Attempts to Make Court of Appeal Fully Operational Unsuccessful Skip to content

Attempts to Make Court of Appeal Fully Operational Unsuccessful

In late June, the Judicial Administration tried unsuccessfully to react to what they refer to as an emergency situation in the Court of Appeal, RÚV reports. Four out of the court’s 15 judges haven’t participated in court’s procedures since mid-March when the European Court of Human Rights declared the appointment of these four judges illegal. Since the court isn’t fully occupied, court process times are increasing and appealed cases are piling up.

European Court of Human Rights declares the appointment of judges illegal 

The Judicial Agency sought to get the contested judges to go on paid leave until the end of the year. This would allow them to appoint new judges to replace them, making the court fully operational. Three out of four did not request the leave at this moment and the fourth said they would let their position be known shortly. A number of cases await the court and it is estimated that around 500 cases will have amassed on the court’s agenda by the end of the year.

The European Court of Human Rights won’t decide until September 9 at the earliest if the court’s Grand Chamber Panel will review the case. A month ago, The Ministry of Justice asked the president of the Court of Appeal how the court would be impacted if four of the judges were out of commission, how the judges would react if the case would be reviewed and also if it wasn’t. Hervör Þorcvaldsdóttir, president of the Court of Appeal, replied June 24 that the four contested judges of the Court of Appeal would like to resume their positions if the case were to be reviewed by the Grand Chamber. The answer also included that the court process time would continue to increase if the court wasn’t fully occupied. According to the Court of Appeal’s office manager, the situation will soon be grave, estimating that 482 unprocessed cases will have accrued by the end of the year.

If the Grand Chamber reviews the case, the result can be expected by the end of next year. Action must be taken in order to make sure the Court of Appeal is fully occupied, either to appoint judges for a longer period or to appoint new ones. Both methods will require an amendment to the law. To react to the emergency, the judicial Administration suggested that additional judges would be appointed from the end of summer vacations to the end of the year. No amendment would be needed but the four judges would have to request paid leave, something they can’t be ordered to do. The president and the director of the Judicial Administration met with the four judges June 25. Three of the judges did not request paid leave at that moment and the fourth said they would let their position be known shortly.

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