Daniel Hoadley and Editha Nemsic have written a piece in the UK Constitutional Law Association on public access to judicial review judgments.
Judicial review judgments are valuable on several levels, providing a decisive record of the outcome of legal disputes, supporting the provision of advice that can be used in future disputes and adding a degree of transparency to the broader judicial system.
At present, The British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) provides free, public access to judicial review decisions. However, if one needs access to judgments not included on the BAILII database, the only way to secure access is by paying a subscription fee to a commercial provider.
After thorough research, Daniel and Editha found that of a sample of 5,408 unique judgments given during the period covered by our dataset, just 55% (3,001) are available to the public on BAILII.
In the article, Daniel and Editha examine the gap between freely accessible judicial review judgments on BAILII and those requiring a commercial subscription, advocating for greater availability of judgments.
Daniel and Editha summarise: “Ultimately, access to judicial review judgments is something that everyone has a stake in, but public lawyers, whether in research or practice, should be paying close attention to this issue, particularly as the government is reshaping how judgments are managed and made available through its initiative to make judgments available via The National Archives. The gap in the availability of judgments we have examined in this post shows that an important part of public law is not meaningfully public, and ongoing changes ought to be seen as an opportunity to progress from that unsatisfactory position rather than entrench it.”
Click here to read the full article.