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Portugal’s justice system is the slowest in Europe

justiceA report out today that reviews justice systems in the EU has concluded that Portugal has come top in the time wasting stakes as its justice system beats all other members for the average period taken to wrap up court cases.

The time taken to resolve the civil cases analysed between 2010 and 2012 was so great that the classification for Portugal was almost off the scale with members of the public having to undergo waits of between 900 and 1,100 days before cases were concluded.

Perversely, the Portuguese system scored well on computerisation, so well in fact that it topped the chart on various of the parameters used but this seems to be of little benefit to the public.

Again, on the plus side the system in Portugal was judged as ‘having independence.’

The ‘Justice in the Union Scoreboard’ showed that in 2013 no judge was transferred to other functions without his or her consent, except due to disciplinary action or reorganisation.  This is used as a sign of health in any justice system.

This report is along the same lines at the February 2015 interim findings of Gabriela Knaul, UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, who concluded that Portugal’s justice system was "slow, expensive and difficult to comprehend," where the poor are marginalised, the courts are underfunded and for legal aid cases, "it can take up to a year for a person to get a lawyer."

The new computer system to manage casework more efficiently was launched last September and when it started to function six weeks later may well have speeded up cases to the relief of the Minister of Justice Paula Teixeira whose job looked very shaky for a while.

A well run and efficient justice system is one of the key parameters that foreign investors look at when deciding where to set up shop. Currently, with Portugal at the very bottom of the list for timely resolution of cases, many will be opting for other EC countries.


-11 #5 mm 2015-03-12 16:20
I see that the resident paper reports that 160 people are being sent to Portugal from Angola to learn how to be judges-prosecutors etc etc..quote from article says

"Like Portugal, Angola is currently trying to “redraw the judicial map” and promote justice throughout its territory."

no doubt they will learn much!! ;-) ;-)
-6 #4 liveaboard 2015-03-12 10:37
The moribund court system is at the root of many of the problems faced by the country.
When a case can be staved off for 20 years, there is little to deter corruption, public and private.
Contracts are practically worthless.
Business is lost due to these factors, along with jobs and investment.
An efficient and balanced justice system is the first requirement for a prosperous state.
-9 #3 Mildred 2015-03-12 08:30
This report is totally wrong ! As the Troika routinely found out with Portugal - so often the first replies to their enquiries were inadequate or intentionally misleading ! So they had to ask again.

This has not happened here. Any foreigner who has been within a mile of a Portuguese Tribunal must know that their case against a 'local' in a 'local' court will fail. Everyone plans for it to fail by not calling witnesses or submitting the right documents. If necessary not even telling the lawyer when the case is being heard.

If still keen the outsider goes on to an appeal which will be heard in a regional court at which all will be better prepared. But still with no certainty that a wrong will be righted.

Remind ourselves that over 50 public prosecutors are being 'disciplined' at the moment. 1 in 3 of all the courts in Portugal. But no foreigner can complain about the public prosecutors ! It would be an instant defamation against them !

So these must be heavyweight locals settling grudges.
-14 #2 Dave. S 2015-03-11 21:07
Portugal (court procedings were) 'judged as ‘having independence' ....

This is probably more due to the time taken to get justice or at least a decision - so allowing the plaintiff or some offspring to then appeal to a higher court and so start again.

The assumption of independence presumably coming from the grandfather or father having been wronged by some heavyweight elite and so starting the court action. The son or grandson then picks the ball up but, over the years, is less personally involved.

More able to step away from the pain and humiliation; give up and emigrate.

Is this what they mean by 'independent'?
-7 #1 mm 2015-03-11 20:20
perhaps the solution is that after so many weeks the judge and lawyers get no pay..no doubt "justice" will speed up dramtaticlly