Publication of the EU Justice Scoreboard 2024

The European Commission has today launched the European Justice Scoreboard 2024, which provides a detailed insight into the efficiency, quality, and perceived independence of the judicial institutions across EU member states. The Ministry for Justice considers this tool an important benchmark in its efforts to uphold the rule of law, enhance the quality and efficiency of justice, and improve accessibility.

The need to improve the efficiency of the justice system to provide a timely dissolution of court cases is a foremost priority for the Ministry, which has been actively addressing efficiency across various areas. The data in the EU JS 24 report is based on 2022 data. It highlights improvements in the court’s performance despite an increase in incoming civil, commercial, and administrative cases. Overall, the time needed to resolve these cases has improved. Administrative cases still take the longest to resolve, but there has been a 20% decrease in the time it takes to process these cases compared to the previous year. The push to enhance the efficiency of proceedings is also reflected in the improved rate of case resolution. In 2022, the clearance rate of civil and commercial cases increased from 78% to 87%, and the clearance rate of administrative cases improved from 70% to 95% compared to 2021. The Ministry recognizes the courts efforts to enhance efficiency and acknowledges sustained improvement throughout 2023.

The EU JS 24 highlights the efforts that are being made to improve the quality of the justice system across various areas. The financial investment in the law courts per inhabitant has increased, and the investment in the wages of key justice professionals is among the highest across member states. The Ministry also welcomes the focus of the Scoreboard on the efforts of member states to improve accessibility to justice. This is an area that lies at the heart of the next reform that the Ministry will be embarking upon within 2024, through the European TSI funds and the expertise of the OECD. This approach will enhance the role of alternative dispute-resulting mechanisms in Malta and will adopt a people-centred perspective to enhance accessibility across all justice sectors.

Further investments resulting from the Resilience and Recovery Facility will continue to be divested in the digitisation of the justice system. The EU JS 24 provides an overall encouraging assessment of the role of digitisation within its various entities, and the Ministry notes that identified areas of improvement, such as those related to the interoperability of systems between key justice institutions, are already being addressed through the investment in case management and information management systems that are being designed for the Court Services Agency, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of the State Advocate.

The Ministry also takes note of the independent Eurobarometer surveys on the perceived independence of the judiciary that have been carried out towards the beginning of 2024. While the perception of the general public indicates an increase in the number of people who perceive judicial independence as being very good, the overall perception of companies on judicial independence has decreased when compared to previous years. The Ministry is also taking note of the reasons why companies are fearing the effectiveness of investment protection and will seek to address these concerns through targeted initiatives.

Minister for Justice and Reform of the Construction Sector, Jonathan Attard, stated that the Ministry is dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of justice through unprecedented reforms. “This includes the reform in the committal proceedings, the reform in the family court, digital initiatives to boost performance and accessibility, new collective agreements to improve working conditions for justice employees, collaboration with international organisations to achieve operational excellence, and a focus on a people-centred approach to justice,” said Minister Attard.

These attest to the Ministry’s commitment to fulfilling its electoral promise of making justice timely and effective.