The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

Daughter-in-law of Labour’s legal eagle earmarked to be appointed magistrate

David Lindsay Sunday, 18 November 2018, 10:00 Last update: about 10 months ago

The daughter-in-law of the Labour Party’s top-flight lawyer Pawlu Lia has been earmarked for a spot on the bench as a magistrate, multiple legal sources speaking to The Malta Independent on Sunday have confirmed.

The apparent magistrate in waiting, Dr Nadine Lia (née Sant), is set to fill the vacancy at the courts that has been created with the recent retirement of Judge Antonio Mizzi. As such, a magistrate is expected to be promoted to judge, leaving a magisterial vacancy, which is expected to be filled by Dr Lia.

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Several well-informed sources speaking to this newspaper said rumours have been doing the rounds to the effect that the new appointment is now imminent.

Sant has recently served as a legal advisor for the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, and as the chairperson of the Family Business Act committee, under Economy Minister Chris Cardona.

The answer to a Parliamentary Question back in October 2013 revealed that Sant had been taken on by Cardona’s ministry soon after the general election in 2013, in March of that year in fact, with a €33,000 salary, a €20,000 "expertise allowance" and an additional €2,000 expense allowance.

This was at the same time that then newly-elected Labour MP Silvio Schembri was also appointed as a consultant to Cardona.

The ministry later published fees paid to two of its 16 advisors, saying Sant was paid €60,512 per annum.

Sant’s father-in-law Pawlu Lia recently defended Cardona in the strange case of the brothel visit, which had been inconclusively dropped by Cardona without coughing up the proof the defence said would show Cardona had not visited a brothel in Germany. Cardona and his team have refused successive offers for this newspaper to review his mobile phone records for the dates in question.

If the appointment comes through as rumoured and expected, it would be construed as yet another partisan appointment to the bench.

Nadine Sant, now Nadine Lia, was more recently appointed as the Regulator for Family Businesses responsible for developing and introducing policy and legislation specifically for family businesses.

She has in the past worked as a legal researcher, a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Malta, a barrister in chambers at the Middle Temple Inn, London, a lawyer at the Attorney General’s Office, and most recently as legal adviser to Cardona engaged to provide ‘ad hoc legal assignments as assigned by the minister’. She is also a visiting lecturer and examiner at the University of Malta’s Faculty of Law.

Sources have also pointed out to this newspaper that apart from having been showered with consultancies since Labour came to power in March 2013, more experienced lawyers have applied for the position but have been overlooked.

 

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