The Malta Independent 18 January 2022, Tuesday

Watch: Government to go over 12-bill document proposed by PN – Zammit Lewis

Sabrina Zammit Tuesday, 11 January 2022, 12:48 Last update: about 6 days ago

The government will go over the 12 bills presented by the Nationalist Party, based on the legal recommendations made in the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry, Minister for Justice and Governance Edward Zammit Lewis said today.

The government will consider the bills and take note of what is positive in them, the Minister said, without committing himself further.

Addressing journalists, Zammit Lewis added that in the last 23 months, the government had implemented multiple reforms related to the rule of law and good governance, such as how the Chief Justice and judges are appointed and how they are disciplined.

Considering the conclusions in the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry, the Minister said that the Prime Minister has already spoken about various consultations made in the previous months and will be announcing reforms.

Zammit Lewis said that he noted several significant mistakes in the proposed bills, which he will discuss in due time.

The Minister noted that when he first was appointed as Minister for Justice and Governance, within months he had implemented reforms which should have been made decades ago.

On Saturday, the Nationalist Party announced a package of 12 legislative bills aimed to implement the major findings of the public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and to fight corruption.

Speaking about targets, he added that there is still work to be done for courts to be more efficient.

Mentioning one of the PN bill proposals where a judge is to be appointed to investigate corruption, he said that in principle, he finds no problem, but one needs to seek the environment in which such proposal is being made. He added that although there might be a need for further efficiency, inquiries are currently being made with a pool of magistrates who are doing excellent work.

In the press conference, Zammit Lewis announced a wider capping for service of legal aid advocates.

Capping for access to legal aid in the case of civil court will be increased to €13,000 from €7,000, he said. This means that persons with an income up to €13,000 a year can be given such assistance.

Apart from that a new system has been introduced where people can apply to see if they are eligible for legal aid through an online application.

NGOs can apply for on behalf of their clients, whilst the said clients can also apply themselves.

This initiative will seek to make justice more reachable and fairer to all, the Minister said, as there will not be a need to go physically to an office anymore and wait for a response.

In ensuring that the capping covers a broader spectrum of vulnerable individuals, the government sought the support of social entities such as the social security department to ensure that the capping is within reasonable level.

Video: Miguela Xuereb/Newsbook

 

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