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In 2020        

Crime rate in the Autonomous Region of Madeira decreased when compared to the previous year and remained below the national average

In this press release, the Regional Directorate of Statistics of Madeira (DREM) presents the time series of justice updated with data from 2020. The information on this statistical domain is provided by the Directorate General for Justice Policy (DGPJ), which acts as the delegated entity of Statistics Portugal (INE). It should be noted that, in this edition, the time series has been expanded with 4 more indicators, regarding insolvency cases.

Courts – Number of pending cases continues to fall                  

Data regarding the movement of cases in the 1st instance judicial courts (not considering the data from courts of enforcement of sentences) in the district of Madeira indicate that, in 2020, the number of pending cases decreased by approximately 7.6% compared to 2019. On 31st December 2020, the number of pending cases in those courts was 16.2 thousand (17.5 thousand in 2019).

In 2020, the number of completed cases (10.5 thousand) remained higher than the number of incoming cases (9.2 thousand). The favourable balance of about 1.3 thousand cases justifies the aforementioned decrease in pending cases (-7.6% compared to 2019), and throughout the entire period of the series (2015-2020), this type of cases successively decreased.

In 2020, there was a clear predominance of civil court proceedings in the 1st instance judicial courts (cases related to debts, leases, divorces, inventories, insolvency, company recovery, traffic accidents, thus distinguished from criminal, labour and guardianship justice cases - those concerning minors). The share of civil cases in the total of incoming cases stood at 62.2% (5.7 thousand cases). In completed cases, this proportion was 67.1% (7.1 thousand) and 86.1% in pending cases (13.9 thousand). The number of incoming cases went down by 72.3% over 2019 and by 71.6% in completed cases. Since the number of completed cases was higher than the number of incoming cases, the balance in 2020 stood at -1.3 thousand cases, thus accounting for the 8.8% reduction of pending cases over 2019.

The clearance rate (ratio between the number of completed cases and incoming cases) of the country courts of law in 2020 was 114.5%, decreasing by 1.8 percentage points (pp) from the previous year (116.3%). The clearance rate of labour criminal lawsuits (148.2%) exceeded that of the remaining lawsuits with criminal and labour lawsuits (97.8%) having the lowest values.

Concerning the average duration of completed proceedings in the 1st instance judicial courts, the average duration of the civil lawsuit (the longest in the system) went down by one month between 2019 and 2020, from 37 to 36 months, respectively. In the labour criminal cases there was a 2-month drop; in the remaining cases, there was an increase.

The number of incoming (201) and closed (185) bankruptcy, insolvency and corporate recovery cases reached the lowest point of the time series (2015-2020) in 2020, meaning a drop of 34.7% and 41.5%, respectively, compared to 2019. It should also be noted that the number of completed cases was lower than the number of incoming cases, contrary to the trend of recent years, which resulted in an increase of 51.6% in pending cases.

Regarding cases of bankruptcy/insolvency decreed, there was a 41.4% decrease between 2019 and 2020. Regarding the type of person involved in the bankruptcy/insolvency decreed, in 2020, the total number of proceedings of natural persons was higher (60.0%) than that of legal persons (40.0%). It should be noted, however, that the total of natural person cases lost relevance in this year when compared to the figures reached in the other years of the time series, in which the share stood above 70%.

With regard to bankruptcy/insolvency decreed, it can be seen that the class "Between 5 000 and 9 999 euros" concentrated the largest share of cases (38.8%), followed by the class "Up to 4 999 euros", with 32.5%. The other two classes, "Between €10,000 and €49,999" and "€50,000 or more", were the least important, accounting, in aggregate, for 28.8% of all cases. Compared to 2019, there were significant changes relevance of the four classes. In that year the class "Between 10,000€ and 49,999€" represented 33.3% of all cases.

Considering the Classification of Economic Activity of the private legal entities involved in the insolvency proceedings decreed in 2020, 30.2% corresponded to the wholesale and retail trade and vehicle repair and 28.6% to the category of accommodation, food service activities and similar. This was followed by construction (11.1%) and manufacturing (9.5%).

Registries and Notary- Acts of registry and notary decreased

In the Autonomous Region of Madeira, in 2020, 204.5 thousand acts of registry and notary were performed (down by 18.6% compared to 2019), of which 32.2% were related to civil registry and 25.7% to real estate registry, followed by notaries (18.3%), motor vehicle registry (16.9%), and commercial registry (6.9%).

Regarding the number of public deeds in 2020, there was a decrease of 3.2% over the previous year, from 6.1 thousand deeds in 2019 to 5.9 thousand in 2020. The vast majority of these deeds were held in the municipality of Funchal (2.7 thousand deeds; 45.9% of the total).

Crimes – Crime rate went down

In 2020, 6.0 thousand crimes were reported by the Police Authorities in the Region, a 9.0% decrease over the previous year (6.6 thousand).

The most significant crimes in the total number of crimes registered in 2020 – “crimes against patrimony” and “crimes against persons” – totalled 2.2 and 2.4 thousand, respectively, representing in aggregate 76.5% of the overall total (76.8% in 2019). Compared to 2019, “crimes against patrimony” decreased by 13.8%, while “crimes against persons” went down by 4.7%.

By municipality, almost half of the crimes recorded in the Autonomous Region of Madeira in 2020 occurred in Funchal (2.9 thousand crimes, 47.8% of the total), followed by the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos (950 crimes, 15.7%), Santa Cruz (689 crimes, 11.4%) and Machico (434 crimes, 7.2%).

In 2020, the crime rate - which corresponds to the ratio of the number of crimes per 1,000 residents – stood at 23.8‰, lower than in 2019 (26.1‰). It should be noted that this rate was substantially lower than the national average (29.0‰)  and the value recorded in the Autonomous Region of the Azores (38.2‰). In the Region, the highest rates were recorded in “crimes against patrimony” (8.8 ‰) and “crimes of assault” (6.1 ‰).

By municipality, the lowest rate was recorded in Santana (12.5‰) and the highest in Porto Santo (30.6‰). Besides Porto Santo, the crime rates of Ribeira Brava (28,9‰), Câmara de Lobos (28,2‰), Funchal (27,8‰) and Porto Moniz (26,4‰) also stood above the regional average.

Justica EN novo

In 2020, the law enforcement authorities identified and recorded 945 injured / offended spouses (or akin) crimes in domestic violence crimes in the Region, down by 54 from the previous year (999 persons). This is the lowest value recorded in the last 9 years, with 2015 being the year with the highest number (1,240 persons). About three out of four of these injured/offended identified persons were women. 461 (48.8%) of the injured/offended were identified in Funchal and 212 (22.4%) in Câmara de Lobos.

Lawyers – Number of lawyers remained unchanged

In 2020, 486 lawyers were enrolled in the respective Bar association in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, the same number as in 2019. Of this total, 53 were still trainee lawyers (10.9% of the total), mostly female (56.6% of the trainee lawyers). In the remaining 433 registered lawyers (89.1% of the total), there were more men (52.9%) than women (47.1% of the total lawyers).

Prison Establishments and Inmates – Prison population stood around 254 at the end of 2020

According to information provided by the DGPJ, the Prison of Funchal had, on December 31, 2020, a population of 254 persons, a 15.1% decrease compared to the same day of 2019 (299 people). The series available (2005-2020) for existing inmates shows that this indicator recorded the highest value in 2011 (306 inmates).

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