On 8 June, President Vivien Whyte attended the yearly Days of Judicial Authenticity organized by the Spanish Member Organisation Ilustre Colegio Nacional de
Letrados de la Administracion de Justicia in Cordoba.
This event took place as the new Spanish Minister of Justice was being sworn in in Madrid following the recent change in government and two weeks after the national demonstrations of Letrados began.
Over 300 Letrados from all over Spain were present to discuss the current state of Justice and their professional perspectives. They had invited three Members of Parliament, speakers for their respective parties at the Spanish Congress Law Commission, who all presented their visions for Justice and the Letrados before debating these issues with the audience. The Ministry of Justice’s Spokesperson, herself a Letrada, and the heads of several courts also attended.
In the first instance courts, Letrados are in charge of everything that does not amount to a decision on the merits. They estimate that they are responsible for 80 % of case work before judges and magistrates. As a result, when the number of judges increases, so does their workload.
Consequently, they ask for measures to be taken in the fields of organisation, technology, and resources. For example, the Judicial Office, an administrative organisation with common services
directed by Letrados could now be extended to the whole country. Digitalization could be increased and better case management systems implemented to increase efficiency and produce trustworthy statistics. Since Letrados are now in charge of informing victims of crimes, they must also be given the material means to fulfill this duty.
It is worth noting that a newly-recruited Letrado earns a salary of €1400. The judicial system would undoubtedly benefit from increased salaries matching the Letrados’ extensive responsibilities.
Taking the floor at the closing ceremony, Vivien Whyte renewed the EUR’s full support to the Spanish Letrados. Spain has chosen to entrust high-ranking non-judge staff of the courts with independent decision-making in many judicial matters. Its legal system is more than ever a model of quality and efficiency. To capitalize on these essential reforms, the necessary means must be allocated.
Vivien Whyte wishes to thank the Spanish colleagues for their warm welcome and generous hospitality.