Serbia Justice Functional Review

Internal Performance Assessment > ICT Management

e. Availability of Databases and Websites to Support Judicial Functions

  1. Each court has its own website domain, and system administrators create e-mail accounts and distribute them to judges and court employees.
  2. The electronic access to legal research tools and international law sites is open to all judges. All government sites are on the so-called unrestricted ‘white list.’ The judges’ access to the internet is otherwise limited because of bandwidth costs and security reasons. However, other sites can properly be accessed with prior approval from the Department for Joint Services.
  3. The NJRS envisions a single location for Appellate and SCC decisions with rigorous standards about what is to be posted. Currently, the focus is only on SCC cases. The SCC publishes all its decisions online and is now developing a rigorously searchable database of court practice for judges projected for completion in 2014.929 Cases will therefore be anonymized and will be placed on a public portal.
  4. The Appellate Courts upload some of their decisions to their websites in HTML format,930 facilitating the searching while a few Higher Courts publish bulletins of recent cases and trends in PDF format.931 Publishing appellate decisions provides opportunities for courts to improve the quality and consistency of the decision-making, and reduce the likelihood of challenges of decisions to the ECHR. However, each Appellate Court sets the standards for which cases should be included on these sites individually,932 and the portals do not include decisions from the Higher Courts in appeals of the Basic Court cases. Only a small proportion of appellate decisions can be uploaded because of the staff resources required to anonymize decisions before placing them on a public site.
  5. With the support from USAID’s JRGA project, the Administrative Courts have developed a promising web application that pools information on cases and court practice. Through the web application, Administrative Court judges can view intact decisions via their intranet. Further, anonymized decisions (in accordance with the Law on Protection of Personal Data) are also available for public access. This web application has the potential to both improve access to justice and increase the uniformity of decision-making by Administrative Courts. Lessons could be learned here for other courts or departments.