NEWS

Limits on deferrals, pointless lawsuits

New legislation package to speed up the administration of justice and improve trial efficiency

Limits on deferrals, pointless lawsuits

As part of the effort to tackle chronic drawbacks, the Justice Ministry is expected in the coming days to present a package of measures to speed up the administration of criminal justice.

While regulations regarding adjournments due to illness and lawyers’ unfulfilled commitments will be significantly stricter, the package of changes includes steps to deter frivolous litigation.

The composition of the courts will also change, and the time needed to prepare cases for trial will be cut in half in order to free up more human resources. The legislative initiative will be supported by modifications to the terms of release and the efficient execution of punishments.

The aim, according to Justice Minister Giorgos Floridis, is to ensure that citizens get justice quickly and effectively.

The package covers the entire spectrum of the criminal procedure, starting from the pre-prosecution stage and extending to the serving of sentences for all offenses, whether misdemeanors or felonies.

The changes will have an impact on thousands of citizens who are involved every year in court proceedings and have first-hand experience of the incredible delays, the adjournments upon adjournments, the stress about the timing of a decision and, not least, the frequent shortcomings in the administration of justice. 

If the judiciary, as argued in many quarters, is the great patient of the state, the criminal justice system has been in the anteroom of the intensive care unit for years. 

In order to prevent its outright collapse, the government is now attempting, as part of its pre-election pledges, to implement this package of far-reaching changes.   

Regarding the tsunami of complaints filed every year, the plan will ensure that unfounded or blatantly false lawsuits and those filed with malice or gross negligence will be shelved by the prosecutor. However, anyone who insists that their case should go ahead will have to pay a fee of €600.

As far as reducing postponements in criminal trials, only one adjournment will be given in the future, and will be for eight months at the most.

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