Italy lawyers urged to work faster in reform drive

Italian PM Matteo Renzi Matteo Renzi described his reform plan as a "revolution"

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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has announced a series of measures designed to overhaul the country's notoriously slow justice system.

His plans include making judges and lawyers work faster and giving them much less time off, as well as speeding up simple divorce cases.

Mr Renzi said his "revolution" would break down bureaucracy that was having a damaging impact on business activity.

On average, it takes eight years to resolve a civil case in Italy.

Trials drag on through round after round of appeals.

Shoppers outside shop with 50% Sale sign Italy's economy has recently slumped back into recession

A business that goes to court to enforce a contract can wait three years for a verdict - twice as long as in neighbouring France, the BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome reports.

And this sort of problem is driving away desperately needed foreign investment into Italy's economy which recently slumped back into recession, our correspondent says.

Across the Italian legal system millions of court cases are waiting to be heard, but Mr Renzi promised he would cut that backlog in half.

But the ambitious young prime minister has only been in office six months, and it remains to be seen quite how much of all this change he will actually be able to deliver, our correspondent adds.

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