Renewed calls for resignation of Justice minister

Renewed calls for resignation of Justice minister

A week after unions demanded the resignation of Justice Minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz, MPs have jumped on the bandwagon, also saying it is time for her to go.
“The system has collapsed, and the Minister has collapsed with it,” Socialist MP António Filipe has declared over the ongoing chaos that has seen courtrooms come to a standstill and hundreds of cases stuck in IT limbo.
At issue is the Government’s long-lauded “re-write of the judicial map”.
Launched a week ago, and involving the closure of courtrooms up and down the country, it collapsed the minute it began, and eight days on, nothing is looking any better.
“The courts are blocked, court workers and magistrates cannot work, cases are being delayed, there are extremely serious problems in relation to judicial proceedure and the minister of justice is either on holiday or barricaded into Terreiro do Paço. We simply don’t know,” Filipe continued.
Communist MPs also joined the fray – to the extent that the PSD-CDS-PP coalition has agreed Paula Teixeira da Cruz should speak in Parliament. She is due to do so today.
Meantime, the syndicate of justice officials are reported to have requested another emergency meeting of the Council of State.
The problem is that the true levels of court chaos are almost too embarrassing to report.
In the Algarve, for example, a number of people who do not wish to be named and were expecting court restrictions to kick in at the beginning of the month have informed the Resident that they are delighted to have been caught up in the maelstrom – with their cases apparently “forgotten”.
“I am living from day-to-day,” explained one. “But it is wonderful not to have been contacted by the court.”
The problems all stem from the apparently irreparably ‘blockage’ of the nation’s CITIUS web portal, used by lawyers, judges and court officials.
CITIUS – taken from the Latin for ‘rapid’ – has not only spectacularly failed to live up to its name, it is reported to have lost vital pieces of information.
In some cases, court proceedures that have already been adjudicated on are logged as “pending”, report newspapers.
“It is complete chaos,” said a legal source who asked not to be identified. “And there are loads of people out there now who should be complying to court orders, and who have effectively skipped right out of the system.”
by Natasha Donn