Civil society and lawyers provide recommendations for improving access to judiciary information online

Public access to justice sector information is key to building public trust in the judiciary. It is, in fact, a key element of a free and democratic nation.

USAID is the leader in helping the Government of Moldova to implement justice sector reforms and harness modern technology in the courts of law. Since 2007, the American people have provided strong support for Moldova’ s path towards a strong, independent, and transparent justice system. The first major achievements were the institutionalization of the Case Management System (CMS) in all courts around the country, as well as the publication of court decisions online. Thanks to these improvements, thousands of court users, including journalists and civil society, can access the courts’ hearing schedule, summons, and decisions on the internet.

However, in the recent year, both civil society and mass media publicly expressed concerns about the need for further openness within the judicial system. The requests put forward focused on the lack of public data regarding up-to-date information on each case managed through the CMS, the paucity of information about the performance of courts, and the difficulty in browsing judiciary websites, particularly the Courts’ Web Portal and the Agency for Court Administration and the Superior Council of Magistracy websites. In addition, these websites are not particularly user-friendly for people with special needs and require significant enhancement.

In connection with improving the public’s access to justice sector information, the USAID Open Justice Project conducted a series of public consultations, collecting recommendations and suggestions from a total of 60 members of civil society, judges, lawyers, journalists, and justice sector representatives.

As a result of the public consultations, the Open Justice Project collected an extensive list of improvement recommendations. These are now being incorporated into the Project’s development of comprehensive and user-friendly websites for Moldova’s justice sector institutions. The new websites, which will be available by mid-2018, will offer a variety of up-to-date information and reports on the activity of the Agency for Court Administration and the Superior Council of Magistracy, the courts’ work, simplified access to news and press releases, archived live streamed SCM sessions, and more. Website visitors will have access to real-time information and factual data to aid different purposes: writing justice research reports, conducting journalistic investigations, monitoring the status of lawsuits online, and ascertaining the performance of courts throughout the country. USAID’s support to provide online access to justice sector information empowers Moldovan citizens to hold the judiciary accountable and improves courts’ services for citizens.

Judge Veronica Cupcea from Orhei district court discusses courts’ performance indicators with Dumitru Visternicean, member of the Superior Council of Magistracy

More information posted on judiciary webpages will generate more public trust. People will be able to see the judges’ performance, case resolution rate, deferred hearing rate, the rate of judgment publication on the courts web portal, information about the cases under review, random distribution of cases, the audio and video recordings of the sessions. As a result, the use of information technology will help to fairly measure the credibility of the judiciary.

Valentina Grigoriș
Director, Agency for Court Administration