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Publication des jugements inédits grâce aux nouvelles technologies : un nouvel enjeu pour la Common Law

samedi 22 septembre 2007, par Stephane Cottin

Je ne vante pas assez les mérites des sélections d’articles thématiques faites par le SSRN - LSN (Social Science Research Network - Legal Science Network

Dans une des dernières livraisons d’une de mes sélections préférées, celle des professeurs Arterian et Paul, la Legal Education Abstracts, Vol. 4, No. 32 : September 20, 2007, on trouve notamment l’article de Claire Germain, Legal Information Management in a Global and Digital Age : Revolution and Tradition
International Journal of Legal Information, Vol. 35, p. 134, Summer 2007, Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-005, déjà cité sur ce blog La formation au droit (et à la recherche juridique) en ligne sur le SSRN.

Mais surtout on y évoque un sujet très sensible pour la Common Law et les nouvelles pratiques de diffusion en ligne permises par les nouvelles technologies et que ne contrôlent plus les pouvoirs publics. On rappellera en effet que la Common Law (le droit anglo-saxon pour simplifier, donc celui des Etats-Unis en particulier) est basé essentiellement sur le principe du précédent [1] : ce sont les juges (élus) qui font le Droit et, quand des faits identiques sont rencontrés, le rôle des avocats est de trouver le précédent pour que le juge l’applique. D’où l’intérêt primordial de la publication de ces précédents, et l’image d’Epinal des séries américaines avec des kilomètres de rayonnages de recueils de jurisprudence.

Or, tout ne peut pas être publié papier, ni même sur Internet. Mais le champ des arrêts publié évolue sans cesse, posant des problèmes de politiques jurisprudentielles de plus en plus insolubles pour le respect de l’indispensable sécurité juridique.

Ce dernier article fait partie d’une longue série (voir plus loin) sur le même thème et évoque l’opportunité de publier les arrêts d’appel (de Districts Courts) américains.

"Making the Law : Unpublication in the District Courts"

Villanova Law Review, Forthcoming

Contact : HILLEL Y. LEVIN
Stanford Law School

Full Text : http://ssrn.com/abstract=1006101

ABSTRACT : In recent years, scholars have engaged the issue of
systematic unpublication of judicial opinions in the appellate
courts and the problems its poses for judicial accountability and
transparency. And not just scholars. Indeed, all elements of the
legal profession have weighed in. Judges have issued dueling
precedent on the constitutionality of unpublication and traded
polemical statements on its appropriateness ; and practitioners,
whose voices often seem lost, or at least muted, on issues like
this, are in the thick of the debate. The debate has even spurred
a change in the rules of appellate procedure, albeit a relatively
minor (though still highly contested) one.

Unfortunately, amid all of this talk about unpublication on the
appellate courts, the practice of unpublication in the district
courts has gone essentially unnoticed.

In this Article, I address the issue of unpublication in the
district courts from a normative perspective for the first time.
I draw from the rich parallel literature regarding appellate
court publication practices, but argue that unpublication in the
district court context raises an even broader set of concerns. My
argument rests on two fundamental points. First, district courts
play a unique institutional role in our system of adjudication,
one that gives district judges exceptional power to make and
shape the law. Indeed, from the perspective of a realist,
district judges have even greater control over the law than do
their appellate counterparts, and yet they often operate free
from appellate oversight and public scrutiny. Second, in contrast
to the appellate context, where even "unpublished" opinions are
usually available for public review, in the district court
context, "unpublished" opinions effectively disappear from the
public’s view. Thus, district courts, the central location of
lawmaking in our system, are rendered opaque, and our district
judges unaccountable.

The consequences of this opacity and unaccountability are
serious. From the perspective of the legal academic,
unpublication erects serious epistemological barriers ; we cannot
accurately describe, let alone assess, the law as it really is.
This, in turn, has led to an unduly formalistic and distorted
account of the law and of the district courts for ourselves and
our students. But the epistemological problems are not merely the
concern of those of us who study and critique judicial behavior
for a living ; there is a deep and fundamental problem with a
system that creates a body of law and norms that are unknowable
to the people they govern. And, from a practical standpoint,
unpublication by district courts deprives district and appellate
judges, attorneys, and those who are governed by district courts,
of information about the law, distorting its development. Worse,
it potentially operates to disadvantage already marginalized
groups and presents judges with the opportunity to manipulate the
law in unprincipled ways.

liste d’articles de la SSRN traitant du problème de la citation de décisions de justice non publiées.

The Shape of the Universe : The Impact of Unpublished Opinions on the Process of Legal Research
New York Law School Law Review, Forthcoming
William R. Mills
New York Law School - Library
Date Posted : November 30, 2002

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The Citation of Unpublished Opinions in the Federal Courts of Appeals
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-15, Fordham Law Review, Vol. 74, No. 23, 2005
Patrick J. Schiltz
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)
Date Posted : November 3, 2005

Much Ado about Little : Explaining the Sturm und Drang Over the Citation of Unpublished Opinions
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-14, Washington Lee Law Review, Vol. 62, p. 1429, 2005
Patrick J. Schiltz
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)
Date Posted : April 28, 2006

Making Unpublished Opinions Precedential : A Recipe for Ethical Problems Legal Malpractice ?
Mississippi College Law Review, Forthcoming
Andrew T. Solomon
South Texas College of Law
Date Posted : August 27, 2007

The Birth of the Unpublished Public Domain and Its International Implications
Cardozo Arts Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 24, November 2006
Elizabeth Townsend Gard
Tulane Law School
Date Posted : August 8, 2006

The Perils of Unpublished Non-precedential Federal Appellate Opinions : A Case Study of the Substantive Due Process State-Created Danger Doctrine in One Circuit
Washington Law Review, Vol. 81, p. 217, 2006
Sarah E. Ricks
State University of New Jersey - School of Law
Date Posted : July 3, 2006

Judicial Triage : Reflections on the Debate over Unpublished Opinions
Duke Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 100, Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 878104, Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 878104, Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 62, 2005
David Vladeckand G. Mitu Gulati
Georgetown University - Law Center and Duke University - School of Law
Date Posted : January 26, 2006

The Binding Force of Babel : The Enforcement of EC Law Unpublished in the Languages of the New Member States (Extended Version)
Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, Vol. 9, 2006-2007
Michal Bobek
European University Institute
Date Posted : June 26, 2007

Citation of Unpublished Opinions as Precedent
Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 55, p. 1235, 2004
Martha Dragich Pearson
University of Missouri at Columbia - School of Law
Date Posted : August 7, 2006

No-Citation Rules Under Siege : A Battlefield Report and Analysis
Journal of Appellate Practice and Process, Vol. 5, No. 2, Fall 2003
Stephen R. Barnett
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law (Boalt Hall)
Date Posted : January 9, 2004

The Dog that did not Bark : No-Citation Rules, Judicial Conference Rulemaking, and Federal Public Defenders
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 800727, Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 4, 2005
Stephen R. Barnett
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law (Boalt Hall)
Date Posted : September 15, 2005

Making the Law : Unpublication in the District Courts
Villanova Law Review, Forthcoming
Hillel Y. Levin
Stanford Law School
Date Posted : August 14, 2007

Sorcerer’s Apprentices : How Judicial Clerks and Staff Attorneys Impoverish U.S. Law
Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2006-19, Arizona State Law Journal, Vol. 39, 2007
Penelope Pether
Villanova University School of Law
Date Posted : October 11, 2006

Strategic Judicial Lawmaking : Ideology, Publication, and Asylum Law in the Ninth Circuit
University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 73, p. 817, Spring 2005
David S. Law
University of San Diego - School of Law
Date Posted : October 13, 2004

The Law is not the Case : Incorporating Empirical Methods into the Culture of Case Analysis
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 05-39, Journal of Law and Public Policy, 2006
Kay L. Levine
Emory University School of Law
Date Posted : December 13, 2005

’Une Chose Publique’ ? The Author’s Domain and the Public Domain in Early British, French and US Copyright Law
Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 06-120, Cambridge Law Journal, November 2006
Jane C. Ginsburg
Columbia Law School
Date Posted : September 8, 2006

The Bluebook at Eighteen : Reflecting and Ratifying Current Trends in Legal Scholarship
Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 06-17, Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 82, 2006
Christine Hurt
University of Illinois College of Law
Date Posted : March 23, 2006

Notes

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