Huge backlog cripples courts

Despite a slew of measures taken by the government over the past five years to curb a debilitating backlog of cases in the country’s administrative courts, nearly half a million cases remain pending, sources have revealed. The courts have 415,819 outstanding cases while it is estimated that each of these cases takes an average of eight years to be resolved from the moment that legal action is initiated to the announcement of the final verdict. According to sources these cases chiefly relate to claims regarding salaries, pensions and benefits. It is thought that the backlog began to grow in 2002 following a decision by the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, which ruled that the imposition of income ceilings by employers was unconstitutional. Justice Ministry data made public in March showed that every year between 100,000 and 130,000 cases go to the Court of First Instance. Of these just 85,000 are heard, meaning that some 35,000 remain pending, adding to the existing backlog.