The Malta Independent 20 October 2019, Sunday

More reforms in the justice sector

Owen Bonnici Friday, 4 October 2019, 08:43 Last update: about 15 days ago

October brings with it the opening of the Forensic Year, a yearly ceremony during which the Chief Justice not only gives his views on several topics related to the justice system, but also gives a view of the year ahead in this very important sector of our country.

The opening of the forensic year is also another opportunity to reflect on the ongoing work that has to be done to continue to strengthen the rule of law, and also reflect on what has been done, which has definitely improved the rule of law and our democracy.


Various measures and Laws have been implemented during the past six years, and we will continue to implement to further strengthen them. A lot remains to be done and we need to make sure that we keep the momentum and keep delivering change. Challenges still lie ahead in the Justice sector, but we are determined to continue to do our utmost as this government is committed to keep on improving it, as it is a strong pillar of our democracy.

In fact, more reforms were announced this week facilitating through information technology the Rent Regulation Board and Rural Leases Control Board’s judicial proceedings.

These measures will help to further simplify judicial processes and thereby greatly help not only the legal profession, but also the general public resort to their services. All this is being done so that Maltese and Gozitan citizens have more open access to our courts and have more information about what is happening in the Justice sector.

This is a government which is intent on implementing reforms and changes in all sectors.

I again thank the judges and all legal professionals in their work as well as all the staff of our courts for their extraordinary commitment.  Our Justice system is strong and robust and this is thanks to generations of hard work from the vast majority of members of the Judiciary and legal professionals.

Above all I thank his Excellency President George Vella for his great moral support.


A total of 29 musical societies have been awarded a total of €150,000, thanks to a fund managed by Għaqda Każini tal-Banda and by Arts Council Malta within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, focusing on strengthening the cultural work done by these societies. This fund is now in its third year.

The work done by these societies carries an intrinsic role within our communities, especially when it comes to upholding traditions and the teaching of music, most of which is done on a voluntary basis.

This government’s vision regarding the culture sector is that more people should benefit from it. These musical societies are catalysts in attracting more audiences towards the culture sector, and through such opportunities we are investing towards a better cultural and artistic product.

Musical societies serve as a point of entry and engagement with the arts and their activities are ongoing. While they focus to teaching music to children and young people, they also organise cultural and traditional activities, which reach a peak during their main activity – village feasts. 

The fund builds on the successes registered from previous editions, and supports various initiatives proposed by the band clubs themselves.


The coveted Il-Premju għall-Arti, an initiative by Arts Council Malta, within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government is back for its third edition.

The awards will be under the patronage of President of Malta George Vella and will be celebrating excellent and outstanding work premiered throughout the 2018/2019 creative season, contributing to the advancement of Malta’s cultural and creative sectors.

During the launch I emphasised the importance of Il-Premju għall-Arti to the cultural and creative sectors through its recognition of the most outstanding projects, productions, artistic practice and methodology. As a government we work towards strengthening the cultural scene in our country, and thanks to this initiative which is now in its third year, we are awarding excellence in the field of culture and the arts, whilst encouraging more professionalism and distinction within the sector.

Il-Premju għall-Arti has been rebranded with a fresh new look this year, and during the awards night, winners will be presented with a prestigious and newly designed Arts Council Malta trophy created and developed by artist Kane Calì.

The awards will be more community-centred this year, given that it is now easier for the public to nominate individuals or organisations who caught their eye and who they think deserve recognition for work produced during the 2018/2019 season. To this effect, a brand-new website,, was launched, through which audiences can nominate the work or artists who they believe deserve recognition.

The nomination process is simple – members of the public need only fill a simple form on the website. Once a nomination has been submitted, the Il-Premju għall-Arti team will contact the individuals nominated, asking them if they would like to accept or decline their nomination. Should they accept, they will then have to submit documentation related to their work, which will then be evaluated by sectorial experts.

There are 10 competitive categories including Artist of the Year, Production of the Year, Best Creative Enterprise, and an Award for Innovation. Il-Premju għall-Arti will also award three non-competitive honours: the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Honour for Cultural Promoters and the Honour for Artistic Legacy.

The award ceremony will be held in April 2020 and the nomination process on is currently open and closes on 15th November 2019.


The Ministry’s entity and national dance company ŻfinMalta has just launched its 2019-2020 season. Since its inception, the company has pioneered fresh thinking about contemporary dance in the Maltese islands. The company works with the best dancers and choreographers, locally and worldwide, to create innovative new productions of a world-class artistic standard.

I laud the impressive steps taken by the National Dance Company since its inception. This is all possible thanks to the direct investment done by this Government in culture and the arts. Through ŻfinMalta, not only are we are fostering an appreciation towards the arts, but we’re providing our country’s cultural sector with a meaningful legacy.

The previous season heralded a considerable growth within ŻfinMalta, and the  2019/20 season takes this growth to new heights, with seven productions, featuring local artists and acclaimed international choreographers; three collaborative outreach productions for key festivals and events; four programmes for dance participation and education; an artist-in-residence programme; and a new series of public presentations on choreography by experts from alternative creative fields.

Each individual project is conceived for a targeted audience and participants, addressing the company’s three core values – inclusivity, growth, and excellence. As a whole, these projects form a dense hub of creativity and cross-fertilisation, providing a space to push the boundaries and place ŻfinMalta at the forefront of innovative thinking in dance at an international level.

The coming cultural season is packed with events and performances which will once more enrich our winter cultural calendar. I thank all performers for their dedication and the general public for their continuous support.

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