Spanish judges strike to demand reforms

18th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Around 1,500 judges staged an unprecedented strike to demand more resources for the country’s judicial system.

MADRID – Judges in Spain staged an unprecedented strike on Wednesday to demand more resources for the country's overburdened judicial system, judicial associations said.

Around 1,500 judges observed the protest at around midday, or more than one third of 4,400 throughout the country, according to figures supplied by the associations, which have pledged to maintain a minimum service.

The judges are demanding a 3.0 percent annual hike in the budget for the sector over five years, compared to the 1.0 percent planned by the Socialist government, the creation of 1,200 new positions and a plan to modernise the computer system.

The body that oversees the judiciary, the CGPJ, declared the first national strike by judges to be illegal but declined to take any measures to prevent it.

Justice Minister Mariano Fernandez Bermejo condemned the attitude of a "minority" of judges.

But in an address to parliament Wednesday, he confirmed plans to modernise the judicial system, which is "30 years behind" in terms of investment.

The justice spokesman for the conservative opposition Popular Party, Federico Trillo, condemned the "gigantic backlog" in the courts where more than two million cases are pending with an insufficient number of judges to handle them.

Last October, Spanish court staff went on strike after a judge and a court official were punished for failing to send to prison a convicted paedophile who later allegedly killed a five-year-old girl.

Unions at the time said that action was needed to draw attention to a lack of resources at courts which they have blamed for the error which let the man remain at large.

[AFP / Expatica]

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