Law courts to get three new halls by next year
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.