‘Lame’ justice offered a crutch

Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras presented to Parliament yesterday a draft law intended to radically accelerate the course of awarding justice in a nation of highly litigious citizens, who table some 500,000 lawsuits annually. Papaligouras described the current pace of justice as «unacceptably slow,» amounting to a major social problem. «In Greece, justice is pictured as blind, while its main distinguishing feature is its severe lameness,» the minister told Parliament during the opening debate on the bill – which is also intended to boost defendants’ rights and decongest Greece’s crowded prisons by allowing more favorable terms for early release and decriminalizing certain offenses. Papaligouras voiced hopes that the new, 10-euro charge the law ordains for tabling lawsuits will discourage frivolous litigation. He said some 500,000 lawsuits are tabled every year in Greek courts, with 210,000 in Athens courts of first instance alone. Judges and prosecutors have voiced strong opposition to several aspects of the bill.