Legal Information in Digital Form : The Challenge of Accessing Computerized Court Records.

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This paper addresses the question of digital access to court records that falls within the global reflection about access to law and justice. Based on research studying the way dockets are accessed in Quebec, our article highlights dimensions underlying the question of access to public legal information. Our findings showed an inequality of access between law professionals and non-professionals. However, there are always more citizens seeking to access their legal information on their own, specifically when representing themselves in justice situations. Even though dockets are now digitized, litigants face many barriers when trying to consult them. We review these barriers and stress the need to consider them all in the reflection on access to digital court records. Designing a solution to the access problem is a complex task which technology alone cannot resolve. We need to keep in mind that some initiatives intended to improve access might actually raise the barriers faced by some litigants. Moreover, the privacy issue surrounding the question of public information is also crucial to bear in mind. This paper shows that the docket consultation system is not optimal in Quebec. Improvements are needed that must be carefully thought out. In making them, it is important to adopt a comprehensive vision of the question of access to justice that considers the rights of each and every citizen.

This content has been updated on 5 November 2020 at 11 h 14 min.