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Year-end deadline for extra judges to clear court case backlog

Members of the Bar Association meeting with President Anastasiades and Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou on Monday

By the end of the year, courts should be staffed with some 26 new judges and the extra personnel needed in the judicial system to get it properly functioning, chairman of the Cyprus Bar Association Doros Ioannides said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Ioannides was at the presidential palace in a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades and Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou where the plan to hire the new judges was announced.

The plan is that they will work afternoons to deal with the mountain of cases that have built up dating as far back as 2011.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Ioannides said the judges will be hired in the same way they are always appointed, through the council of judicature, comprised of supreme court judges and will be shared out across courts nationwide.

“This needs to happen…The plan is that by the end of the year, everything will be implemented,” he said, explaining that the judges will get to work.

The ‘everything’ also includes court staff such as court ushers, registrars and clerks.

“We can’t have the judges by themselves, what good is that going to do? Courts are already very understaffed and this is one of the reasons cases aren’t moving forward,” he said.

“The president was very positive,” about the changes set to take place.

Though the details on just how many more additional staff will be hired apart from the judges and the total budget is a matter to be sorted between the finance and justice ministries, Ioannides said it was the government’s duty to solve the problems stemming from the backlog of cases.

“When foreign experts came from the EU and Ireland they said if the problem with the backlog of old cases isn’t resolved no steps forward can be taken,” he warned.

“Timeframes will be put in place but this needs to be done by the end of the year.”

A new commercial court set to be staffed by another five judges and a court dealing specifically with asylum seeker cases are also in the works, ideally set to be ready by the end of the year, he added.

Clarifying reports that suggested a new court was to be created to deal with non-performing loans, Ioannides said that was not the case as these matters are dealt at district court level.

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