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Confidence in judiciary sinks to new low in Spain

Fiona Govan · 10 Mar 2015, 17:01

Published: 10 Mar 2015 17:01 GMT+01:00

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Spain scored only third from bottom in a damning report by the European Commision that was published on Monday.

The public perception of the independence of the judiciary in Spain ranks joint 25 out of the 28 EU member states tied with Croatia, according to the European Commission’s 2015 justice scoreboard, which collated data from 2013.

Spain has dropped 10 places in three years, and the lack of confidence puts it in 97th place in the world ranking of 144 countries by the World Economic Forum.

Those member states which performed best in terms of perception of independence were Finland Denmark and Ireland.

But it wasn’t only in terms of perception of independence that it faired badly. The efficiency of the justice system was also brought into question with Spain ranking the fifth state in terms of most time needed to resolve cases and the fourth in terms of most open cases pending.

On average it takes 473 days to resolve civil or commercial litigation cases, ahead of only Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Portugal.

“The processes become so long that the Spanish no longer have any confidence in their judicial system to deliver justice,” said Vêra Jourová, the EU's Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

The most efficient justice system in EU is Denmark’s while the fewest pending open cases are in Luxemburg.

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Spanish courts are only capable of resolving 88 percent of the cases opened every year, the third worst rate in the EU.

Not surprisingly given the figure, Spain ranked among the lowest in terms of public spending on the judiciary.

Justice budgets have been slashed as part of Spain´s austerity drive.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

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