Justice, the price of inefficiency

  • Italiano
de renzis

The defects, anomalies, and inefficiencies of a country put together make it lag behind and, in this scenario, Justice has a specific weight. The poorly functioning justice system can have serious effects on the social, cultural, and economic life of the State because justice constitutes a valuable set of values in a civil and developed society.

In the last few years, the legislator has favored basic choices which opt for a rapid conclusion of the proceedings, even if this means resorting to hasty procedures and to succinct justificatory tools. Indeed, such legislative changes are required by Community law indications, by budgetary constraints, and by the enterprises’ need to recover competitiveness which involves also a significant shortening of the trial duration. The EU Scoreboard of Justice dated March 2014, entitled “Towards More Efficient Judicial Systems in the Union” is entirely focused on civil, administrative, and commercial cases.

This document identifies the indexes which, in a way, are like a thermometer that measures the feverish state of civil justice:

efficiency parameterized on the length of the proceedings;

Quality parameterized on the training and evaluation of the courts’ activities, as well as on their willingness to use information and communication technologies;

the existence of alternative dispute resolution methods;


Inefficient justice weighs on the shoulders of the citizens, on small and medium businesses, and damages both the individual and the social spheres.

From this point of view, it is worth reminding that delayed justice is denied justice, according to the vivid warning of the famous English jurist and philosopher Jeremy Bentham who in the first half of the nineteenth century, had warned State regulations against procedural deferrals.

Also the economic system benefits from an efficient justice system by finding reasons for further development and investment in rapid processes. The main problem of the Italian justice is a substantial backlog (apparently five million pending civil processes), so much so that even the judges who are most motivated by a spirit of service will feel crushed by the weight of this backlog and will be forced to inherit – without having any faults – a heavy and stressful burden whenever (s)he takes on a civil role.

Such a magistrate, no matter how well-trained and diligent (s)he is, will be inevitably led to develop an approach of bureaucratic surrender in front of such a huge mass of processes and will be compelled to make the proceedings pass from one hearing to another and, as if by intrinsic necessity, (s)he will be forced to reassess his/her role, sometimes adhering to referral requests of the defenders.

In an effort to devise useful remedies, the legislator has introduced policies to reduce litigation rates, increasing the culture of mediation (reintroduced by the decree nr. 69 of 21 June 2013).

The culture of mediation, when it is profitably introduced in our legal system, can reduce litigation rate: in Italy it is three times higher than in Germany and twice as high as in France and Spain.

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