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Judicial Open Data in Spain

Barriers to taking next steps

The Spanish judicial sector is one of the most mature Open Data domains of the country. Legal professionals have been disclosing information (including jurisdiction) for a long period of time. For example, documentation from the Judicial Documentation Centre (CENDOJ) can be consulted freely, entailing decisions of the main judicial bodies. However, to future-proof legal Open Data, it is worth considering further data alignment and allowing for commercial use.

Opening up judicial data takes place in a complex stakeholder setting. In 2010, the Spanish General Council of the Judiciary approved regulation on reusing judgments and other judicial decisions, based on the Spanish Reuse of Public Sector Information Law 37/2007. However, this regulation was cancelled by the Supreme Court on 28 October 2011. The lack of a harmonised framework partially explains why Open Data developments are slowing down. Another explanation is that the availability of data depends on multiple sources, stemming from different legal institutions (judges and magistrates from various local and regional and national bodies). A third factor that hinders Spanish legal authorities to excel in Open Data, is the digitisation of the sector. Although many efforts have been made, there is still room left to strengthen the digitalisation of legal procedural management.

By stimulating Open Data, the Spanish legal domain enhances transparency and secures fundamental democratic rights. High quality data and consistent data management become even more crucial with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Importantly, advanced AI-driven analyses of legal files only assist judges in making profound decisions whenever the underlying data is reliable and well-structured. Facing other Open Data challenges yourself? Read more on Open Data barriers in our analytical report.

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