Judges “feel pressured to reach decisions in record time”

Judges feel “pressured to deliver judgements in record time”.

So says Manuela Paupério who is not a stand-up comedian: she is the president of the association of the country’s judges’ syndicates.

Paupério dropped this ‘bombshell’ – considering Portugal is a country where justice has become notorious for taking far too long – in the right company.

She was addressing the 11th national congress in Figueira da Foz, thus there will have been no laughing in the aisles.

Tabloid Correio de Manhã has highlighted her speech today, explaining that judges’ pressures, according to Paupério, follow “growing visibility given to decision-making”.

In the syndicate boss’ opinion, this is not the way forwards.

Decisions should not take more than a “reasonable time” but they should be “considered, prudent and reflected”, taken without “constraints or pressures”.

At the roots of judicial discontent are delays in the “revision” of the judges’ Statute, which should have been concluded six years ago.

The constant postponement, said Paupério, shows the lack of consideration given to this sovereign power. Indeed, she recalled that president of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice António Gaspar, has already complained that judicial power is the “poor relation in the closed condominium of other sovereign powers”.

Elsewhere, reports explain that both the president of the republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and prime minister António Costa, “made up part of the (congress’) programme, but were not present”.

Absent too was the Minister of Justice who was represented by her secretary of state.

Concluded Paupério: “All judges want are the respect and consideration due to any citizen who performs a service of elevated public interest”.

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