The Malta Independent 26 September 2017, Tuesday

Lack of enforcement hampers business

Thursday, 14 September 2017, 09:38 Last update: about 12 days ago

Speaking last Sunday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat spoke about his second term's first 100 days and outlined the work ahead. Among other tasks ahead, he mentioned the need for enforcement all around.

There can be no doubt that business in Malta suffers considerable damage from lack of proper enforcement. We will highlight some aspects, but maybe there are more.

An area where proper enforcement is lacking, and has been lacking for many years, is the Law Courts and especially the Civil Courts.

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We know that court cases in Malta take a very long time. Time and again, the various administrations commit themselves to get court cases to come to a conclusion earlier, but then they rarely succeed.

The way court cases and handled is an open invitation for those whose interest is to lengthen the proceedings to be able to do so.

But even if the court case finally comes to a conclusion, there is yet space for an appeal or two.

And then, when the case is finally decided, you would think it's all settled and, if you won the case, you can collect your dues. Wrong. You will then face a new phase of lack of enforcement. For there are many ways in which the guilty, or, let's say those who lost the case, can wheedle and turn this way or that and at best delay paying their dues or even getting away with not paying at all.

This is an everyday occurrence, as any business person can tell you. The Government Gazette in every issue is full of cases like this where people try to get what is theirs by right and what has been confirmed by the courts as being theirs by right. It stands to reason the adverts or notices are there because people have not got back what is rightfully theirs.

And we are talking here of people who institute court cases. There are many many cases where people are wronged but then decide not to take the case to court. Some argue that only the guilty go to court. Others stay away because court procedures are lengthy and cost a lot. Others would be physically afraid of retribution wreaked on them and their families.

So, once again, enforcement is inexistent in these cases and in many similar cases.

When people, enterprises, businesses, consider relocating to Malta, one of the key factors they study is whether Malta is under the rule of law, whether they can get a proper hearing at the law courts and whether they can wage a court case with an expectation of winning their due.

But if they come and find out the lengthy deliberations of the court and the hardship involved in getting what is rightfully yours back, people get discouraged.

And Malta loses a potential investor. 
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