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Access to Information and Transparency in the Judiciary: A Guide to Good Practices from Latin America
Álvaro Herrero & Gaspar López
Source of the information:
World Bank & Association for Civil Rights
While acknowledging the importance of the Judiciary's independence, this paper highlights its connections between transparency, citizen participation and accountability within the Judiciary (including the relationship with other actors such as civil society and the media). It provides examples of practices and experiences in the administrative and jurisdictional operations of the Judiciary in Latin America.
The report begins by giving an introduction to the context in which the Judiciary operates in Latin America, identifying the most relevant challenges it faces. Among other challenges, are the lack of public trust in judicial institutions and their distancing from society. The potential for access to information and transparency reforms to help reverse that situation are highlighted. Also, emphasis is placed on the contribution of these reforms to foster both the independence and the accountability of the Judiciary, and thus enhance its role in a broader governance context.
It further goes on analyse access to various categories of information related to the administrative operation of the Judiciary. Among others, some of those highlighted include access to information and transparency in budget, procurement, and expenses. There is also an analysis of the importance of providing access to judges’ assets and income disclosure statements, and the publication of court statistics. Transparency and citizen participation in the process to appoint judges is also adressed.
The report also attempts to assess information categories related to the jurisdictional operation of the Judiciary. The publication of court sentences, access to case files in corruption cases and disciplinary procedures of judicial officials are examined, and innovative initiatives to foster the participation of civil society are described.