The Justice Ministry should draft and subsequently publish a list of overloaded courts and allocate material and personnel reinforcements to these courts in order to remedy the situation of court backlogs, ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová said at a press conference on Tuesday, November 6. Dubovcová also urged the ministry to draft a long-term concept for the judiciary's development and to inform the public about specific measures designed to speed up court cases.
The Ombudswoman's Office drafted a report on unnecessary delays in court proceedings in Slovakia between 2008 and 2011 which analyses the reasons behind long and drawn out lawsuits. The report analysed some 400 files, based on complaints received during the period and materials provided by the Constitutional Court.
"The reason behind the delays, as explained by court chairs, is the high number of pending cases and understaffed courts. However, our investigation also revealed other causes, such as inefficient organisation of work at courts and the conduct of judges, which led to delays," said Dubovcová as quoted by the TASR newswire.
In similar cases, the ombudswoman wants to exercise her powers and point the courts' attention to delays caused by badly organised proceedings carried out by judges. If no correction takes place, Dubovcová will initiate a disciplinary proceeding against such judges. This course of action was previously unheard of, she claims. However, some delays are also caused for legitimate reasons. That is why the Justice Ministry should publish a list of overloaded courts and re-allocate necessary resources appropriately. "A quite common problem is the insufficient number of forensic experts," she conceded. Also, there is a lack of a comprehensive long-term concept for the judiciary's development, as new cabinets often cancel measures adopted by their predecessors and the judiciary stagnates as a result, Dubovcová concluded.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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7. Nov 2012 at 14:00