The Malta Independent 18 September 2019, Wednesday

Attorney General role-splitting bill approved by Parliament

Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 19:24 Last update: about 3 months ago

The State Advocate Bill, aimed at dividing the role of the prosecution and Government advisory roles of the Attorney General, has been voted on and passed in Parliament.

The State Advocate Bill was brought before Parliament to make provision for the division of the prosecution and Government advisory roles of the Attorney General by transferring the government advisory roles to a new office to be called the Office of the State Advocate and to make provision for matters connected with the said reform.

Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici added prior to the vote that he will be meeting with the Opposition to go over certain points made by Peter Omzigt, a Council of Europe rapporteur, on his report and potentially draft further changes.

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia also spoke, expressing his disappointment at what he saw as a "missed opportunity" at restructuring a system that was being widely criticized by various individuals and international entities.

The splitting of the roles of the Attorney General, which was featured as a recommendation in a report on Malta by the Venice Commission, was met with opposition from the Nationalist Party (PN) and Partit Demokratiku (PD).

PN MP Simon Busuttil had said in a debate in Parliament that this was an anti-European law that destroys European values, maintaining that the problem is already grave with a Prime Minister who controls almost all the institutions of the country.

Minister Bonnici had previously explained that when the bill becomes law, the AG's powers will essentially be that of a prosecutor general, adding that the powers of the office will increase.

The Bill was approved with all government MPs voting in favour and the Opposition voting against. 


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