Thousands of cases to be settled out of court

Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Haris Kastanidis yesterday heralded a raft of measures aimed at ensuring that legal cases with implications for a large section of the population get processed swiftly and thousands of other cases get resolved out of court. Anticipating a barrage of appeals by unions and associations against pension and labor reforms voted through Parliament last week and against other austerity measures pledged by the debt-ridden government in exchange for a multibillion-euro loan, Kastanidis is planning the introduction of fast-track trials for cases affecting thousands of citizens, sources said. According to one planned provision, such trials would get to court within a maximum of four months. Another provision aims to promote out-of-court settlements for civil, commercial and employment disputes. Plaintiffs and defendants will have the opportunity to resolve their differences with the help of a special mediator. This mediator would be a lawyer who will have undergone special training, sources told Kathimerini. If the mediator manages to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of both parties, a final decision will be issued and submitted to the Court of First Instance, the sources said. There will also be a specific provision for criminal cases, particularly those of a financial nature, such as fraud, theft, embezzlement and usury. At the initiative of a prosecutor or one of the two parties involved, an attempt at conciliation will be made. If the two parties reach agreement, the prosecutor will compose an official report. This will then be forwarded to an appeals court prosecutor who can impose a penalty.

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