Open data: The availability calendar for court decisions is (finally) known

Five years after the adoption of the law for a digital Republic, providing for the making available to the public of the judgments rendered by the French justice, the calendar is finally falling.

Following the publication of a decree in June 2020, the decree specifying the implementation schedule was still pending. Last January, the Council of State had summoned the government to publish the decree in question. Almost three months later, it’s done.

The schedule for making available the decisions of the judicial and administrative courts was published this Thursday in the Official Journal. More commonly called “open data of court decisions”, this decree aims to make available to all decisions rendered by judicial and administrative jurisdictions, previously pseudonymized, announces the Ministry of Justice. Almost 20,000 administrative decisions and 15,000 judicial decisions are posted online each year. But in the long term, more than 300,000 annual decisions will be concerned for the administrative order, and more than three million for the judicial order.

Legal and technical constraints

Open data will follow a four-year schedule. “The choice was made of a progressive provision, by degree of jurisdiction and by type of litigation”, specifies the ministry. This very brief schedule will make it possible to anticipate and carry out the technical projects necessary for the dematerialization of procedures while constructing a scheme to “ensure the protection of the privacy and security of the persons mentioned in the decisions”.

Also, the process of concealing personal data will go through a stage of pseudonymization and a verification process for court professionals.

According to the planned timetable, the decisions of the Council of State and the Court of Cassation will be the first to be opened, no later than September 2021. For the judiciary, the first exhaustive stream of first instance decisions will be available in June 2023 (these will be decisions of the industrial tribunals). Then, in successive waves, first instance decisions will be published in commercial and civil matters, as well as all criminal litigation, to achieve full availability of decisions in December 2025.

In order to speed up this opening up, the ministry plans to work on “making certain types of high value-added litigation available in advance of the phase”, he explains.

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