Beinish: The new case management system would require restrictingpublic access to court records
Net Ha-Mishpat case management system, being implemented in the courts in Israel,enables direct access to all court records in the various courts, through the internet site of the courts authority.
Noam Sharvit, October 8, 2009
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Dorit Beinish, hints that there is a need to restrict theright to access court records, because of the intrusion into privacy of the parties andothers involved. She refers to Net Ha-Mishpat case management system, beingimplemented in the courts, which technologically enables direct access to all courtrecords in the various courts, through the internet site of the courts authority.The high court of justice rejected 12 years ago a petition filed by Attorney YaakovShimshi and the Israeli Association for Civil Liberties, challenging the constitutionalityof Regulation 4 of the Courts and Labor Court (Access to Court Records), which requireda person, who is not a party to the case to justify his request.The petition passed numerous transformations given the changes in the law, changes inthe positions of the Ministers of Justice, who have changed during that period, thepositions of other relevant authorities, and practical changes (implementation of theonline electronic case management system).Therefore, the petitions, represented by Attorney Dan Yakir, focused on theconstitutionality of Regulation 4. They argued that the Regulation undermines theconstitutional principle of public proceedings, established in Basic Law, The Judiciary.Therefore, the Regulation amounted to secondary legislations that contradicted the BasicLaw. Furthermore, they argued that the requirement for justification reflects a positionthat there is right of public access to court records to inspect and to copy.Chief Justice Beinish, with Justices Edmond Levy and Asher Grunis concurring, decidedthat the right of public access to court records is derived from the principle of publicproceedings, and therefore, the starting point is that public access should be permitted.She continued to state that the requesting person should succinctly reveal his purpose, inorder to enable the judge/clerk of the court to balance the right to access court recordswith the rights and interests of any objections, or the public at large.
Given the limited scope of the justification requirement (which the requester should beable to fulfill with no professional legal assistance), Beinish stated that the harm to theright of public access is very limited, and does not justify even the adjudication of whether it fulfils the “Limitation Paragraph” in
Basic Law Human Dignity and Liberty