Staff shortages mainly to blame.
Justice in the Milan district is “in a state of collapse”, said Prosecutor general Roberto Alfonso during the ceremonial opening of the judicial year on 28 January.
If justice doesn’t function, Alfonso warned, this produces an “anomalous relationship between the citizen and the state.” When justice fails, he stated, the trust between citizen and institutions fails too, and this puts at risk the very freedom of a country and its democracy.
Alfonso blamed the collapse of the administration of justice on a serious lack of personnel, adding: “It is short-sighted to run a system in which access to the role of magistrate is possible only at an average age of around 30, far later than in the past.”
He also called on the government to return the obligatory retirement age of judges to 72 after the recent reduction to 70 had “destabilised the system”, denying an opportunity to many magistrates still wishing to serve their country at a time of “deep stress of the justice system.”
“We call for an urgent and serious intervention by the government to take all necessary steps for guaranteeing good functioning of justice,” Alfonso told the audience of magistrates and lawyers, with Justice Minister Andrea Orlando among them.
The president of Milan’s court of appeal, Marina Anna Tavassi, backed up Alfonso’s plea in her own address, saying staff shortages were reaching peaks of 40 per cent. Nevertheless, she said, in her sector the remaining staff had managed to recoup the outstanding cases and reduce the length of trials.
Minister Orlando replied that the government was doing all it could to fill the gaps in personnel, promising 1,800 new appointments by March this year.