Law courts to get three new halls by next year

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Gabriel Schem­bri Photos: James Bianchi

The Law Courts in Val­letta will get three new halls in which cases can be heard. A pro­ject which in­volved the re­lo­ca­tion of part of the court archives from the Law Courts to a build­ing in Flo­ri­ana, man­aged to free enough room to cre­ate three new halls. This means that the num­ber of halls in the court in Val­letta will in­crease from 24 to 27.

The court cur­rently hosts 22 halls in the main build­ing and two halls re­served for the fam­ily court.

Min­is­ter for Jus­tice Owen Bon­nici an­nounced the de­tails of this ex­pan­sion at a press con­fer­ence held yes­ter­day. He ex­plained that the govern­ment was com­mit­ted to take the nec­es­sary mea­sures to tackle the prob­lem re­lated to lack of space. Dr Bon­nici said that now that more space will be pro­vided, the back­log of cases can be ad­dressed fur­ther.

As part of the ex­pan­sion pro­ject, the min­is­ter ex­plained that the judges’ cham­bers will move to Old Mint Street. The court li­brary and the train­ing rooms will now move next to the archives.

The pro­ject will cost €750,000 and will be con­cluded by end of 2017.

On the num­ber of mem­bers of the ju­di­ciary, the min­is­ter said that Malta has the big­gest num­ber of lawyers avail­able per capita in Europe, but it also holds the low­est num­ber of judges per capita. This is­sue must be ad­dressed.

This govern­ment has in­tro­duced a new pool of court at­tor­neys whose job is to as­sist the judges, mak­ing the process faster. Dr Bon­nici said that ev­ery judge sit­ting on a civil court is as­sisted by a court at­tor­ney.

Asked whether the prom­ise of hav­ing lawyers pros­e­cut­ing in­stead of po­lice in­spec­tors will be kept, the min­is­ter said that the govern­ment needs to con­vince both the AG and the Po­lice for this process to func­tion.

How­ever, he said that in the last eight months, lawyer Na­dia Vella was tasked with the pro­ject and it seems that the change was a wel­come one. “Still, there are a lot who are not ready for this cul­ture change. This needs a change in law and in men­tal­ity. It might be eas­ier to deal with the law than with the cul­ture men­tal­ity.”

This will also mean that the AG will re­quire more lawyers.

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