Parliamentarians want to restrict access to court rulings



New Citizen reports that the Verkhovna Rada on 6 October passed at its first reading a draft law which would determine which court rulings are entered in the Register of Court Rulings. Responsibility for the selection would be vested with the Council of Judges. New Citizen writes that the danger of the draft law is that the proposed amendments would create a situation whereby some court rulings were added to the Register, while others were not. The draft law is not in line with a number of norms of the Law on Access to Court Rulings. Article 2 of this Law states that everyone is entitled to access to such rulings which is ensured through official publication of court rulings on the official website of the judiciary; Article 4 – that court rulings, entered in the Register, are on open access, free of charge and around the clock on the official website of the judiciary; and Article 8 prohibits removal of court rulings from the Register.

The Central Expert Department of the Verkhovna Rada has stated that such an approach to ensuring access to court rulings totally contradicts the principle of openness of courts of general jurisdiction and establishes inadmissible restrictions. It also recommends that either the present version of the specific norm (Article 3 § 3) be retained, or that categories of rulings not to be entered in the Register be stipulated clearly by law, not left to the discretion of other bodies of power. 

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