The aim of the new legislation, which has long been advocated by Pirate MPs, is to make judicial decision-making more predictable. It should no longer be the case that courts of the same instance decide similar cases in completely different ways. If this does happen, it is up to the parties and lawyers to point out the deviations and to the superior courts to intervene if necessary.
When will the new judicial system come into force?
A number of courts are now publishing a significant proportion of their judgments on the website https://rozhodnuti.justice.cz/ following an earlier instruction from the Ministry of Justice. However, a legal obligation for all courts will only be created by an amendment to the Courts and Judges Act, which will come into force on 1 July 2022. The exact form of publication will be determined by a decree currently being prepared by the Ministry.
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The existing database allows you to search based on a number of parameters depending on the results you want to get. For example, you can search by the date of the decision, the court, a specific agenda (e.g. criminal, civil) or even the legal provision mentioned in the judgment. If you know the docket tag, you can access a specific judgment literally in a few clicks. But you can also find out what judgments have been handed down in relation to a particular piece of legislation, how similar types of cases are decided or how a particular judge rules. Only final judgments will be published.
Anonymisation of data
No one needs to worry that their personal data will be used by others to trace, for example, the details of their divorce. All decisions will be anonymised. For this purpose, the Ministry of Justice has acquired a special programme that can search all personal data and then delete it. Thus, while it will not be impossible to get to a specific case without knowing, for example, the file mark or the unique details of the dispute, it will be quite difficult.
Same decision-making in the same cases
The aim of the regulation is not to introduce something like a system of precedents by which similar cases would then be decided. That would not even correspond to the system of Czech law. However, it may be interesting for the general public and lawyers to get a sort of “scale” on which similar cases are decided. If parties find that their judge has ruled significantly differently than other judges in similar cases, they can simply argue this to a superior court. The whole system can undoubtedly be an inspiration to the judges themselves. Indeed, in Slovakia, where a similar system has been in place for several years, it is said to be widely used by judges.