court scales

Courts brought to standstill – this time because of computer glitch

Portugal’s courts already at various stages of standstill due to industrial action

Courts under the pressure of ongoing industrial action were brought to another juddering halt this morning when the Citius computer system crashed.

Citius is the “unique point of access for all justice professionals”. If Citius collapses, very little can move forwards.

According to reports, in the hours Citius was down, “hundreds of diligences were cancelled.

“It’s a central problem. It’s happening from north to south and everything is at a standstill. Everyone says they’ve been off since they arrived at work,” Regina Soares, Lisbon’s regional secretary of the union of judicial employees told Lusa.

She stressed that coming as it has at a moment mired in conflict, the computer glitch has already seen trials and proceedings postponed.

“There have already been many postponements. At the Sintra Criminal Court everything has been postponed, at the Almada Central Criminal Court there have also been postponements and at the Lisbon Local Criminal Court there have been at least five postponements,” she said

The union of court clerks (SOJ) also “recognised the paralysis of activity”, says Lusa.

Coming after two days of conflict in which courts were meant to be returning to ‘normal business’ after the summer break and didn’t, things could hardly be worse.

“Everything has been at a standstill”, SOJ’s Carlos Almeida admitted. “This isn’t the result of the workers’ actions” he said: it’s the result of the government, which, by not investing, is allowing this to happen…”

Almeida said he hoped this afternoon’s Council of State, convened by President Marcelo, would address the drama. 

Meantime, the justice ministry, which, could hardly look worse at the moment (it is being blamed for inertia and inaction), sent Lusa an explanation that “there are communication problems affecting justice systems”, but “tech teams are working on resolving the problem”.

“It was an interruption in an external circuit, which is being resolved,” said a source.

So with luck everything will be restored, in order to face the series of strikes and industrial action that remain in place for the country’s courts until the end of the year.

Source material: LUSA