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NEWS | Wednesday, 28 October 2009

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Justice by numbers

Exactly half (50%) of all cases in the Maltese law courts have been pending for more than 3 years, Justice and Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici revealed last year. This represents a notable improvement since 2003, when 70% of all cases had been pending for more than the same period.
Although the number of new cases increased by 23% since 2004, the number of pending cases has been reduced by 13% in the past four years. The government claims that this decrease came in the wake of the introduction of official letters, which can be transformed in to a court sentence if left unanswered for more than 30 days. A total of 12,000 official letters were issued in the past four years.
A parliamentary question presented last May revealed that a grand total 9,341 civil cases are still pending. Of these, 1,374 cases were pending in the Family Court. Another 913 cases were pending in front of the Appeals Court. A total of 1,374 civil cases were pending awaiting a sentence. Elsewhere, 371 cases have been awaiting a sentence for more than two years. The number of pending criminal cases amounted to 4,415 cases. In Gozo alone there were 684 pending civil cases and 773 pending criminal cases.

Trust in the legal system
According to a Euro Barometer survey conducted in Autumn 2008, the Maltese legal system is trusted by 57% of Maltese respondents while 32% answered negatively and 11% remained neutral. In the 27 EU Member States, the average trust in the national legal system is 9 points lower, and stands at 48%.



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