The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Attorney General will not appeal judicial appointments decision

Thursday, 7 November 2019, 17:30 Last update: about 6 days ago

There will be no appeal by the Attorney General from Monday's court decision in a case over judicial appointments which has been referred to the European Court.  

Civil society group Repubblika, which is arguing that the prime minister's discretion in the appointment of members of the judiciary is a breach of the European Treaty and Charter of Fundamental Rights, had requested the referral.

Attorney General Peter Grech informed the court that he would not be appealing the decree.

Repubblika is also asking the European Court to rule on whether judicial appointments made in April 2019 were invalid and whether any further appointments should be halted, until a final decision on the merits of the case is reached.

Mr Justice Mark Chetcuti presented the parties with a draft copy of the terms of the referral and gave the parties until November 18 to submit any amendments to the referral order.

In Monday's decision, the court had referred to the decision in Commission vs Poland, pointing out that, while that oft-quoted case had tackled some similar issues, there were facets of Repubblika's case that "appear to have never been addressed before.".

"Since this was not just a matter of public interest but also one which placed serious doubt about the current judicial system," the court said it was requesting the European Court of Justice to handle the referral "with urgency."

The case was adjourned to November 25 for the final version of the referral order by the Court.

Attorney General Peter Grech and Victoria Buttigieg appeared for the respondents.

Lawyers Simon Busuttil, Karol Aquilina and Jason Azzopardi represented Repubblika.

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