New bill aims to slash backlog of court cases

The Justice Ministry yesterday tabled a new bill intended to reduce Greek courts’ debilitating backlog of cases by banning more than two postponements of hearings and encouraging out-of-court settlement for misdemeanors. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said the amendments, if approved by Parliament, could trim one-third off the time required for the administration of justice. Under the lumbering current system, which allows infinite postponements, cases can take over 10 years to be fully tried. The bill allows for only two postponements of hearings, and offers judges the alternative of adjourning a case for up to 15 days. Full investigations will not be carried out in felony cases, while preliminary investigations – which now can take up to two years – will last no more than 10 months.

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