The heads of the High Judicial Council (KLGJ) and High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) pointed at judicial vetting as the culprit behind the vacancies and backlog across Albanian courts.
Yesterday, the two representatives held their final meeting for 2021 where they spoke about court vacancies and the new court map.
Head of KLGJ Naureda Llagami said that Albanian courts are operating with only two thirds of the required judges, with the remaining having been dismissed or resigned due to judicial vetting.
Llagami said that vetting has eroded the human resources of Albanian courts, highlighting the situation with the Appeals court as particularly problematic.
Head of KLP Gent Ibrahimi said that his institution is trying to assuage the consequences of the vetting process, arguing that to fill the resulting vacancies they will need to promote legal advisors and assistance, or increase the acceptance quotas to the Albanian School of Magistrates.
On Tuesday, the Albanian Ministry of Justice and KLGJ presented a new judicial map that slashed the number of courts around Albania in an attempt to redistribute the workload between judges.
Meanwhile, on Thursday morning, deputy chief justice of the Albanian Supreme Court Sokol Sadushi said that there are currently 500 cases per judge at the Supreme Court.
“Albania has 12.5 judges per 100 thousand inhabitants, while according to international standards there should be 25 judges per 100 thousand inhabitants,” Sadushi specified.
He also mentioned that judges are working on a system to clear out the backlog of more than 35,837 cases at the Supreme Court, while blasting lawyers who bring every case to the Supreme Court.
Since embarking on its justice reform in 2016, the Albanian Supreme Court has seen its numbers halved, with only nine of a supposed total of nineteen judges currently serving on the Court. This has resulted in a significant delay in judgments.
In October, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of two Albanian citizens who had sued Albania for significantly and unreasonably delaying their respective court cases.