Publish court decisions online, official says


CHIEF Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam Justice Robert Torres says the dissemination of court decisions and judgments have gradually moved from print publications toward electronic and online publication via websites and social media.
Torres, in presenting a paper to the Chief Justices and judges at the Pacific Judicial Conference at the International Convention Centre in Waigani yesterday, said that dissemination of court judgments historically occurred through print and hardbound volumes.
“No one method is better than the other so optimal solution may be to accommodate all form of communication to the extent possible,” he said.
“The print version would serve at the official version, the electronic version available online through the internet would enable the public a convenient and low cost avenue to court information and social media platforms would give notice of new judgments.”
“With the changing landscape of communication and a public expectation that information will be available through the internet, courts should consider being open to all the ways by which the public can access to opinions and judgments.”
Torres said court judgments gave guidance as to the application of legal principles to certain factual circumstances to legislators, attorneys, to litigants and members of the general population.
“Therefore, it is imperative that courts ensure their rulings are accessible to the public,” Torres said.
He described print publications of court judgments as the gold standard of accurate representation of law as it was made.
But Torres said that budgetary constraints, the cost of printing bound volumes were a foremost concern.
In electronic and online access to court judgments Torres said; “The use of the internet has become the new normal, and expected behaviour in today’s plugged in society.
Torres said the use of electronic publication addressed space, cost and ease of access, which were challenges in print publication.
He added that for social media, careful planning and a social media.

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