The government yesterday presented draft legislation meant to accelerate court procedures, encourage litigants to settle for compensation instead of prosecuting and keep superficial cases from wasting judges’ time. «Under the current system, and once all options of delay have been exhausted by the involved parties… a criminal case can even take over 10 years,» Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos told a press conference. The new bill allows trials to be postponed no more than twice, while preliminary investigations will be held into all lawsuits, before any charges are pressed, to ascertain whether the cases should reach court. Furthermore, preliminary investigations will not exceed 10 months in duration. And cases concerning misdemeanors such as damages to property, profiteering, usury and fraud, will be settled out of court with the payment of compensation.