Earlier this month Dr Judith Townend, senior lecturer in media and information law at the University of Sussex, published the report: "Towards a national commitment to open justice data in the United Kingdom"
This report outlines steps the UK government,in partnership with civil society groups, the judiciary, and other legal experts, could take to ensure that open justice is more effectively and fairly embedded in the UK court system.
This work followed suggestions by civil society groups including Spotlight on Corruption (formerly CorruptionWatch) that the government make an open justice commitment in its OGP national action plan.
In November 2018, the UK government committed “to working with the Open Government Network and civil society organisations to develop our approach on this agendaover the coming year, with the goal of co-creating a full commitment for the [next] National Action Plan.”
Alongside the Open Government Network, Spotlight on Corruption, as a step towards co-creating such a commitment on open justice, commissioned Dr Judith Townend to prepare a proposal to guide this work.
It’s great to see discussions about Open Justice commitments emerging: improving transparency and accessibility of information about justice processes (and improving/modernising processes themselves) should absolutely be at the heart of OGP thinking.
I was a bit disappointed to see that the International Comparisons in the report only looked at US and EU. One of the real strengths of the OGP is that we can learn from a global community - and it seems there is a lot more to draw upon in thinking about what Open Justice commitments could cover at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/policy-area/justice/
I also wanted to flag up the recent State of Open Data chapter on Crime and Justice here: https://www.stateofopendata.od4d.net/chapters/sectors/crime-justice.html (or PDF: https://zenodo.org/record/2677855) which looks specifically at the open data aspects of this space.
What are the next steps for work on potential Open Justice commitments? Or any other OGP commitments right now?
All the best
Many thanks for this email, Tim, on the Open Justice commitments.
I work at Spotlight on Corruption which commissioned the report.
The international comparison was something we had flagged as
needing more work as there wasn’t time to cover it adequately in
this report. We’d be very interested to discuss further how best
to capture international best practice and your links are very
useful in this regard.
We're hoping to persuade the Department for Culture, Media and
Sport to set up an expert working group to take forward the Open
Justice commitment which they’ve agreed to having an action point
in in the next National Plan. We’ll keep you posted on how that
All the very best