Open access to court data is a necessary prerequisite for equal justice under the law. Without open and equal access to the law, including court documents and data from PACER, our legal system cannot fully operate as intended to provide all who interact with the federal courts the same level of access to justice.
The paywall that PACER has erected and maintained that prevents open access to court data has stifled innovation in the legal industry and obfuscated the transparency needed for accountability in our courts. It also flies in the face of the Supreme Court of the United States’ recent ruling in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, which held that “no one can own the law” and admonished the pay-per-law services States have instituted to monetize their legislative materials.
To keep the conversation going on why open PACER data is so important not just to those in the legal profession, but also to consumers and businesses alike, UniCourt is hosting our first ever Twitter Chat next week, on October 15th from 12-1 pm EST. Please join us and engage in the conversation with the hashtag #UniCourtChats.
During our Twitter Chat next week, we’ll cover a range of topics surrounding open PACER data, and we want to hear from you! Here’s a preview of some of the questions and subjects we’ll touch on:
- How can open PACER data improve access to justice?
- What’s the Open Courts Act of 2020 and why does it matter?
- What are your predictions on how the pandemic will affect the open PACER data movement?
- Who are some of your favorite open data advocates?
In addition to creating an open discussion for sharing ideas and thoughts on open PACER data, UniCourt will also highlight the PACER Collective we founded to improve access to court data. We’ll share more about what the PACER Collective is and isn’t, why we formed it, and we’ll also give a shout out to some of our excellent partners like Justia and Fastcase who are working with us to increase the availability of PACER data for the public.