Lawyers hold second strike on Gozo court sittings

Gozo court remains without an assistant registrar and has no full-time court marshal on site

Lawyers practicing in Gozo's court of law will be on strike from Thursday 30 September until a list of shortcomings are addressed by government.

The lawyers will refrain from attending sittings held in the Gozo court until they are given a satisfactory explanation for how their issues will be addressed.

According to the lawyers, the Gozo court remains without an assistant registrar and has no full-time court marshal on site. The court lacks trained and qualified staff, leaving deputy registrars with major difficulties.

"Serious shortcomings in the court building, that were identified in a separate report by the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Occupational Health and Safety Authority, were completely ignored," the lawyers pointed out.

They said that certain documents go missing, while injunctions are not being processed on time, with hearings taking place without a summons having been processed.

"Transcripts are not being made on time. Documents, applications, responses and notes are not being processed, to the extent that they do not reach the judge or parties in a timely manner," they continued. 

Furthermore, documents are not being processed through the court's internal LECAM system. Nothing is being scanned, and decrees are not being communicated to affected parties, the lawyers said.

The lawyers stressed that this was not being done out of disrespect to the authority of the courts or their clients, but solely because they felt that this was the only way that their complaints would be addressed.

A group of 20 lawyers had already boycotted sittings in the Gozo courts last June in the hopes of addressing administrative shortcomings. They had flagged similar shortcomings, including lost court files and the late processing of summons and applications.