309. Acteurs publics - acteurs privés : concurrence et coopération en Europe. Zoom sur les approches de quelques pays : * L’exemple de Caselex comme synergie optimale pouvant être atteinte entre secteurs public et privé, fondée sur la compréhension mutuelle et d’intérêts partagés
Article mis en ligne le 12 décembre 2008 par MARTHINSEN Stig
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Acteurs publics - acteurs privés : concurrence et coopération en Europe. Zoom sur les approches de quelques pays : * L’exemple de Caselex comme synergie optimale pouvant être atteinte entre secteurs public et privé, fondée sur la compréhension mutuelle et d’intérêts partagés

Stig Marthinsen, Managing Director, Caselex S.a.r.l.

Mr Marthinsen, MBA, is the co-founder of Caselex. He holds more than 18 years of wide-ranging experiences in development and management of new media, eBusiness and eGovernment. Prior to Caselex, he has worked for the European Commission (EC) with specific emphasis on digital content and communications. He was instrumental in the set-up and development of the first web service of the EC, I*M Europe.

About Caselex

Caselex is the first premium information service providing access to the most important national and European case law linked to EU law. An easy to use online service holding exclusive case digests in English allows legal professionals to easily use foreign cases relevant to their work or study. Full texts and digests can be translated on demand. Caselex has won the European Information Association’s 2008 ‘EIA Award for excellence in European information provision (electronic sources category)’.

The legal publisher Caselex s.a.r.l., based in Luxembourg, rolls out its service in collaboration with Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica (Italy), Justis Publishing (UK), vLEX (Spain), JSC Leksinova (Lithuania) and APIS-Hristovich (Bulgaria). The service is supported by the European Commission, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the European Company Lawyers Association (ECLA) and the European Association of Judges.

Free access, access on charge : opposite or complementary access ?

The example of Caselex, as optimal synergy between private and public sectors, built on mutual understanding and shared interests

By Mr. Stig Marthinsen, co-founder and managing director of Caselex, Europe.


Caselex is a premium information service offering legal professionals easy access to the decisive inspiration and solutions of case law to practical legal issues linked to EU law.

As such its value proposition entails providing access to all important cross-border case law from Europe relevant to legal professionals’ work in commercial areas of law without need for multilingual and multinational legal skills. Consequently each case covered holds a substantial amount of value added to become meaningful for pan-European use.

The presentation will address the motivations behind the establishment of Caselex with a public private alliance fuelling the initial stage of the development. It will also look at questions whether or not a service like Caselex ought to be offered by the public or the private at a European level, and what are the tensions thereof leading to the mutual understanding that synergy between private and public is needed to progress in the interest of the society at large. The presentation will be exemplified through a demonstration of how Caselex has solved issues.
Key aspects of the private and public interests in Caselex are :

Private sector :
Strengthen core business
Develop identified business opportunity
Public investment support to private partners allowing testing out high risk service concept
Expand business networks
Improve operational environment
Access to, and re-use of, court cases
Skills development
Public sector :
Societal development
Transparency on the application of EU law
Enhancing legal certainty on the application of law, cementing trust in European institutes and rules
Stimulate European legal culture
Support to policy development
Lisbon strategy : Re-use of public sector information as an important source for economic growth
Pan-European access to case law on EU law
Testing the practical side of the PSI directive
Developing a platform for overcoming technical and practical barriers for re-use of cross-border case law – serving as best practice example fuelling additional initiatives
Operational benefits related to performance of public tasks
Enhanced quality of judiciary by allowing access to cross-border knowledge on application of EU law
Stimulate generation and sharing of knowledge among legal professionals
Reduce pressure on national and European courts
Support to evaluation of law and new policy developments
Is a service like Caselex to be offered by the public or the private ?

The tensions between private/commercial and public interest include :
Where does the public task end in terms of legal publishing ? What is the mandate and obligations of the courts/court services ?
Public task is in principle national dissemination – so what about European dissemination ?
How to divide the task of legal publishing between public and private players allowing re-use of legal information as an important source for economic growth ?
Public task ?
Task of national players in the country of the source ?
Open levelled playing field ? What about re-use conditions ?
Free access versus premium pay services ? What will best ensure eInclusion, and meeting the needs and usability requirements of the users ?
Practical barriers Caselex has dealt with

Practical barriers calling for value added activities going beyond the national dissemination tasks of the courts and the court services include :
Man versus machine : Making sense of the legal information for users across borders – the Caselex experience
Multilingualism – wanted but very expensive to master 20+ languages
Privacy – the case of anonymisation
Interoperability / use of standards – still in its infancy
National (administration) interoperability vs European legal information interoperability. Can the two interests be met ?
Financial and operational resources : Who shall pay for value added leading to dissemination outside own borders ?

Further complications are brought about by the fact that national public “business models” for legal information, including re-use conditions, are differing from country to country and not always in the spirit of the PSI Directive.
Shared interest in rolling out Caselex

Caselex represents ultimately a novel approach to an emerging market need and commercial opportunity in which the public interest is substantial. However the conditions for the public sector are not optimal in terms of running a service like Caselex. The other side of the coin is that there is a substantial commercial risk involved in being a frontrunner like Caselex, paving the way for the development of a European legal information market in which many users currently are not accustomed to using legal knowledge and solutions from abroad. Basically the user barriers are considered as significant as any other practical barriers described above.

The risk surrounding establishment and roll-out of new pan-European services like Caselex is calling for shared risk investment by the public and private in order to harvest mutual benefits.

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