Judge forcibly retired over judicial sloth and “negative performance”

A Lisbon judge has been forcibly retired after it was discovered that over three years, she had held up more than 600 cases.

The 50-year-old woman – who is contesting the decision – has been twice fined in the past for backlogs in her schedule, explains Correio da Manhã today, in a story illustrated with hundreds of neatly bound court papers piled up in a corridor.

For anyone who wonders when hearing defendants, or indeed plaintiffs, saying they are prepared to “await Portuguese justice serenely”, this could be why: Portuguese justice, on occasions, clearly does not function at all.

As the Superior Council of the Public Ministry explained, this lady judge – currently under suspension as she fights her ground – has “caused citizens grave damages”.

“She was responsible for cases involving minor crimes that should have been judged summarily”, but “in some cases, she spent more than four months without proceeding with any action at all”. People were thus “impeded” from the justice they deserved, and a lot of time was wasted.

The woman’s sloth first came to the notice of her superiors in 2009, when her performance was classified as “mediocre”.

Six years later she was still working, having shown “an extremely negative performance for lack of punctuality, superficial analysis of questions, lack of quality and technical rigor” and of course “delays”, concluded the Supreme Administrative Tribunal (STA) in a decision made public last week.

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