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October 28 2013

Criminal Record May Soon Be A Click Away

"Finding out someone's criminal history could soon be as easy as clicking a button, under major changes to improve public access to court documents. Justice Minister Judith Collins said the current system, where people often have to apply in writing to the courts for access to information, is ""completely insane"". She wants all decisions online once the courts have completed a move to an electronic operating model next year. The documents would effectively act as a public register of criminals, improve public safety, and make the court process more open. Collins accepts some groups will ""scream and cry"" about the plan, but believes there is overwhelming public interest in making the information available. Court of Appeal and nearly all Supreme Court and High Court decisions since 2005 are published online. The public can apply in writing to receive a copy of a District Court judgment. However, a lot of criminal decisions are recorded, but not transcribed unless they are needed for official purposes, largely because of a lack of resources."