Luxembourg to free up space in congested court system
Luxembourg moved to tackle the backlog in its congested court system on Tuesday as lawmakers approved reforms to speed up the time it takes for smaller civil and commercial cases to be concluded.
Justices of the peace will now deal with any civil and commercial disputes concerning sums of up to €15,000, more than the existing €10,000 threshold. Parties in such cases will no longer need a lawyer.
Procedures for cases involving disputes about amounts of up to €100,000 will also become more simple. There will be time limits by which legal teams must file their submissions. Pre-trial judges will also get greater powers to enable them to speed up the progress of cases.
"Streamlining procedures and thus reducing delays” would ultimately “be beneficial for all parties involved” in legal cases, Justice Minister Sam Tanson said in a press release issued late on Tuesday.
The slow pace of Luxembourg's legal system came into focus last month, when prosecutors handed out the first indictments related to the Bernard Madoff fraud after a criminal investigation that ran for more than a decade.
Fraud committed as part of Madoff's Ponzi scheme is estimated to amount to €1.5 billion in Luxembourg alone. A criminal investigation into Madoff's operations in the country began as early as March 2011, but resulted in charges only in May. Madoff died in a US prison in April, aged 82.