CCCT Court Web Site Guidelines – Some Complexities Underlying Court Web Sites – the Administrative Control of Court Web Sites
The administrative control of court web sites can be a sensitive issue, because it often cuts across the independence of the Judiciary and resources of the Executive. In consideration of this issue, we felt that our guidelines had to address the issue. The following text is our draft on topic.
All stakeholders and practitioners in the Justice system are well aware of the constitutional division of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judicial functions in Canadian society. In practice however, when it comes to routine court administration, cooperation exists and is needed between the judiciary and government.
Court web sites are a good example of this needed cooperation. Who is or should be responsible for their operation, including funding? Who should have approval authority for the content published in court web sites? Who should decide the fundamental questions of how the site should evolve? Some of these questions are difficult to answer.
The CCCT acknowledges that different models of cooperation exist in Canada in relation to the administration of court web sites. At the same time however, it is not necessary for the CCCT to recommend a specific model of cooperation between the judiciary and governments when it comes to modernization of court web sites. These guidelines make the assumption that someone, or a small group of persons, is ultimately responsible for the court web site. The small group of persons may include members of the judiciary and of the executive branch. Collectively, this small group of persons is empowered to follow and apply the current guidelines, to the extent desired for their court.
In short, although the CCCT acknowledges the delicate issue of administrative control of court web sites, at the same time, the CCCT suggests that modernization of court web sites along the guidelines do not require any “resolution” of that issue, and considers every court and tribunal in a better position to decide how to apply the current guidelines under their cooperation model.