All court rulings in criminal cases will be disclosed to the public, starting next year, as part of the judiciary branch's efforts to bring transparency and fairness to the legal system, the Supreme Court said Wednesday.
All courts here, including the appellate and highest courts, will be obliged to provide access for citizens to the texts of their rulings in all criminal cases via online or offline, the top court said, noting the system will be expanded to civil cases from 2015.
So far, the Supreme Court makes public the verdicts of "major cases" online on a case-by-case basis, and those who want to have details of a case need to make a separate request, causing inconvenience to the public and controversy over rulings' transparency and the public rights to know.
The highest court said it will devise relevant rules within the year for the official launch of the system next year. From 2014, details about evidence and relevant documents for a criminal case ruling will also be available both via online and offline, it added.
"The decision follows last year's law revision to disclose all details about the rulings," a court official said. "We are pushing to open all court rulings on civilian cases starting in 2015."
To protect the privacy of those directly involved in a case, names in the judgment will go anonymous, he added.
"The disclosure will allow the public to see how judges rule differently over each case, which is expected to boost transparency in the legal system and better protect victims' rights and interests," said Roh Young-hee, a spokesman of the Korean Bar Association.