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Enhancing judicial efficiency to foster economic activity in Portugal

Sofia Amaral-Garcia and Yosuke Jin

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: A well-functioning justice system is indispensable to business activity and to a society as a whole.Judicial efficiency measured by trial length, one of the essential factors in the effectiveness of thejustice system, ensures contract enforcement, which is the basis of market transactions. Judicialefficiency is closely associated with accessibility to judicial services and the certainty of judicialdecisions, raising people’s confidence. Portugal has undertaken numerous judicial reforms in thepast, to the extent that it is difficult to disentangle and evaluate fully the effects of each reform.Overall, judicial efficiency remains weak, as reflected in the average trial length and bottlenecks ina number of courts. The data collection system, significantly developed as part of the reforms, canbe more fully utilised for allocating court resources. The autonomy of the judicial council and courtpresidents can also be strengthened so that they can effectively manage resources. Individual judgescan be better incentivised through performance-oriented evaluation. Competition in the legalprofession sector can be enhanced while increasing the transparency of legal services. Also,alternative dispute resolution mechanisms can be developed further, meeting different needs forjudicial services, in particular those on insolvency, while alleviating court congestion. Finally,building on past and ongoing reform efforts, the judicial system should continue to improve thecapacity to undertake forensic investigations of economic and financial crimes.

Keywords: Judicial efficiency; trial length; allocation of court resources; governance in the court system; workload assessment; regulation in the legal service sector; alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
Note: Sponsorship: OECD ; 1567
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Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/301517