that that the free public provision of all judgments was fundamental to protecting the Rule of Law, ensuring Court users can access and understand their rights under English Law.
The British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII), the current platform for publishing judgments, has worked tirelessly to ensure free public access to the majority of decisions, a cause shared by our organisations. We will be working closely with BAILII to assist the transition to The National Archives platform, as well as supporting BAILII’s work to develop its own database, with further commentary and resources to help court users and other stakeholders.
Dr Natalie Byrom, author of the Digital Justice Report and Director of Research and Learning at The Legal Education Foundation, said:
“We commend this important decision, which was recommended as part of our Digital Justice report. It is so important that people are able to access judgments in a Common Law system freely, easily and in one place. There is more to be done, but this is a critical step towards achieving a more transparent, open and equitable justice system, that supports access to justice and data-driven reform.”
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