The blockade of the CGPJ causes a 30% reduction in the staff of the Supreme Court

The lack of renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) It has a direct reflection on the functioning of the Supreme Court, since being in office, with its mandate expired since December 2018, it cannot make appointments in the judicial leadership. Of a staff of 79 magistrates, there are 19 vacancies at the moment, and in the coming months there will be 24, which represents 30.37% of the total staff, as the Supreme Court has warned.

The Government Chamber of the High Court agreed last Wednesday to insist on the CGPJ to urge Congress and the Senate for “the essential immediate remedy” for the “unsustainable situation” in which the court finds itself due to the legal impossibility of filling vacancies of the magistrates who retire or leave, as in the case of César Tolosa, who has left his position as president of the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court to join the Constitutional Court.

The Supreme Court makes the decision, for the second time, to address the CGPJ after the report by the director of the Court’s Technical Office, which specifies the impact on the activity of each of the five court rooms derived from the legal impossibility of making appointments discretionary by the General Council of the Judiciary, in this case to fill vacancies.

The Supreme Court considers it necessary for Parliament to establish an “immediate remedy for this state of affairs and promote any other initiatives in order to prevent it from getting worse”, given the estimate that in 2023 only in the two chambers most affected by vacancies, which are that of the Social and that of the Contentious-Administrative, some 1,230 fewer sentences will be handed down (570 less in Contentious and 660 in Social), “with the serious prejudice for the defendant that this implies”, and with the serious delay in thousands of resolutions that would lead to the “collapse” of both chambers.

In fact, given the “critical situation” in which Chambers IV (of the Social) are currently, with five vacancies in a staff of 13; and the III (Contentious-Administrative), with ten vacancies in a staff of 33, the Supreme Court demands the allocation of 15 positions of lawyer of the Technical Cabinet, eight for Chamber III and seven for IV, with remuneration of coordinating lawyer and to be covered preferably by magistrates.

The approved report summarizes that, as of this January, the Supreme Court must have by legal provision a president and 79 magistrates, and it finds itself without a titular president and with a total of nineteen vacancies for magistrates. It must be remembered that after the resignation of Carlos Lesmes as president of the CGPJ and the Supreme Court, at this time the magistrate Francisco Marin Castan He acts as acting president of the Supreme Court, while Rafael Mozo does the same in the Council.

The Permanent Commission of the CGPJ, for its part, has agreed to take cognizance of the report of the Governing Chamber of the Supreme Court on the situation caused by the vacancies and has agreed to submit to the plenary session of the Council a proposal based on the content of said report, which demands solutions from Congress and the Senate.

Vacancies in the Supreme Court are distributed as follows, according to data from the court itself: two vacancies in the First Chamber, ten in the Third Chamber, five in the Fourth Chamber and two in the Fifth Chamber, which means that the court has to carry out their task with a workforce that is 24.05% less than that legally established.

In the coming months of 2023, there will be five more vacancies due to retirement (one in each of the five rooms), that is, 24 vacancies out of 79 positions, which represents a percentage of 30.37% less. In addition, the positions of president and vice president of the court, and those of presidents of rooms III and IV, are vacant (and occupied in office), recalls the Supreme Court.

As for Chamber I (Civil), with two vacancies from a staff of 10 magistrates, to which another will be added in March, the report raises the “absolute need” to extend the reinforcement measures in force , consisting of four lawyers in the Technical Office and five coordinating lawyers.

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