Open Justice in Latin America?: An Assessment Framework for Judiciary Portals in 2015

Open Justice in Latin America?: An Assessment Framework for Judiciary Portals in 2015

Rodrigo Sandoval-Almazán (Universidad Autonoma del Estado de México, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0717-8.ch012
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Abstract

The new trend of information technology and communications has been adopted by court systems. A similar path follows other powers in the republics: executive branches with e-government portals and legislative branches with informative and participatory portals. Despite the fact that technology has reached the judiciary branch, we know very little about the changes, advantages or disadvantages of this adoption. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the use of technology, especially in the websites portals in the Latin America region. An assessment model, which has been developed by Sandoval and Gil-García (2015) and that has four components: information, interaction, integration and participation, has been implemented on a sample of 25 countries during the month of July, 2015. Findings reveal a great disparity among the different countries in the region.
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Introduction

Currently, most agencies, departments, and government offices have some integration with technology. This Internet-centrism trend explained by Morozov, (2014) has induced judicial branches to adopt technology in order to become more effective. Also, the open government worldwide trend creates new needs to manage information and to open their processes and data to the public, being this another reason to use information technology in judiciary information.

It is commonly accepted that government offices in the executive branch use ICT’s which includes both, services and policies (Deb, 1999). This e-government trend has been studied at national and local levels. Many scholars have promoted efforts to assess electronic government implementation and uses with different perspectives and indicators; most of them having been developed in the last decade (Scholl, 2010).

The e-government assessment evaluation has been implemented to differentiate between executive portals, judiciary portals and legislative portals. A first attempt was made by Sandoval and Gil-García (2010) in order to produce a distinction among these as shown in Table 1.

Table 1.
Distinction on e-government portals
E-Government Portals (Federal and Local)Legislative WebsitesJudicial Websites
ObjectiveSharing information and transactionalInformation and interactionInformation
UsefulnessReduction of time and transactionsPrecise information and legislative debate of billsTimely information
Relationship with the citizenIntegralBidirectionalBidirectional
Value AddedEfficiency and imageSocial participation and public imageImage and openness
Offered ServicesPayment of taxes, discussion forums, training, videos, information about procedures, training, information sharing among agencies, collaboration, citizen interactionLaws updating, congressman interaction with citizens; civic culture, online debatesUpdated laws, lawyers interaction, training, online debates, legal actions, updated legal information. Legal interaction
Citizen participationInteractive, payments, collection of informationDebate and discussion, overview of informationPassive role, accountability of information

Source: Sandoval-Almazán and Gil-García (2010) page 100.

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