The president of the Superior Court of Justice of Murcia (TSJMU), Miguel Pasqual del Riquelme, had to feel like a guest in his own home after being notified just a week in advance that an act would take place at his judicial headquarters this Tuesday. Through an email sent from the Protocol Department, he was informed that the second phase of the City of Justice of Murcia would be presented, an event headed by the Secretary of State for Justice, Tontxu Rodríguez: “On the occasion of the visit of the Secretary of State for Justice to the Region of Murcia, we would be pleased to have your presence at the presentation ceremony of phase II of the City of Justice of Murcia”. The following day, the president of this judicial body of the Region of Murcia, together with the Government Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice, vetoed the event and requested protection from the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) accusing Rodríguez of “undue interference”. to the “statute of self-government of the Judiciary”.
The agreement where the presentation is prohibited places special emphasis on the “unilateralism” of Tontxu Rodríguez when organizing the act: “The unilateralism of the initiative and call for said act by the Ministry of Justice deviates from the usual uses of coordination, cooperation and inter-institutional loyalty that the Government Chamber deems must be preserved”, they reproach in the letter.
To veto the event, the Murcian high court has accepted the Organic Law of the Judiciary, which stipulates that “activities outside the judicial function in judicial buildings or their dependencies may not be carried out without the agreement of the Government Chamber , that of the Administration to which the ownership of the property corresponds and that of the other Administrations with concurrent powers, if any”. Despite the fact that this visit lacked the approval of the Government Chamber, the truth is that the administration of Justice in the Region of Murcia depends on the Ministry, as well as the property of the City of Justice.
In several points of the veto agreement, the Government Chamber calls for the “neutrality of judicial venues” which, in its opinion, requires that “no executive body, nor any of its positions, can use its own and exclusive initiative a judicial seat for any activity that is not strictly judicial”. In the actions of the Secretary of State, the TSJMU observes an act of “undue interference”, for which reason it requests “protection” from the General Council of the Judiciary, a remedy traditionally used by judges who see their independence disturbed by external forces.
The visit was on the occasion of the presentation of the second phase of this Murcian judicial headquarters that houses both the TSJMU and the Court, which has had an investment of 27 million euros. Miguel Pasqual del Riquelme himself has assured that he is delighted with the extraordinary investment from the Ministry of Justice: “There has never been so much investment”, he celebrated.
Finally, it has been transferred to the Government Delegation in the Region of Murcia. Despite the agreement of the Government Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice, Pasqual de Riquelme has assured that what happened is not a “pathological controversy”: “The issue is resolved and there is no problem,” he insisted. Regarding whether his veto could have annoyed the Secretary of State for Justice, the president of the TSJMU has said that “I am not aware of any annoyance”.