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