The government’s long-awaited project to streamline Portugal’s court system is in disarray.
The new 'judicial map' project officially was launched on September 1st amid confusion, an impenetrable IT system and an increasingly angry backlash from those who are meant to be using it.
Lawyers, judges and magistrates all now have complained about the computer programme Citius which does not work, according to users.
The government says the system does work but already the Bar Association has called for the Justice Ministry to suspend the implementation deadline, pointing out that now even the old fax system is not working.
The Ministry of Justice which launched the scheme hinging on a new ‘judicial map’ – minister speak for closing down courts – has noted that the computing platform Citius may have some access problems but that lawyers now should be able to log on to submit defences, gather information and find out the judicial progress of their cases.
The Professional Association of Judges has not gone on record but its president Mouraz Lopes has complained of continuing problems, as has the Union of Magistrates.
The Ministry of Justice, having at first said that all is well, now reports that all glitches have been identified and solutions are being implemented to overcome them.
For a country that prides itself on a bright, well educated IT sector, many of whom now work abroad, the situation is embarrassing and gives an insight into the workings of a ministry that appears to lack basic management skills.
At the top is Minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz (pictured) who it now appears heads a ministry that has not only failed to implement a computerised system that worked on launch day, but also has failed to get the various user groups engaged and pushing for common goals.