I am a fan of transparency — a word sadly apparently only recently gaining currently in the legal community.
Here is a chart generated on Google’s Ngram Viewer, showing the increase in the use of the words “openness” and “transparency” in books. You can see that takeoff started around 1950 for “openness” and around 1960 for “transparency.”
And there is a similar chart showing the increase in the use of the phrase “legal transparency,” with takeoff not till the mid 1990’s. (Obviously this is not a measure of how transparent the legal system is, merely of how frequently the phrase “legal transparency” is used — it might be used to mean the kind of transparency that other institutions have — but it is still suggestive.)
Recently there was a conference dedicated solely to the topic of transparency at Rutgers. There were 130 papers presented. I hope it is only ironic, not predictive, that the link to the full list of papers does not seem to work. However, there is a FreedomInfo.org report, with links to papers, on e-government and its problems. This contains a literature review of papers on government websites and transparency, that might be helpful to those thinking about court and legal system transparency. Other papers locatable through the FreedomInfo.org blog are of similar interest. Hopefully they will help us catch up.