About half of the judges and prosecutors in Spain reportedly went on strike on Tuesday, to protest government neglect of the courts. Although this headline suggests that the judges were seeking more judicial independence, the story itself indicates that the real complaint is insufficient resources:
The main association behind Tuesday’s strike, which did not specifically mention Catalonia, called for more investment and staff for the justice system.
Prosecutors have “huge workloads”, said the spokeswoman for the Association of Prosecutors, Montserrat García, adding Spain unfortunately lacked “a justice of quality”.
Justice Minister Rafael Catalá said he did not “disagree in principle” with the protesters’ demands. He stressed that some measures were already adopted in the government’s draft budget for 2018.
These are tumultuous political times in Catalonia, which voted last week to declare independence from Spain. (The Spanish government argues that the vote, and any subsequent action, are illegal.) The independence declaration, which may come Tuesday, has spurred the regional judiciary in Barcelona to request extra police presence. Currently the court building is protected by police loyal to the Catalan government; the President of the High Judiciary of Catalonia is requesting further presence by the National Police force.
Cribbing from the press release:
Today, the European Commission publishes the 2017 EU Justice Scoreboard which gives a comparative overview of the efficiency, quality and independence of justice systems in the EU Member States.
Its aim is to assist national authorities to improve the effectiveness of their justice systems. Compared to previous editions, the 2017 Scoreboard looks into new aspects of the functioning of justice systems, for example, how easily consumers can access justice and which channels they use to submit complaints against companies. For the first time, it also shows the length of criminal court proceedings relating to money laundering offences.
One of the more interesting sets of findings goes to public perception of the member states’ judicial independence. More after the jump.
Continue reading “European Commission releases 2017 EU Justice Scoreboard”