Monday , April 15 2024
Home / FEATURED / Greece’s Justice keeps moving at snail’s pace; the slowest in EU

Greece’s Justice keeps moving at snail’s pace; the slowest in EU

Justice in Greece keeps moving at a snail’s pace and Greek courts are by far the slowest in the EU in disposing of even uncomplicated cases

Despite all the promises of reform and the solemn declarations of successive officials that justice delayed is justice denied, that is exactly what’s happening with Greece’s justice system.

It is not just the successive requests of trial postponements, usually made by lawyers who have to divide their time between several cases on trial, it is also the antiquated systems. The minutes of cases are still typed and piles of paperwork accumulate in court buildings. The computerization of the system is still in its infancy.

“It takes time for the projects to mature,” is the excuse one hears from officials, often a euphemism for long delays in the courts in ruling on the legality of the digital systems contracts. Also, not so long ago, the High Court itself had shamed specific judges who have been literally hoarding hundreds of cases and not deciding on them.

Not for the first time, Greek businessmen are raising the alarm about the hidebound system hurting competitiveness. SEV, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, in an analysis titled “From Justice 0.2 to Justice 2.0,” uses data published by the World Bank to show that Greece is not only the slowest country in the European Union in terms of the days it takes to resolve a case in court (1,711, or more than four and a half years), but it is almost 50% slower than its closest rival, Slovenia (1,160 days), with the EU average being 455 days.

The great delay in seeing a case through the courts poses great difficulties for Greek businesses and hurts the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination, says SEV, adding that, at the end of each year there are about three pending cases for each 100 citizens.

Extreme examples abound, such as the case of a heavily indebted household that dared apply for a court-mandated rescheduling of its debt, taking advantage of a law voted early on in Greece’s long financial crisis (2010). A lower court in Koropi, in a suburb of Athens, decided, in July 2014, to hear the case on January 19, 2028. The law’s provisions may have been at fault, providing an opening for long delays, but similar cases abound.

At present, only in 7% of civil and administrative court cases are case minutes and documents stored digitally and this drops to 0.2% in Athens and Thessaloniki appeals courts. That’s why the business association is pleading for a faster installation of digital systems. [kathimerini]

Check Also

Rodos Week: Greece compensates tourists forced to flee Rhodes wildfires in 2023

Greece has launched a “free” holidays program “Rodos Week” for tourists who were forced to …

One comment

  1. i think it hardly has anything to do with the paper records, but with the total unaccountability of the judicial system to the law or to the people – they are political appointees from top to bottom, they exist to serve the interests of those who appointed them, and everything else has zero priority.
    In other countries there are hard time limits in the law for many processes – here any single person or organization in some needlessly complex chain of bureacracy can drag its feet for years and everything else just waits.
    in other countries there is an independent constitutional court, we have no such thing. in other countries the constitution also has clear and unequivocal definitions and declarations, here, almost everything in the constitution is followed by the clause ‘as regulated by law’ which effectively negates the entire document and hands all power to the parliament, i.e. to whoever is in control of the government and the cabinet at the moment.
    greece was a tsifliki for the ottomans until about 200 years ago. now it’s a tsifliki for the bankers. the same management class has been milking everything out of the middle the whole time.
    if you have connections or if theres some political pressure on the matter, you see that the courts magically run through all their ‘slow’ procedures in lightning speed.. if youre just an ordinary citizen seeking justice… maybe your grandchildren might even see a court date come round.