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Open data of court decisions

The opening of data from public administrations and public authorities aims to promote the transparency of public action and innovation. Court decisions are part of this rule of openness, but their specificity and above all the sensitive nature of the information they contain require the creation of a separate framework.

Temps de lecture :

2 minutes

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.

Where are we ?

Today, all the decisions rendered by the administrative courts (excluding specialized courts) and the decisions rendered by the Court of Cassation and by the courts of appeal in civil, social and commercial matters are made available.
In 2023, a new step must be taken with the open data release of decisions rendered in civil, social and commercial matters by nine courts of justice representing more than 280,000 decisions per year.

Open data des décisions de justice

L’ouverture des données des administrations et collectivités publiques a pour objectif de favoriser la transparence de l’action publique et l’innovation.

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