Cham­ber of Ad­vo­cates pub­lishes 37th edi­tion of ‘Law & Prac­tice’

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - BOOKS -

The re­cently en­acted Hous­ing (De­con­trol) Or­di­nance (Amend­ment) act also re­ferred to as ‘The band club law’ is an em­bar­rass­ing leg­is­la­tion that places Mal­tese so­ci­ety right back in The Mid­dle Ages. Fur­ther­more, the fact that both sides of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives voted in favour of this law can only be in­ter­preted as a trans­par­ent ef­fort to pan­der to the elec­torate.

Such is the opin­ion ex­pressed by Dr Ge­orge Hy­zler, pres­i­dent of the Cham­ber of Ad­vo­cates in his in­tro­duc­tion to the Cham­ber’s lat­est 37th edi­tion of the pub­li­ca­tion Law & Prac­tice.

Dr Hy­zler ex­plains that in the Cham­ber’s view, “the law verges dan­ger­ously on the side of abuse of the in­di­vid­ual’s con­sti­tu­tional right to en­joy­ment of prop­erty. I would have thought that the time when land­lords were made to bear a dis­pro­por­tion­ate cost of so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity in­stead of the state is dead and buried. This piece of em­bar­rass­ing leg­is­la­tion takes us right back to the dark ages. This is wrong”, stated Dr Hy­zler.

Re­fer­ring to the sum­mer court re­cess and to The Rules of the Court which spec­ify that in such pe­riod of time, or­di­nary le­gal mat­ters and pro­ce­dures should not be heard, the Cham­ber had to draw the at­ten­tion of all stake­hold­ers to such Rules. Dr Hy­zler noted that the Rules are be­ing “sys­tem­at­i­cally flouted by judges and mag­is­trates who ap­point cases for hear­ing through­out the sum­mer pe­riod al­beit spo­rad­i­cally”.

Dr Hy­zler re­it­er­ated that this does not con­cern cases of an ur­gent na­ture, be­cause that would be un­der­stand­able and ac­cept­able, but other cases that could eas­ily wait for the be­gin­ning of what is known as the Vic­tory ses­sion, that is, the of­fi­cial open­ing of the “Sena Forensi”. “One gets the feel­ing in light of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s commendable ef­forts to ad­dress the back­log, that these hear­ings are in­tended more to im­press upon the au­thor­i­ties that one is work­ing right through sum­mer rather than to be gen­uinely ef­fec­tive.”

He also laments that while an agree­ment has been reached be­tween govern­ment and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Judges and Mag­is­trates re­gard­ing the in­crease in salaries of mem­bers of the ju­di­ciary, the re­vi­sion of the le­gal tar­iffs due to lawyers and le­gal procu­ra­tors has re­mained un­changed for nearly 20 years. This must also be seen in com­par­i­son with the fact that govern­ment has in­creased its own le­gal tar­iffs more than once.

“The Cham­ber has been dis­cussing this is­sue with govern­ment of­fi­cials for a num­ber of months and agree­ment on the way for­ward was reached way back in Jan­uary, how­ever, the Cham­ber is still lob­by­ing with the Min­is­ter for Jus­tice to ef­fect the nec­es­sary changes. Un­for­tu­nately, this de­lay is caus­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­jus­tice es­pe­cially to the win­ning party in a civil law suit since le­gal fees that may be re­cov­ered from the los­ing party would be limited to the em­bar­rass­ingly low of­fi­cial tar­iff, whereas the win­ning party would have paid its lawyer ac­cord­ing to pre-agreed rates as legally per­mis­si­ble that would not re­flect the of­fi­cial tar­iff.

As in past edi­tions, this lat­est edi­tion edited by Dr Leonard Caru­ana, in­cludes a roundup of the Cham­ber’s most re­cent events and ini­tia­tives, par­tic­u­larly the nu­mer­ous sem­i­nars and con­fer­ences or­gan­ised for its mem­bers and non­mem­bers. The pub­li­ca­tion also in­cludes a num­ber of very in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cles and pa­pers by a num­ber of le­gal con­trib­u­tors such as The ac­tio pub­li­ciana and other fal­la­cies by Dr Mas­simo Vella, Em­ploy­ment Law: Dis­ci­plinary Pro­ce­dures and Warn­ings? by Dr Natal­ino Caru­ana de Brin­cat and the ar­ti­cle Re­cent Chal­lenges and De­vel­op­ments in Com­mer­cial Law by Dr David Fabri in the run up to the an­nual Com­pany Law Con­fer­ence due on 2 Novem­ber.

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