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Italian courts in strike threat over reforms

Italian courts in strike threat over reforms
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The Italian judiciary is threatening strike action over controversial reforms put forward by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Proposals include blocking up to 40 percent of finances earmarked for courts, suspending the recruitment of judges and freezing all impending trials for crimes deemed less serious.

For Giuseppe Cascini of the national magistrates association (ANM), the judiciary is already overstretched. He said after an ANM meeting today: “There is an alarming problem in how the judiciary functions which we ourselves experience every day, which citizens experience first-hand whenever they have to deal with justice. We’ve long been asking for reforms, structural interventions, investment and projects to make the judiciary work.”

Berlusconi’s own corruption trial would be one of those to be put on ice if the plans go through. He claims electors gave him a mandate for reform when they voted him back to power in May.

He said of the latest dispute: “This is the legacy of what happens within a small group of magistrates, who are out of control, and who continue to try and overthrow the result of the election through actions which began in 1992 and which are still being carried out.”

Magistrates have threatened ‘work-to-rule’ action to draw attention to what they say is a lack of resources at their disposal.