CHAOS is reigning in the Balearic judicial system with a total of 3'054 court hearings delayed until 14 March next year as a direct consequence of the strike by Justice ministry administration workers, ongoing since 4th February this year.
A spokesman at the Balearic High Court said yesterday that the figure represents 63 percent of the cases which were originally due to be held prior to the new benchmark date, and because of the paralysing affects of the strike only 1'778 hearings have been held at courts around the Islands this year. In the meantime, a great backlog of demands for judicial hearings has been building up with 10'196 files of cases waiting for the final decision of legal counsell. Of this figure, 5'296 have not even been opened by magistrates for a cursory glance.
Similarly, in the criminal cases sector, 4'116 statements and related evidence have been held in abeyance for due consideration at a later date.
With more judicial power being decentralised from the government in Madrid to the regions and the transfer of personnel to cope with the restructured legal system, the court administration workers describe the burden which is being placed on them as unfair.
Their recently assumed new responsibilities and adaptation to new methods of operation forms the basis of their salary claim. Generally, the court staff have the support of senior judges who say the staff salaries should come in line with other public sector workers.