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Informatization of Courts as State Policy

An article by Mikhail Pozdnyakov, our expert and Research Fellow of the Institute for the Rule of Law (European University), tells how IT were introduced into activities of general jurisdiction courts and arbitration courts, and explains current state of informational openness in the two branches of the judicial power.

Internet as a Tool for Strengthening Public Trust in General Jurisdiction Courts: Ways and Prospects

Since 2010, the Freedom of Information Foundation performs comprehensive research of judicial online openness. The analysis of current state of affairs makes to conclude that development of the courts' websites can greatly increase public trust  in Russian justice but this potential is underestimated. Judicial informational openness could promote legal culture growth and help the justice to position itself in the public mind as an independent institution able to solve problems in a civilized and efficient way.

Online openness could be useful both for the public and the judicial system: electronic interaction with citizens could reduce the work burden for court staff  and improve courts' and judges' reputation. However, general jurisdiction courts not always consider implementation of judicial transparency principles as a priority task, and do not respond public informational demands timely. This study aims to prove actuality of changes, and proposes a number of guidelines for improvement of courts' official websites.

Proposals for the Novgorod Oblast NGOs' Declaration of Informational Openness

On January 18, FIF specialists prepared several proposals for the Informational Openness Declaration of Social Oriented NGOs in Novgorod Oblast developed by the Transparency International-Russia in partnership with a number of NGOs from Novgorod Oblast:

Our specialists proposed some clarifications for the Declaration terms and definitions.

Typical Features of Regional Legislative Bodies' Official Websites: Part 2

The first part of the study concerned publication of normative acts as well as of information on body structure, staff, and activities. Besides that, the study addresses contact data publication and website usability.

Inspection Materials: Not for Photographing? (Continued)

On January 10, 2013, FIF lawyers filed a special appeal against the definition by the Nevsky district court of St.-Petersburg from Dec 26, 2012, refusing to revive contesting of the St.-Petersburg City Housing Inspectorate's prohibition for a citizen to photograph materials of inspections held upon the applicant's request. FIF lawyers are seeking for ways to make the court to review the case against the St.-Petersburg City Housing Inspectorate's information denial.

Limits for State Secret

The Constitutional Court issued a definition on the application from Nikita Petrov, a well-known historian, the Memorial Society research/informational center council deputy chair. Petrov had prepared his application with support from the FIF.
In fact, the Court agreed with the applicant's arguments and recognized that Soviet secrets have time limit for their declassification. We hope that researchers now have got a real chance to get access to documents declassification of which has been rather doubtful up to now.

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We are always open to cooperation

The methodology developed by Freedom of information Foundation for monitoring official websites is applicable widely. It is convenient, efficient and can be used for research in various fields. We are interested in cooperation with different governmental and non-government entities in various countries in order to extend the monitoring practice, including possible joint comparative researches.