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Reform of civil justice a priority says Renzi

EU report blasted snail-paced system

19 March, 13:28
Reform of civil justice a priority says Renzi (ANSA) - Rome, March 19 - Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said Wednesday reforming Italy's civil-justice system was a priority after the latest European Union report on snail-paced procedures that discourage foreign investment.

"The data provided by the EU are not figures from a bad witch but figures (showing) our weakness," he said.

On Monday a report from the EU justice commissioner said Italy is one of the slowest countries in the EU in terms of the number of outstanding civil and commercial court cases waiting for their day in court, although improvement in some areas have been made.

Based on 2012 figures, 5.5 cases were pending per hundred Italians, down from 2010 figures of six outstanding cases per hundred inhabitants, according to the EU assessment.

The average length of wait for judicial action on a case in 2012 was about 600 days - up from about 500 days in 2010, the report said.

According to the report, only Croatia and Greece showed worse results, although authors of the report said that data was incomplete from several countries, including Cyprus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

The EC said the report is designed "to promote the quality, independence and efficiency of justice systems in the European Union".

"Justice delayed is justice denied," said Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.

"The EU Justice Scoreboard is a key tool within the EU's economic strategy, enabling more effective justice for citizens and businesses.

"A properly functioning, independent justice system is essential to gaining the trust of citizens and investors, and indispensable for mutual trust in the European area of justice".

In terms of perceived judicial independence, Italy ranked 20th of 28 states, but was sixth from the top on measurements of ongoing training for workers in the justice system.