Portuguese justice is notoriously slow and it used to be possible to take cases of slow justice directly to the European Court. A few years ago, the law was altered and the slowness of justice has first to go on trial in the national courts.
The result is a win-win situation for slow justice. The national courts condemn the state for slowness of justice (fifteen years in one case) and award the plaintiff a pittance. The State then appeals the decision and the plaintiff is faced with paying more court and lawyers fees so that in the compensation will not cover the costs.
Is this the European Union and the European law that citizens want?