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From today only one Court of Appeal in Tirana, VOA: It will face thousands of files that are for trial

From today only one Court of Appeal in Tirana, VOA: It will face thousands of

In Albania, the implementation of the new judicial map started today, which foresees a significant reduction in the number of courts in the country. There are 6 Courts of Appeal which have been merged into a single one in Tirana, inheriting over 29,000 cases for consideration. The President of the Supreme Judicial Council, Naureda Llagami, said that with this reorganization, citizens will be offered a better quality service, promising that now there will be no reason for the failure of court hearings.

As of today, 5 Courts of Appeal across the country have closed their courtroom doors. The new judicial map envisages the operation of a single court of the second instance, in Tirana, where 25 judges will work, or almost a third of the total number that it should have. It will take at least several years for this number to be filled, due to the gaps created by the many judges ousted by the re-evaluation process. The appeal of Tirana will have to cope with a number of more than several tens of thousands of files that are for trial.

The Chairperson of the High Judicial Council, Naureda Llagami, appeared optimistic today, while explaining that for the cases where the process has started: "The trial will continue. If I'm not mistaken, there are 1,865 cases for which court proceedings continue. While there are about 27,000 cases that have been merged, and due to developments in information technology, these cases have migrated and are now ready to be drawn. Each judge will have approximately 1,080 cases. And if we make a comparison with the Court of First Instance of Tirana, where the number has gone up to 1500 cases for one judge, there will be less here"

Ms. Llagami explained that each judge will have a staff of more than 5 people, and that the Court will operate with two separate sections, the administrative and the criminal. According to her, there will be no more session failures and endless dragging.

The new judicial map, approved in July of last year, encountered many objections, especially from the lawyers' community, according to whom, the reorganization of the judicial system harms citizens' access and increases their costs. During the summer of last year, they boycotted court hearings for whole days.

But according to Mrs. Llagami, the service to the citizens is not affected. "The citizen will receive the service where he has received it for all these years, in the buildings where the Courts of Appeal have been until now. And there he will receive a service related not only to information, but also to file all the documents needed for a trial in the Appeal or in the High Court, but also to receive information related to his file in the Court of Appeal. So there will be no restriction of access for citizens", declared Mrs. Llagami.

The new judicial map also affects other courts. Out of 22 such first instance courts, only 13 will remain, starting from May 1st, while there will be only two, Administrative courts, in Tirana and Lushnje, starting from July 1st. VOA

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