Bonnici suggests appointment of manager to manage court cases

Parliamentary secretary for justice Owen Bonnici says a ‘case manager’ should be appointed to manage court cases.

Parliamentary secretary for justice Owen Bonnici.
Parliamentary secretary for justice Owen Bonnici.

The final report of the commission tasked with the justice reform is expected to be presented by the end of the month, junior minister Owen Bonnici said.

He said the report would be discussed within the Cabinet and the Labour parliamentary group and urged the Opposition to nominate members from its side to take part in the discussions.

"But decisions have to be taken and the main points of the reform have to be implemented," he said.

"The success of the reform will be measured by how much we will eradicate the delays in court cases, delays which are undermining the public's trust in the judiciary."

In his opening remarks, Bonnici made a dig at the Opposition's "lack of proposals" noting that he had brought with him two sheets - one to be filled with the proposals and the other for the criticism raised.

"Yet, my sheet for proposals remained empty," he quipped.

Turning to the justice reform, Bonnici said the Labour government had embarked on a "serious" reform. Reacting to the Opposition's statement that positive things had been carried out in justice, Bonnici said that it was under Chris Said's leadership of justice that things had started moving on.

"But for five years, justice had been relegated to the second division," he said. "The rest of the world was evolving in IT but justice remained stuck in time."

Bonnici said it was not true that the SMS alert system informing citizens of case deferrals had been "practically planned out and ready to start operating" by the previous administration.

The junior minister said he wanted a system by which the register of civil cases would be available online.  MITA, the government's IT agency, was subsequently engaged to kick off the process placing the cases online.

Bonnici said the government's goal was to reach a system by which people could institute court cases online.

The pilot project has kicked off with small claims cases. But to do this, an e-ID was required.

The budget allocation for justice has increased by €1 million.

Bonnici also said that the tender for the purchasing of furniture would soon be issued to furnish the judges' chamber at Strait Street.

"With better management and cooperation, I think we could give citizens more," he said, noting that the majority of cases would be squeezed between Tuesday and Thursday.

Bonnici said that, in agreement with members of the judiciary, a case manager should be appointed to suggest days and times on how to distribute cases.

"Yet, my sheet for proposals remained empty," Having kicked out their best legal brains out of their party after disallowing him to operate from within, now they are at a complete loss on what to propose next. Court cases to be heard in the open grounds of Ta Qali perhaps? AHA! Yessieeee! That might give dear brother Zaren another juicy contract.