Stephen Schultze of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy has posted PACER, RECAP, and the Movement to Free American Case Law, on the VoxPopuLII Blog, published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.
In this post, Mr. Schultze describes the origins of RECAP, an innovative project to publicly disseminate U.S. federal court documents on the free Web. Mr. Schultze explains recent criticisms of PACER, the U.S. federal courts‘ fee-based documents database, and describes the efforts of technologists to improve public access to PACER documents.
Mr. Schultze shows how efforts to add the contents of PACER to the growing body of U.S. legal information available free of charge on the Internet constitute an implementation of the policy approach advocated by David Robinson et al. in their influential article, Government Data and the Invisible Hand. Mr. Schultze also relates the RECAP project to the Law.gov legal open government data project.
Mr. Schultze’s post will be of interest to developers of legal information systems, the transparency and free-access-to-law communities, the government information policy community, and all who are interested in improving public access to legal information.