Albanian defence attorneys will boycott all court proceedings for ten days to protest against the government’s new judicial map.
The National Chamber of Defence Attorneys made the announcement on Wednesday, warning that attorneys that do not comply with the strike will be penalized.
Over the past few weeks, Albanian lawyers across the country have staged similar protests to express their disagreement with the new map.
In December 2021, the Ministry of Justice published a redistricting proposal that foresees a significant reduction in the number of courts in Albania.
The number of first instance courts is expected to go from 29 to 12. Under the proposal, there will be only two administrative courts (in Lushnja and Tirana respectively), down from the current six.
Finally, the country’s six appeals court would all be merged into one institution based in Tirana.
The Albanian Ministry of Justice claims that the proposal seeks to address the backlog in Albanian courts caused by the absence of active judges. Half of the judges and prosecutors who have gone through judicial vetting have been dismissed, causing significant vacancies and delays.
Many lawyers disagree with the proposal, arguing that it will cause further delays and it will make it hard for Albanian citizens to have access to justice.