Wednesday, September 13, 2006

McGarr Solicitors and public access to court files

McGarr Solicitors have a new website which has two firsts for Irish solicitors - they're the first firm of Irish solicitors to have a blog (surprisingly Irish barristers have put down their quills and been to the front here), and (more significantly) they've been the first to make some court documents publicly available on their web site.

Court documents in Ireland currently exist in a legal limbo - although justice must be administered in public, the practice has been to limit access to the court file. This is so even though every document in the file might have been read out in open court, and even though there is no rule prohibiting disclosure of the contents. Consequently if you as a member of the public wish to see the papers in a case you are dependent on the good will of the parties. This is unlike other jurisdictions such as the United States, where it is generally presumed that court documents are public documents in the same way that the proceedings themselves are public. I've long felt that the Irish practice is far too restrictive, and it's good to see solicitors making it easier to view these documents.

1 comment:

  1. In fairness the pleadings on the site relate to the DRI case, most if not all clients would be very reluctant to put up pleadings.