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There is a joke in a country that the closest anyone will come to experiencing e...


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There is a joke in a country that the closest anyone will come to experiencing eternity is the country’s court system. The problem is a strange aversion to settling cases. Judges pass them along to somebody else and rarely dismiss lawsuits, no matter how frivolous. The country’s lower courts have a backlog of about 20 million civil and criminal cases. An additional 2.3 million cases are pending before the high courts, while the Supreme Court has about 20,000 old cases on the docket. Many of those cases will take far longer than 16 years to resolve.

But now, experts say, the country’s new Prime Minister is committed to fixing the problem. And the judiciary itself, long criticize as insular and resistant to change, seems finally to have concluded that changes are needed. The chief Justice of the Supreme Court has declared that soon the country will reduce its massive case backlog. After that, ‘there will be no place for any corruption or indolence in the system’. His choice of words was telling. Whatever moral imperative exists, the chief reason that the country is getting serious about streaming the legal system is economic. Dysfunctional courts increase the risk of foreign investors, tortuous rules slow the rise of new enterprises and murky laws regarding land ownership and other issues stifle the growth of industries like construction and retail. The country’s business is lobbying for change; its Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, for instance, recently published a report that bemoaned the regulatory maze that confronts every commercial project, contributing to delays and cost overruns and providing one explanation why it receives only a tiny fraction of the foreign direct investment deposited in a neighbouring country. ‘Speedy judicial resolution will be one of the keys to making the country a competitive economy, conducive to growth and foreign investment,’ says an observer.

The reasons for the country’s judicial debacle are legion. For one thing, it has fewer judges per capital than almost any other country in the world. In 2007, it had fewer than three judges per 100, 00 people. And the state itself, which account for 60 per cent of court cases, is overly litigious.

judicial reforms need to be effected because the country

Options

A) Has become a democracy

B) Wants foreign investors

C) Has a new Prime Minister

D) Has a new Chief Justice

The correct answer is C.


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