The judges’ workload is constantly increasing. The strain on the court system seems to have reached the limits for what is possible within existing human and economical resources. The need for improvements in the courts’ efficiency is therefore crucial to avoid a serious dysfunctional threat of the state body securing fundamental justice through legal decisions. Necessary measures encompassing all professions must be introduced as counteracts against repeatedly postponements.

The term “consecutive trial hearings” means that a hearing starts one day and continues the next day(s) -consecutively until the main hearing is finished. This principle is applicable for cases that cannot be dealt with within the time frame of one day, e.g. due to the complexity and number of witnesses. The same principle, of course, also prevails if the case can be finished within the first day, in such a way that all parts of the proceedings consecutively can be carried out in one day.

The advantage of this principle is that the professions and the persons involved can focus on the question raised in the case without interference in between of other cases and no steps will be needed for trial de novo. With initial planning a consecutive trial hearing will lead to a substantial decrease of time a case is pending in the court system. However, improved planning of the proceedings in concrete cases also calls for an active contribution from the prosecutors and the defence attorneys.

Procedural shortcomings that come visible one day can with sufficient ad hoc measures be repaired until next day, e.g. appearances of witnesses. Possible disputes should, as a main rule, be foreseen and decided upon before the commencement of the main trial based on written pleadings, alternatively be decided upon by the judge initially in the main trial, after which the court proceedings continue and are finished as one consecutive main trial.

In addition, the individual stress and suffering a charged person is facing in pre-trail detention, can be reduced by shortening the time period he has to spend under such circumstances. Postponements also cause unnecessary strain and costs for the victims and witnesses who have to appear in court on numerous occasions, every postponement making it more likely that they will not show up the next time. The evidential value would also decrease as the time passes. This should be avoided by planning the court days based on an estimate of all witnesses, assuming what time each statement will take, and then summon the parties and witnesses accordingly to appear on individual given times.

We think that the introduction of the “consecutive trial hearings” concept would allow achieving considerable saving of time and economic resources for all the parties in the court process.