One million court cases postponed

Go-slow action by judges and prosecutors since September has resulted in more than one million cases being postponed, adding to a massive backlog that has built up in the country’s courts over the years, Kathimerini understands.

Hundreds of thousands of civil and criminal cases have reportedly been frozen and thousands more are expected to be put off after judges and prosecutors decided to extend their rolling walkouts until January 19, escalating their protest at fresh cuts to their salaries imposed by the government as part of new austerity measures demanded by the country’s foreign creditors.

The protracted action is believed to have deprived the cash-strapped state of millions of euros in much-needed revenue as countless cases regarding tax arrears as well as offenses where convictions are translated into financial penalties have been postponed.

All the country’s courts have joined the walkouts apart from the Supreme Court and the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, which is pursuing legal action on behalf of its judges.

Last Sunday, judges and prosecutors voted to extend their work-to-rule protest until January 19 despite the government’s offer of concessions that would have softened the blow of the reductions. Supreme Court president Rena Asimakopoulou and Supreme Court prosecutor Yiannis Tentes had addressed their colleagues before the vote in a bid to change their mind to no avail. Tentes had asked his colleagues to “lower their gaze to society and heed the demand of citizens for judicial functionaries to contribute to curbing tax evasion and widespread lawlessness.”