The conference "Limits of Transparent Justice" organized by the Supreme Court of Slovakia within the framework of Slovak Republic Presidency of the European Union took place in the beginning of December. It was concluded that there was no uniform practice on publishing the judicial decisions; each country publishes them with regard to their "culture and understanding".

Representatives of international and judicial organizations of the European Union, as well as of other countries, such as Ukraine and USA, gave presentations and participated in Bratislava conference. The Supreme Court of Latvia was represented by Anita Zikmane, Head of the Division of Case-law and Research.

Latvian representative gave a lecture on the anonymization problem in situations where the dialogue has taken place between the national court and the European Court of Justice, or the case is being adjudicated after the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.In the absence of a uniform approach to anonymization of information revealing personal data, there are situations that information that is anonymized in our decision can be read in the references to international judicial decisions (name of natural person, party to proceedings). Participants of the conference stressed that anonymization of information has to be done in a uniform manner. At the same time, over-intensive data anonymization can interfere with comprehensibility and accessibility of judicial decisions. The judge of the Supreme Court of Denmark noted that the publication of judgments has to be separated from the administration of justice; therefore general standards have to be applied for the processing of data. Spanish judicial process stated what information of criminal proceedings should not be disclosed, for example, details of the victims (this provision also applies to journalists). Judge of the European Court of Justice noted that parties to proceedings may use “the right to be forgotten".

President of the European Court of Justice Koen Lenaerts pointed out that the communication between national courts and European Court of Justice is being improved in preliminary ruling proceedings with regard to data protection.

There were also discussions about live broadcasts from the courts and other media opportunities in the courts, as well as about use of social networks in the administration of justice, and about publishing of court rulings. Attention was paid to communication of judges and courts with the public, and also to internal communication of courts. Observing the codes of ethics was considered essential in such matters in order to protect the judges, as well as to be discipline them with regard to judges’ rights for freedom of expression.

It was concluded that clarity and comprehensibility of communication guidelines for judges, from both the judges and the journalists' point of view, is basis for good communication.

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211