Use of Catalan in justice system hits all-time low

In 2015 only 8% of all court rulings were written in Catalan, the lowest figure in a decade, according to Catalonia’s Justice Department

In 2015 judges in Catalonia only issued 8.4% of their rulings in Catalan, the worst figure in the last 10 years, according to the Justice Department. Catalan minister Carles Mundó made this figure public during the awarding of professional credentials to lawyers in Barcelona, where he asked the new lawyers to "be the driving force" that reverses such an "emergency situation" for the Catalan language.

In 2006, 18% of all court rulings were drafted in Catalan. Since then, the percentage has done nothing but fall. Last year it dropped to 12.2%. The figure for this year is actually 4 points lower. Mundó admitted that this percentage has gone "from bad to worse", and that the use of Catalan in the Justice system has been in "free fall" for a decade.

In addition to asking the lawyers to make an effort to "exercise their right to use the Catalan language" every time they appear in court, Mundó again called for the Catalan language to be a requirement, not just a plus, to join the judiciary. He also noted that the Council of Europe “is outraged" by the language situation in the justice system and asked Spain to "guarantee the presence" of co-official languages.

Tarragona, the province where Catalan is used the least

According to data provided by the Department of Justice, Tarragona is the province where the fewest rulings have been issued in Catalan, only 718 out of 18,970 (3.6%). Girona saw much better results, with 16.7%, but down from 35.2% the previous year. In contrast, in the Terres de l'Ebre, one of the regions where Catalan is least present in Justice, its use has doubled, rising from 2.2% of rulings in 2014 to 5.5% in 2015.

The province of Lleida hovers above average, with 9.3% of rulings written in Catalan last year, while the City of Barcelona recorded 8.3% of cases, and in the Barcelona area counties it was 7.4%. In total, only 19,375 of 230,877 rulings issued in Catalonia last year were written in Catalan.

Oriol Rusca, President of the Catalan Council for Lawyers and dean of the Bar Association of Barcelona, stated at the same event that Catalan is "clearly discriminated against in the Justice system". Both Rusca and Mundó noted that this year, the third entrance test for legal studies was once again administered in Spanish, in spite of repeated requests from the Catalan government. For next year, Rafael Catalá , Justice Minister, "has promised to change this".

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