Love him or hate him, Franco Debono was right about the judicial system.

He was right when he said that our judicial system was in shambles and that it was in urgent need of reform.

Whoever disagreed with him ON THAT must have been wired to the moon or wearing very thick blue shades.

But, if Franco Debono’s vociferous arguments were not enough to convince you, there is now unequivocal proof that you can’t refute.

The results of an independent study carried by the EU Commission clearly show how the Maltese judicial system is in fact the least efficient in the EU.

The EU Justice Scoreboard Study published last week, is a comparative tool that seeks to provide data on the justice systems in all member states.

Low scores not only augur badly for Malta’s citizens and their pursuit for justice, but also for attracting foreign businesses and investments.

These are some of the worrying results that emerged from the EU Justice Scoreboard:

DURATION OF CASES

Maltese courts take almost 900 days to resolve non-criminal cases. The majority of EU countries require less than 100 days.

Malta takes over 800 days to resolve litigious civil and commercial cases. The majority of EU countries require less than 400 days.

Malta takes 2700 days to resolve administrative cases. The majority of EU countries require less than 500 days.

CLEARANCE RATE

This refers to the percentage rate of resolved cases which is calculated on a year on year basis. Here Malta compares pretty well, except for when it comes to administrative cases where we hit the absolute pits of the scale with only 30% of the cases being resolved. Administrative law cases concern disputes between citizens and local, regional or national authorities.

THE JUDICIARY

Malta is one of only three as the UK and Luxembourg EU countries that provide absolutely no compulsory training for judges. Other EU countries provide all, or some of the following - initial training, in service training for specialised judicial functions, in service training for the use of computer facilities in the court, general in service training and in service training for management service functions of the court.

And this is certainly not because we have too many judges to cater for, because lo and behold, Malta has the lowest number of judges per 100,000 inhabitants - whilst the majority of EU countries have between 20 and 30 judges per 100,000 inhabitants, Malta has less than 10.

LAWYERS

The low number of judges in Malta contrasts drastically with the high number of lawyers on the island. Whilst most EU countries have between 40 and 65 lawyers per 100,000 inhabitants, Malta has an astronomical 300 lawyers per 100, 000 inhabitants.

BUDGET

Malta also has one of the lowest budgets per capita for justice services. Luxembourg has the highest budget with €135 per inhabitant. Whilst the majority of EU countries budget between €50 and €80 per person, Malta budgets less than €30 per inhabitant.

Sadly, I’ve had the misfortune of being somewhat affected by the justice system over the past years, and yet I am still outraged by these findings. But as the wise Benjamin Franklin once said : “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

 

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