Our server is currently rebuilding Judgmental. Therefore the judgments are unavailable for the moment, but we should be back soon, new and improved.

About Judgmental

"Open justice is one of the oldest principles of English law, going back to before Magna Carta." — Justice Tugendhat, Terry v Person Unknown [2010] EWHC 119 (QB)

But do we have digital open justice? We don't think so. It is a simple truth that to be able to obey the law, you have to be able to find out what it is. And it would useful to be able to find that out online.

While court judgments are available via Bailii, and HMCS publishes some listings, much is still digitally inaccessible - and what is there is difficult to navigate.

Who and what is Judgmental?

Judgmental is a group who aim to make United Kingdom case law available, searchable and usable.

We are @Judgmentals on Twitter.

judgmental.org.uk was created by Francis Irving, James Cranch and Nick Bull, with advice and support from Francis Davey, Judith Townend, Stefan Magdalinski and others.

Why not just use the BAILII website?

Bailii's "invaluable" database (source, International Forum for Responsible Media Blog) has quite a few limitations (eg. http://www.bailii.org/robots.txt)

judgmental.org.uk has a significant advantage over the BAILII website, because you will be able to search it using normal search engines such as Google.

This means that people who haven't already heard of BAILII, such as ordinary members of the public, will be able to find case law with normal searches.

Who owns the copyright on this?

Ha ha, now there's a question. Nobody knows. Here's what the bar council have to say:

The position regarding copyright in court judgments is not, however, entirely clear. The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI), is part of the National Archives and manage all copyrights owned by the Crown on Her Majesty's behalf. Copyright material which is produced by employees of the Crown in the course of their duties and therefore most material originated by ministers and civil servants is protected by Crown copyright. There is no definitive view on whether court judgments are Crown copyright. Although OPSI, following advice from the Treasury Solicitor, take the view that copyright in court judgments rests with the Crown, in that judges are officers or servants of the Crown and their judgments are delivered in the course of their duties, this is not a universally held view and it can be argued that judges act independently of the Crown and that copyright in court judgments rest with individual judges. OPSI's position is that insofar as judgments are Crown copyright it is content for them to be re-used free of charge and without requiring prior clearance providing the source is acknowledged.
Consideration would need to be given to the rights of reporters and journalists as published editions of judgments attract copyright protection in the typographical arrangement of their published editions although not in the judgment itself. Reporters may also seek copyright protection for additional content such as head notes and other commentary.

What next?

Vast hoards of case law data are still locked away or only released via paid-for services. The battle to open up the UK courts continues!

Why doesn't it have an 'e" in it?

"Judgment" is the usual spelling for an act of legal adjudication, and is similarly used in the Bible, eg Day of Judgment. "Judgement" is used in the wider sense, for instance when referring to someone as having "sound judgement".

Outside the UK, "judgment" is often the accepted spelling for both senses.