Open Justice: Public Entrepreneurs Learn to Use New Technology to Increase the Efficiency, Legitimacy, and Effectiveness of the Judiciary

Open justice is a growing movement to leverage new technologies – including big data, digital platforms, blockchain and more – to improve legal systems by making the workings of courts easier to understand, scrutinize and improve. Through the use of new technology, open justice innovators are enabling greater efficiency, fairness, accountability and a reduction in corruption in the third branch of government. For example, the open data portal ‘Atviras Teismas’ Lithuania (translated ‘open court’ Lithuania) is a platform for monitoring courts and judges through performance metrics’. This portal serves to make the courts of Lithuania transparent and benefits both courts and citizens by presenting comparative data on the Lithuanian Judiciary.

To promote more Open Justice projects, the GovLab in partnership with the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary (TEPJF) of Mexico, launched an historic, first of its kind, online course on Open Justice. Designed primarily for lawyers, judges, and public officials – but also intended to appeal to technologists, and members of the public – the Spanish-language course consists of 10 modules.

Each of the ten modules comprises:

  1. A short video-based lecture
  2. An original Open Justice reader
  3. Associated additional readings
  4. A self-assessment quiz
  5. A demonstration of a platform or tool
  6. An interview with a global practitioner

Among those featured in the interviews are Felipe Moreno of Jusbrasil, Justin Erlich of OpenJustice California, Liam Hayes of Aurecon, UK, Steve Ghiassi of Legaler, Australia, and Sara Castillo of Poder Judicial, Chile.

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Articulate the value-proposition for open justice;
  • Understand the different types of open justice projects;
  • Understand the basics of new open government strategies, including evidence-based decision-making, open innovation and crowdsourcing as they apply to courts;
  • Understand data science techniques and tools that can be applied to transform data to information and insights;
  • Explain real-life examples of open justice projects from around the world and how they were implemented;
  • Identify the benefits and risks of collecting, processing, using and sharing judicial data; and,

Above all, the course is designed to encourage more people to become open justice innovators and advocates and know how to develop and design an open justice project or policy.

The course launched on Jan 14, 2019 with 180 Mexican public officials participating. A second edition of the course will then take place between April 15th and May 26th.

Participants who successfully complete the program will be eligible for coaching on their own open justice projects by the Governance Lab.

The course will be repeatedly offered in Spanish with plans to launch an English and Portuguese versions this summer.