Overview of the First and Second Instance Court Statistics Based on Statistical Indicators of 1998 and 1st half of 1999
Summaries of statistics of the first and second instance courts are compiled twice a year, in July and January, and the data is also published on the homepage of the Ministry of Justice:
In 1998, 6290 criminal cases were filed with the county and city courts. Resolved were 5945 cases. 8267 people were convicted (according to enforced court decision). On average, solving of one criminal case took 3 months and 24 days. By the end of the year, 3089 criminal cases were left unsolved.
In 1998, there were 30038 civil cases in the courts, of which 62.9% were solved (18910 civil cases). The average length of a civil process was 4 months and 22 days. By the end of the year, 9803 civil cases were left unsolved.
In 1998, 1549 administrative cases were filed with administrative judges, of which 975 were resolved.
In the first half of 1999, courts of first instance in Estonia received 3560 criminal cases. 3403 criminal cases were resolved. There were 4760 convicted persons (according to enforced court decision). The average proceedings of a criminal case took 3 months and 17 days. In the first half of the last year, 2576 criminal cases were left unsolved.
The number of civil cases submitted to the courts of first instance was 11861, at the same time 51.3% of the cases were solved (10891 civil cases). The average length of proceedings in a civil case was 5 months and 5 days. By the end of the reporting period, 9978 civil cases were left unsolved.
In the first half of 1999, administrative judges received 2315 applications or complaints. 20% were resolved (549 administrative cases).
An overview of the criminal, civil and administrative cases submitted to and settled by the district courts can be seen on figures no. 6 (1998) and no. 7 (1st half of 1999).
By way of conclusion to the above overview, it must be recognised that the situation in courts is not at all satisfactory. From year to year the number of cases submitted to courts and the number of unsolved cases increased (especially in civil matters). In some courts the criminal and civil processes last for extremely long periods, in certain regions there are significantly higher workloads, the quality of cases submitted to the courts is poor.
Things get piled up in the courts which have little to do with administration of justice and which courts should not be dealing with. Judges who are often accused of incompetence must deal too much with the work that someone else should have done. Therefore, the expectations of people coming to the court that the court system should be effective and guarantee the quality are not always met. The court is only part of the whole system of administration of justice and therefore the judge cannot be the only person responsible for the ineffectiveness and poor quality of the administration of justice.