Gabriel Sipos, Samuel Spac, Peter Klatik
Both public and experts feel deep distrust toward the Slovak judiciary. According to the Transparency International's Global corruption Barometer poll from 2012, as many as 69% of respondents find Slovak judiciary corrupt. Moreover, 8% of households claim to have been asked for a bribe in courts in the past 12 months.
The judiciary is a relatively closed community. Very few people discuss the quality of judges or their rulings. Media often criticize judiciary as a whole, saying “the courts today decided” instead of “the judges X and Y ruled that…” Only five courts (out of 63) have even their own web pages. In effect, judges are far less accountable to public than politicians or government employees.
In summer 2013 we launched the Open Courts website (Otvorenesudy.sk), pooling together any public data on judges, including their verdicts, workload and the speed of decisions. In our first visualization drawn from our new portal's data, we show how much family connections matter in Slovak judiciary. Thanks to this work it is now clear that one in five judges has a close relative in judiciary. Eastern Slovakia is affected most, where every single court has at least one judge with another relative. Clicking on every court shows public who the judges with connections are. This enables them to ask questions about how the judges have been selected in the first place.
Final vote count