Saturday, 25th February 2017

OpenTrial Lexposé

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OpenTrial™ Lexposé™


An Independent, Publicly Accessible Data & Analysis Adjunct to Hold Justice Systems Accountable to Society


Investigate - Report - Hold to Account

These are the kinds of questions that keep judges, chiefs of police and prosecutors on their toes and help make them more accountable:

  1. What is the official salary of the judge, police chief, or prosecutor?
  2. What training has the person had?
  3. What is the person's net worth?
  4. What is the potential for possible conflicts of interest in the person's past and present personal and professional relationships?
  5. What has been the person's career path?
  6. What is the person's track record in office?
  7. To what code of conduct and other ethical rules did the person swear allegiance?
  8. How is the person's job performance measured?

Every justice sector needs a Lexposé™

OpenTrial™ Lexposé™: Publicly Accessible Data & Analysis

Disclosure & Accountability Goal OpenTrial's Role Rationale
To advance the rule of law by complementing infrastructure reform. To gather and provide data neutrally, non-combatively and as objectively as possible, for civil society to make use of in bringing the legal sector to account and deciding on any appropriate reform. Justice sector transparency and accountability to civil society (e.g. the media, NGOs, CSOs, lawyers associations, etc.) advances the rule of law by complementing justice sector infrastructure reform.

(e.g. establishing and equipping new courts; setting up bar associations; training judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers; putting modern police equipment in place; reprinting and distributing legal texts; etc.).
No. Objectives Data / Information re.
Judiciary Police Prosecution Service
1. To aid public comprehension of the structure and hierarchies in justice sector agencies. Organisation structure national and provincial Organisation structure national and provincial Organisation structure national and provincial
2. To ensure professional and ethical behaviour. Codes of conduct and practice and commitment to fair trial criteria. Codes of conduct, practice guidelines and commitment to fair trial criteria. Codes of conduct, practice guidelines and commitment to fair trial criteria.
3. To ensure reliable public access to information pertaining to laws, proposed changes in legislation and court procedures/due process rights. Applicable rules and legislation Applicable rules and legislation Applicable rules and legislation
4. To ensure the necessary degree of independence. Legally defined roles of officials and their security of tenure Legally defined roles of officials and their security of tenure Legally defined roles of officials and their security of tenure
5. To ensure post transfers are based on objective criteria and not vested interests (e.g. political ties or unpopularity). Bases for staff transfers Bases for staff transfers Bases for staff transfers
6. To ensure case assignment that is based on objective criteria and not vested interests (e.g. business and politics). Case assignment procedures   Case assignment procedures
7. To ensure a correct balance between independence and accountability for incompetence/wrongdoing and that removal processes are fair and transparent. Disciplinary procedures Disciplinary procedures Disciplinary procedures
8. To ensure disclosures that can be reported and taken up by lawyers, court users, media, civil society, etc. Whistleblower policy Whistleblower policy Whistleblower policy
9. To deter favouritism and ensure the most competent candidates of high integrity are appointed, and that salaries are commensurate with position, experience, performance and professional development. Salaries & staff recruitment/promotion procedures. Salaries & staff recruitment/promotion procedures. Salaries & staff recruitment/promotion procedures.
10. To ensure objective reporting on governance and organisation. Independent/ international reports Independent/ international reports Independent/ international reports
11. To maintain adequate standards, indicate shortfalls and focus on any need for remedial action. Statistics & quantitative performance indicators/statistical deviations Statistics & performance indicators/statistical deviations Statistics & performance indicators/statistical deviations
12. To ensure clarity and public accountability. Judgements (including reasons for decisions), sentences and case outcomes Investigations and case outcomes Prosecutions and case outcomes
13. To ensure correct use of public funds. Annual budgets Annual budgets Annual budgets
14. To ensure correct use of public funds. Annual expenditure Annual expenditure Annual expenditure
15. To ensure the integration and sustainment of transparency and accountability. Action taken and extent of progress towards civil society engagement, research, monitoring and public reporting. Action taken and extent of progress towards civil society engagement, research, monitoring and public reporting. Action taken and extent of progress towards civil society engagement, research, monitoring and public reporting.
16. To reveal and cross-check against official data, current patterns, trends, predictive variables and disparity levels in order to pinpoint systemic weaknesses; identify possible inconsistencies, inequality and corruption/improper influence; and document the scope and direction of needed reforms. Issue and ensure the completion of online 'user' questionnaires (anonymously if preferred) and the analysing of answers re. violations of due process, types of and costs of defence/litigation, awards/sentences, etc. Issue and ensure the completion of online 'user' questionnaires (anonymously if preferred) and the analysing of answers re. violations of due process, etc. Issue and ensure the completion of online 'user' questionnaires (anonymously if preferred) and the analysing of answers re. violations of due process, plea bargaining irregularities, etc.
17. To aid public monitoring and ensure personal accountability. Profiles of individual judges to include: salary, conflict of interest disclosure, wealth audits, training, career history, etc. Profiles of individual senior officers to include: salary, conflict of interest disclosure, wealth audits, training, career history, etc. Profiles of individual prosecutors to include: salary, conflict of interest disclosure, wealth audits, training, career history, etc.
For more information, contact OpenTrial This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Awareness, transparency and accountability change the law-society interface and dynamics, so that fair trials and equality before the law can become a reality through societal pressure. You can donate to our work here:

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10: "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him."

 

 

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