Luke (User experience manager) July 30, 2011 12:36

Courts and Tribunals pages

I plan to meet the HMCTS content managers and stakeholders soon to discuss website improvements. If you have any suggestions or comments that you would like me to take to the meeting, please post by 5th August.
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  • I'm not sure if this is the appropriate forum to raise these points, but there is growing frustration at the lack of freely accessible online information relating to the activities of the courts. This concerns a range of issues, including:

    - No free court listings for people who don't pay for Courtserve (see this blog post for more discussion).

    - Whilst Bailii is a good step on the path to Open Justice, judgments - in particular from the Court of Protection - routinely fail to make it up there or are unpublished altogether (see this post for more details).

    - Furthermore, Bailii is set up so that it cannot be searched or scraped by Google and other sites, which seriously limits both its search utility and the 'value added' work that could be achieved - for no cost - by third parties. For instance, it would be quite possible using Google - if it were able to scrape Bailii's judgments - to set up a free alert that would email you when a judgment was published that mentioned either another judgment, a particular piece of legislation or a chosen search term (e.g. "litigation capacity").

    - The lack of free and publicly accessible copies of up to date legislation should be of serious concern from the perspective of open justice. To give one example, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is fragmented across - anyone relying on that copy of the statute would miss the deprivation of liberty safeguards and attendant ammendments! It would also be really helpful if legislation could be linked somehow to any relevant regulations or codes of practice.

    I suppose these are more 'content' issues that tie into wider issues around copyright and contracts that MoJ has entered into, than issues of presentation on the website. I'm not sure, therefore, if this is the appropriate forum for discussion - but I thought I'd raise these points just in case.
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