• The reform that vetoed the appointments of the judicial leadership causes a delay in the Supreme Court that is estimated at 1,000 sentences a year

  • The lack of renewal only hurts the judges in that the outgoing Council forwards any proposal for improvement to the next

The General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) will meet this Saturday three years with expired mandate. Its renovation had already suffered delays, but never of such duration and with so little hope of being solved. A situation serious that makes ordinary judges also feel that the loss of prestige that the judges’ governing body is suffering is also transferred by society to the image of justice and his own. And it worries them.

The latest reform of the organic law of the Judiciary prevents a Council with an expired mandate from appointing the presidents of the Provincial Courts and the National Court, of the Superior Courts of Justice and their chambers and of the Supreme Court. The other functions, such as granting of permits studies or maternity and paternity, for example, but also compatibility of certain activities, which are basically reduced to teachers, develop normally. Too the disciplinary.

The problem is that the number of vacancies in the judicial leadership will reach this December 31 57, of which 51 are from the ordinary jurisdiction and six from the military. The Supreme Court, to which 12 of them correspond, has already warned that the situation is “unsustainable” and that “it will imply that approximately 1,000 fewer sentences will be handed down per year among all its chambers.” Only the Second is complete, because its president, Manuel Marchena, took advantage of a hypothetical trial by Carles Puigdemont to cover all the vacancies before the reform that prevents it.

Concern in the judges

The three majority associations of judges view the situation with concern, but with differences. Jorge Fernández Vaquero, from the Francisco de Vitoria association, admits that the lack of renewal “in the day to day of the judges does not affect immediately”, but prevents “any improvement in their conditions that may arise”, because the answer that the Council gives to any proposal is “good, but the next one should be taken care of”. It also points out that vacancies in the government chambers of certain courts, in charge of substitutions and distribution rules, hold back the agreements. However, Fernández Vaquero does not want a renewal like the one that has taken place in the Constitutional, because “It is not a consensus, but a distribution of names, which support each other even if they do not like“.

María Jesús del Barco, from the Professional Association of the Magistracy, argues that the sentences that are no longer issued “not only affect judges, but also citizens”, so it considers that the “damage in breach of the Constitution extends to judges“His proposal is to reform the law so that members of the judicial branch are elected by the judges.

For its part, Ascensión Martín, from Judges for Democracy, complaint “democratic abnormality due to breach of the Constitution“which implies non-renewal, so it” appeals to the groups to comply “with their obligation, because affects “the citizen and the public service” of justice.

Old census

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The problem of the delay in the renewal also affects the judges in another way, especially if they wanted to try to be vocal. The Courts will have to choose regarding the census of judges in force in 2018, which is no longer the current one, because since then there have been several promotions in the judicial career and its members will not be able to choose to be part of its governing body, although not it’s easy for them to try with so little experience.

To this is added that the circumstances of life change and whoever wanted to be vocal three years ago may not want it now or vice versa. To this is added that the members who are appointed in the next renewal will exercise their work exclusively, while in 2018 only those who were to be members of the Permanent Commission had it, something that was probably taken into account by who chose and who not to be part of the governing body of the judges.


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