Open data of court decisions

 

Open data des décisions de justice ©DR

What is it ?

Open data of court decisions is a project that aims at releasing online a significant number of French court decisions freely accessible, exploitable, editable and shareable by any user. France takes an active part in the Open Government Partnership, which promotes initiatives to « streamline government processes and enhance transparency, accountability, and participation ». Open data of court decisions is one of them. Improvements in access, transparency and clarity of justice and law concepts are expected for all citizens as the project moves towards its full completion.

How does it work ?

The law of the 23rd of March 2019 and its implementing decree specify the regime applicable to the open data of court decisions.

Once the sentence is rendered by the judge, it is digitized and processed in two steps, in order to protect individual’s privacy rights:

  1. the names of the parties are automatically concealed (the names of the lawyers, judges and clerks are not concealed at this stage)
  2. additional information can be concealed at the request of the magistrate to avoid possible identification, if there seems to be a risk (concerning anyone mentioned in the case, including legal professionals).

The modified decision is then uploaded into the database and is made accessible to the public online.

In France, the justice system is divided in two branches : the judiciary and the administrative justice. Each branch has its own Supreme Court (Cour de cassation and Conseil d’Etat) which is in charge of publishing the decisions.

That is why decisions are accessible via two separate specific databases :

Every year, over three million decisions are handed down by the French courts, both administrative and judicial (in 2019). Judicial decisions, which represent the vast majority of these decisions, include civil law, criminal law, labour law and commercial law.

What schedule ?

Since the 28th of April 2021, the following timeline to make court rulings accessible to the public has been put forward :

  • Conseil d’Etat, September 2021,

  • Cour de cassation, September 2021,

  • Administrative Courts of Appel, March 2022,

  • Courts of Appeal (civil law, labour law, commercial law), April 2022,

  • Administrative courts, June 2022,

  • Labour law courts, June 2023,

  • Commercial law courts, December 2024,

  • First instance criminal courts (misdemeanours, either way offences), December 2024,

  • First instance courts, September 2025,

  • Criminal courts of Appeal (misdemeanours, either way offences), December 2025,

  • Serious crimes courts, December 2025

 
 
 
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