The partial end of the lawyers’ strike on June 17 after almost six months is set to present the country’s overloaded justice system with the gargantuan task of sifting through a further 320,000 pending cases, which experts agree could have dire economic, social and institutional consequences.
Given that the total number of pending cases that have accumulated over the years is far higher at 700,000, justice officials say it could take between eight and 10 years before they go to trial.
The backlog created by the walkout by lawyers, protesting pension reform and the new tax bill, is expected to have an even greater impact on the country’s largest courts.
According to the head of the Athens Court of First Instance, Spyros Georgouleas, the ever-expanding list of untried cases will create “conditions of armageddon,” once the strike ends.
Apart from fostering an environment that is anything but conducive to luring in much-need foreign investment, the strike has held up thousands of civil cases, the high-profile Golden Dawn trial and major corruption scandal cases, depriving state coffers of revenues.
Some reports suggest authorities are mulling a massive write-off of cases to cope with what seems an insurmountable problem.