Judgments go online via Smith Bernal Web site

A FREE Internet service with details of all Court of Appeal and Crown Court judgments has been launched by official court reporters Smith Bernal.

Reports will be made available to the public on the same day that they are released by the judiciary via a service known as Casebase, which has been developed at a cost of between £250,000 and £500,000.

More than 600 transcripts will be added each month, and the service is to be backdated to April 1996.

It is the first time in the UK, and the second time in the world – the Australian government has paid for a similar service for its courts since 1995 – that this type of service has been provided.

Smith Bernal chief executive Graham Smith said the development was “inevitable” and would perform a “promotional” role for his company.

He explained that the purpose of the project was to interest the public in the law and enable, for example, the relatives of someone acting as a witness in a Crown Court trial to learn the outcome.

Smith Bernal launched Casetrack, a subscription-based case alerting, tracking and reporting service for lawyers, in January. It offers details of cases before judgment and gives the outcome on the day of judgment, with extra search facilities.