The first hearing in trial may be set over one year later

The decision by which the High Council of Magistrates (CSM) set the work schedule for judges in courts and courts of appeal allows for excessive procrastination of the act of justice. Thus, CSM’s decision allowed, in some cases, for the first hearing in a trial to be set as late as 14 months after the suit is filed, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ reports, in its yesterday edition. As a consequence, the Justice Ministry (MJ) called for the suspension of the “Program to set the optimal workload and to ensure a high quality activity in courts in 2010,” according to the aforementioned source.

“The program is malfunctioning and persisting in applying it in courts of law has severe consequences as regards the obligation to issue a ruling in a reasonable amount of time. (…) Lately, by applying this program, the first hearing ended up being set, in some cases, 11 to 14 months after the suit is filed. (…) CSM considered it a reasonable estimate for a judge to solve between 10 and 15 cases a week, setting an average volume of 90 points per week. According to the ruling, once he collected this amount, a judge may refuse to preside a court session,” officials in the Ministry claim.

“MJ’s failing to provide the material and logistic resources and failing to take the legislative measures needed to ensure a smooth running of the justice mechanism forced CSM to adopt programs which will allow us to strike a balance between the quantity and quality of the act of justice,” CSM replied.

The Justice Minister, Catalin Predoiu, stated that “Romania can no longer afford to initiate a new problem, by allowing an exaggerated amount of time to elapse between the moment a suit is filed and the first hearing.”

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