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€2.1m legal aid bill for Malaga lawyers

MALAGA’S lawyers were paid over two million Euros in legal aid in the third quarter of 2017.

The bill brings the total paid out to around 10,000 lawyers across Andalucia between January and September last year to €30.2 million.

Professionals in Antequera alone received €69,176 in the third quarter of last year.

Plans to pay lawyers around 5 per cent more in 2018 will “recover the rights that were affected by the economic crisis,” and see this year’s bill potentially even higher.

The Ministry of Justice said it had made “a great effort” to improve access to justice “despite the economic and budgetary difficulties.”

It is thought the sums help around 300,000 people receive legal help. In the third quarter of last year, Malaga’s courts dealt with 3 per cent more cases than the previous year.

Courts in the province handled 64,873 matters, almost 3 per cent more than in the same period in 2016. Of this increase, 1,747 cases involved civil matters, according to the Situation of Judicial Bodies report.

Cases involving crime decreased by 367 in this period. A Malaga judge has said at least 30 more judges are needed in the city. Jose Maria Paez, Dean Judge of Malaga, has been re-elected for the third time and has lost no time in setting out what the city’s justice system needs.

In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, Paez explained, “the priority project is to increase the number of judges, since we are still very few.

“Spain has a number of magistrates well below the European average and thus it is impossible to give an answer with a minimum quality in a reasonable time.”

The judge added Malaga’s judicial system also needed more funds, as well as improvements to some courts.

Last November politicians criticised a group of lawyers over their handling of evictions.

Victoria Mendiola of the Podemos party blasted the Malaga Bar Association after it reached an agreement with Marbella Council to offer free legal advice to people facing losing their homes.

Eduardo Frapolli claimed the initiative incurred “economic expense with an uncertain result…because of a lack of prior analysis.”

In response the dean of the Malaga Bar Association, Francisco Javier Lara, asserted, “this service has avoided more than 800 foreclosures in Malaga province.”

He added the funding the association was given for the service barely covered training and facilities.

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