Gov’t heralds swifter justice

Justice Minister Nikos Dendias yesterday heralded three measures that he said would be implemented «imminently» in order to speed up Greece’s painfully slow justice system, long burdened by a backlog of deferred cases. The first measure provides for the extension of court hours beyond the current closing time of 3 p.m. so that more cases can be heard daily, Dendias said. The second proposal seeks to restrict the vacation time for judges and judicial staff, in order to prevent courts virtually emptying between July 1 and September 15. Thirdly, Dendias announced the creation of a new Court of First Instance in Attica to take some of the heat off the capital’s current first-degree court, which alone handles around 300,000 criminal cases each year. The changes are to be ushered in next month by the new leadership of the Supreme Court.