Athens, Thessaloniki courts to test run 'Backlong Reduction Tool' program with EU help

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A test run of a "Backlog Reduction Tool" will start at Courts of First Instance in Athens and Thessaloniki this year, the Greek Justice Ministry said on Monday, with the help of a European Union program assisting implementation of reforms.

The tool helps reduce the number of outstanding court cases, a chronic problem at Greek courts.

The ministry requested help from the Technical Support Instrument (TSI), an EU program that provides tailor-made technical expertise to EU member states to design and implement reforms. The support is demand driven and does not require co-financing from member states.

Assisting in its implementation at Greek courts will be the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe whose aim is the improvement of the efficiency and functioning of justice in the member states. CEPEJ identifies problems and defines ways to deal with them, while also evaluating the results.

The implementation of the tool will "attempt to manage the outstanding accumulated cases, a thorny issue many European countries face, and it touches on the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time, as established by article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights," the Greek ministry said.

The support, it added, will be "in the form of general directions, strategies, legal advice, reports, training, and on-site visits by specialists, to resolve problems and prevent delays in meting justice in Greece."

Also actively helping them will be judges and court staff serving at the first instance courts of Athens and Thessaloniki.

The budget of the program totals 715,000 euros and its implementation is expected to start within 2024, lasting 24 months.

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