On April 21, 2016 the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova in the final reading voted the law on the reorganization of the map of courts.
According to the document, from January 1, 2017 there will be 15 courts instead of 44 in the country. The new courts will be established by merging the current ones, so that there will be at least 9 judges in each court. At the same time 5 courts in Chisinau will be merged into one, and the military and commercial courts will stop at all their activity. The construction of facilities for new courts will be carried out in several stages.
The Legal Resources Centre in Moldova believes that the existing judicial system of Moldova has many loopholes. 64% of all courts are with less than 6 judges and some even with 1-2, that means the judges in Moldova have different volume of work. Last year the volume of cases per one judge ranged from 66 to over 2000 cases. This is why a part of the cases was simply not considered.
The small courts at the moment are too expensive for the state: about 45% of the total allocated budget is spent for them. Moreover, one considered case in small court is paid by 1700 lei, a similar one in the court, where are 6 and more judges– by 873 lei.
At the same time in small courts there can not be created appropriate conditions for the professional development of judges, there are no training courses, the employees do not have time to review the case and so on.
A number of experts affirm that the reorganization of the courts will limit the access to the judicial system, will make the procedure of the transfer of detained persons more complicated and will cause the loss of current investment in small courts. However, the Legal Resources Centre of Moldova states that the reorganization will lead to more efficient use of funds, will balance the load of judges, will improve the quality of justice, infrastructure and conditions of detention.
Thus, the reorganization of the courts map represents one of the most important stages of the reform adopted in the framework of the Strategy of the Judicial Reform in 2011-2016. It will create conditions for optimization the quality of legal services and the costs of the legal system. The reorganization is based on research of the reform of the courts map and specialization of judges conducted by the Legal Resources Centre in Moldova and Guidelines for the construction and design of buildings of courts in the Republic of Moldova.
The studies have shown that the reorganization of the map of courts will cost about 1.18 billion lei. At the same time, it will save annually 45.3 million lei and will be repaid in 17 years.