In the context of RE-TREAT project, research on the treatment of victims of sexual crimes has started in May in three southern European countries: Greece, Spain and Italy. One of the lines of the work will be oriented towards the analysis of relevant judgments handed down by the Supreme Courts of these countries in relation to victims of sexual crimes.
In Spain, the Judicial Power has its own case-law database, the CENDOJ database (“Centro de Documentación Judicial”) which contains all the judicial decisions issued by the Supreme Court, as well as the ones given by most of the courts (High Courts of Justice, Provincial Courts -Court of Appeal-, Criminal Courts). It does not usually include the resolutions delivered by Instruction Courts. This public database allows the search to be filtered using criteria such as: number of resolution or appeal, jurisdictions (civil, criminal, administrative, labour or military), year in which the decision was issued and the meaning of the judgment, among others. However, CENDOJ does not allow for filtering the gender of age of the victim or aggressor or the crime committed.
On the other hand, in Spain there are other case-law databases – which are paid for – and belong to prestigious legal publishers. The most prominent are, for example, Aranzadi, Tirant Lo Blanch, V-Lex or La Ley Wolters Kluwer España. Each of these databases has specialities, but in general they allow access to criminal jurisprudence in a similar way as the public database.
Finally, it is important to mention that all the resolutions available in these databases safeguard the confidentiality or privacy of the personal data of the persons involved.
Covid-19 pandemia and consequential lockdown blocked free admission to courts, legal offices and in general to their archives in Italy.
For the time being, Italian judicial system is working with safety measures, trying to get through backlogs of work and limiting access to facilities.
For this reason, developing a qualitative research instead of a quantitative one was an unavoidable choice.
Police and Prosecutor files as well as judicial records are still not available to be analyzed: the only digital archives available online are those of the Italian Supreme Court (the Corte di Cassazione): ItalGiure.
The opening of the archives of the civil and criminal judgments of the Court of Cassation to free consultation by the citizen is consistent with the objective of making the justice service more transparent and usable, pursued in the creation of the new site; it also responds to a need reported by citizens and lawyers.
In Greece there is only one case-law database. This on-line case-law database is called “Nomos” and includes all the judicial cases, decisions and resolutions issued to the Greek Supreme Court. In this database, in some cases, the decisions and resolutions of most of the courts (High Courts of Justice, Provincial Courts, Court of Appeal, Criminal Courts) are mentioned.
The reference of these decisions and resolutions is not mandatory and it depends on the reasons issued by the Supreme Court. In most of the cases, the “Nomos” database includes the decisions taken by Supreme Court and some special characteristics of the crime, the evidence, the victim and the perpetrator as well. At the same time, the database takes into consideration and protects the confidentiality and the privacy of victims. All the available information are carefully selected so as not to betray the identity of the victim. This database allows the search to be filtered using criteria such as the common expressions, the legal and
judicial terms, their legal synonyms and the corresponding judicial decisions. There are also available links that allow the interconnection of all the statutes in the jurisprudence. However, “Nomos” does not allow the search to be based on the age or other characteristics of the victim and/ or the perpetrator. This database is addressed explicitly to legal and judicial professionals -only by payment and personal, security codes- and it is not available to the public.