Each time a court case is to be tried in Greece, all parties share the same anxiety and question – how long it will take for it to be adjudicated, given huge caseloads, and how long one must wait for a ruling to be issued and for justice to be meted out?

The Greek justice system is prone tο delays which result in a major institutional quagmire.

Not coincidentally, one of the most glaring cases of delay was witnessed in the trial of members of the Golden Dawn party, which the court finally ruled was a criminal organisation convicted and jailed its leadership.

By the time the case of the neo-Nazi grouping went to court, the legally mandated 18-month maximum period of pre-incarceration had expired.

In a one-day conference organised by the Movement for Expediting Justice, the government’s VP, a former president of the Council of State and briefly a caretaker PM, framed the problem in its proper dimensions.

“We must realise that a slow and improper meting out of justice fractures social cohesion and ultimately democracy itself,” he argued.

In fact, there is no judicial system worth its salt which fails to win the trust of citizens, because in the final analysis trust is the bedrock of the democratic form of government.

A plan is in the works to create of a national Judicial Observatory to collect qualitative and quantitative data that can help shape a map of the country’s judicial terrain. That is a step in the right direction.

A solution of the problem, however, requires reform and a shift in the mentality of all those who are involved in delivering justice and experience the problem as insiders, as well as of citizens, who have learned to scorn the judicial system.