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Portuguese courts are the most clogged up in Europe

courthouseIt will be no surprise for those who are sitting around waiting for their cases to be heard in court, that Portugal has the highest rate of congestion in civil proceedings in the European Union.

The ratio between the number of cases pending at the beginning of a year and the number of cases concluded in that year show that in 2015, the rate in Portugal was 214%, according to data compiled by Pordata Europe.

The nation’s courts are clogged, with Portugal’s problem way ahead of the second most inefficient in Europe, Greece, which has a ‘congestion rate’ of only 105%.

In Poland and Lithuania the percentage is less than 20%.

Pordata rather weakly points out that in the last four years this percentage has been 'decreasing in Portugal,' little comfort for those left twisting in the wind.

As of December 31, 2016, there were 1,136,292 court cases pending. Four years earlier, there were more than 1.6 million but some of the reduction has been effected by a justice minister wiping out many cases which she decided would yield no satisfaction to the plaintif.

The government points to the Citius computerised court case management system, the increase in court staff, the reopening of some courts that had been mothballed during the hair-brained closure programme of the often sober Justice Minister, Paula Teixeira da Cruz - all positive moves but clearly not even starting to address the problem.

Most of the cases that are waiting to be heard are related to debt collection procedures which are blocking non-debt civil cases where those involved can wait four or more years even to have their case scheduled for its first hearing.

As for prison overcrowding, Pordata shows that Portugal’s prison system is at 112% occupancy, against 127% in Hungary at the top of the table, and 49% in Luxembourg at the bottom.

The data also showed that in 2015, in most European countries there was a high percentage of foreigners among the total number of prisoners.

In Portugal, for example, 17% of inmates are foreign in a country where the percentage of foreign residents represents about 4% of the population.

Portugal’s shameful attempt at a modern justice system can not simply be blamed on a lack of magistrates as Portugal has 17 per 100,000 inhabitants, less than half of those registered in Croatia, Slovenia and Luxembourg, but much higher than in France and Ireland, whose value is less than 10 per 100,000.

Successive governments have done as little as politically possible to review this mess and to take decisive and inspired action on behalf of those many citizens for whom, ‘justice delayed, is justice denied.’


0 #10 Ed 2017-10-27 15:14
Quoting Margaridaana:
The correct form is 'those who are sitting'. Those who are sat is grammatically incorrect.

Thanks for that gem. Duly altered.
-1 #9 Margaridaana 2017-10-27 14:23
The correct form is 'those who are sitting'. Those who are sat is grammatically incorrect.
0 #8 mj1 2017-10-26 15:54
I know someone who had a hotel which went bust,its now in the courts and the bank has put a lien on the place until 2060...which is probably the length of time it will take to sort out :cry:
+6 #7 marjolein Massis 2017-10-26 10:57
Yes we could fill many pages with personal stories. But besides a general slowness of the court an other worrying pattern is showing as a grey line. As a foreigner it seems it takes even more time to be able to get a trial date, if you attack a Camara, other government departments, rich portugese persons or portugese compagnies .It can be that foreigners have a different idea about right or wrong then portugese lawyers and court personnel or it is PORTUGAL FIRST.Both reasons are not compatibel with a membership of the European Union. Its result is
confusion on both sides.
+4 #6 liveaboard 2017-10-26 08:45
Aside from the many, many personal stories of aggravation and grief, the slow court system makes contracts virtually unenforceable.

If breach of contract [or prosecution of corruption] takes 20 years to wind through the court system, what use is that contract?
The result is capital flight, business closures, unemployment, and the stalled economy of this otherwise promising country.
+4 #5 Peter Booker 2017-10-26 08:02
Luxembourg seems to have jail space. Perhaps Portugal could rent it?
+7 #4 marjolein Massis 2017-10-26 04:58
Do not under estimate the speed of Portugese Judges.
Years back, my neighbour, a family member of a former President of the Camara of Monchique asked to buy my holiday house to make a restaurant. I refused. Two days later I was arrested in the morning in my garden .for making to much noise. In the afternoon sitting in the courthouse without a lawyer I was sentenced to be send out of Portugal, and thrown in the local jail. Two days later the Police drove me to Lisbon to be expelled. I called my embassy they called a judge, who heard my story, he took me out for lunch then his driver drove me back to Monchique. Portugal should be nr. 1 for speed in handling cases in Tribunal. ( if they want your house!)
+4 #3 mj1 2017-10-25 20:21
another famous story..ever wondered why colombus sailed from spain to discover america in 1492...well he was in portugal a few years before and applied for an explores licence but was told he had to wait

while waiting for it to be approved he went on his hols to spain and got his licence straight away

and the rest as they say is now history :cry: :cry:
+5 #2 Ed 2017-10-25 20:05
Quoting mj1:
how true the ancient Portuguese saying...to start a court case in Portugal you must be under 30 and in good health

I was way over 30 and so far have waited 3 years and 11 months for a case against CM-Silves not to be listed.

Maybe one day.... then there's the years of delays and appeals ahead. It's pathetic really to be reduced to a state of relative penury courtesy of the State as the years tick by...tick..tock...tick...tock. ..until I die at a ripe old age without the council ever having to account for its faults...tick...tock...
+7 #1 mj1 2017-10-25 19:16
how true the ancient Portuguese saying...to start a court case in Portugal you must be under 30 and in good health