The judgment, findings, and evidence of judicial proceedings and legal reasoning of the judgment must be made public except in cases involving juveniles and/or matrimonial disputes.
- In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
- Any judgment rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.
- Even in cases in which the public is excluded from the trial, the judgment, including the essential findings, evidence and legal reasoning must be made public, except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires, or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.
- Each Party may limit the right of access to official documents. Limitations shall be set down precisely in law, be necessary in a democratic society and be proportionate to the aim of protecting: a. national security, defence and international relations; b. public safety; c. the prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal activities; d. disciplinary investigations; e. inspection, control and supervision by public authorities; f. privacy and other legitimate private interests; g. commercial and other economic interests; h. the economic, monetary and exchange rate policies of the State; i. the equality of parties in court proceedings and the effective administration of justice; j. environment; or k. the deliberations within or between public authorities concerning the examination of a matter. Concerned States may, at the time of signature or when depositing their instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, declare that communication with the reigning Family and its Household or the Head of State shall also be included among the possible limitations. 2. Access to information contained in an official document may be refused if its disclosure would or would be likely to harm any of the interests mentioned in paragraph 1, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure. 3. The Parties shall consider setting time limits beyond which the limitations mentioned in paragraph 1 would no longer apply.
- a) All information regarding judicial proceedings shall be accessible to the public, except information or documents that have been specifically determined by judicial officials not to be made public. b) States must ensure that proper systems exist for recording all proceedings before judicial bodies, storing such information and making it accessible to the public. c) All decisions of judicial bodies must be published and available to everyone throughout the country. d) The cost to the public of obtaining records of judicial proceedings or decisions should be kept to a minimum and should not be so high as to amount to a denial of access.
- g. Judgment should be pronounced in public. h. Reasons should be given for the judgment. Tribunals should indicate with sufficient clarity the grounds on which they base their decisions.
- Article 6 [of the ECHR] states that judgment shall be pronounced publicly. This provision is not subject to any exceptions of the kind permitted under the rule that hearings should be held in public. It is however also intended to contribute to a fair trail through public scrutiny.
- Publication of reasoned decisions also allows the public to see how the body came to its conclusion and should alleviate any concerns of biased or arbitrary decision-making.
- Decisions on any complaint or appeal should be in writing, clear and fully reasoned, stating the legal and factual grounds, including the evidence on which they are based.
- The principle of thorough investigation is important for ensuring that any action taken in response to a dispute or allegation is based on sound evidence.
- Any decisions taken by internal bodies that may affect human rights, such as the right to political participation, must be duly substantiated and legally motivated.
- The duty to substantiate the judgment constitutes part of the right to defense since the interested party can only appeal the decision adequately if he can refute the legal grounds on which the decision is based.