The Cayman Islands court system has made progress in its efforts to digitize its court records, and online registries are expected to be in place at some point in January of next year. The court system had originally hoped to have the digitized records available to the public by the end of December.
Court administrator Suzanne Bothwell said Tuesday that the court system hopes to have the digitization done by January, and people will not need a user name or password to see the register online.
“Our intention is that the registers will be publicly available for viewing,” said Ms. Bothwell of bringing Cayman’s court records into the digital age. “This will be a free service. Payment [is] only required for purchasing of documents. This purchase arrangement will be subject to approval by Cabinet.”
The idea for digital access to court records came in the aftermath of a dispute about which records should be available to the public. The Cayman court system notified the public earlier this year that only handwritten notes could be taken when inspecting court records in person, and the court briefly dictated that photocopying records would be prohibited without permission from the clerk of court.
That policy was short-lived, and the court aired concerns about outside publications making a profit by publishing court registries for their paying customers. The courts no longer appear to be concerned about copyright of court registries, though, and aim to increase the public’s access to records.
“Members of the public will have free viewing access to daily postings of the court registers for the years 2017-2009, on the open part of the site,” said Ms. Bothwell of the court’s website at www.judicial.ky. “This forms part of the Court’s initiative [to] provide wider access of court records to the public.”
Visitors to the court’s website are already able to access cause lists, court rules and court hours and locations, and Ms. Bothwell said Cayman is following the lead of several other jurisdictions that have made their court records available online in recent years. Publishing court records online may also allow the court to cut down on the amount of paper it uses to publish daily cause lists during the year.
“Moving forward, we can focus on providing electronic registers for public consumption,” said Ms. Bothwell of improving the court’s efficiency. “Our goal is also to make the registers viewable at a kiosk at the court office…, if members of the public do not have access to a computer at home.”