The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
View E-Paper

Nationalist Party and Malta Law Students’ Society present draft regarding judicial review

Isaac Saliba Monday, 20 November 2023, 13:16 Last update: about 8 months ago

A draft of a proposed law regarding the topic of judicial review was announced by Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina on Monday alongside the President and Vice President of the Malta Law Students’ Society, Andrew Drago and Laura Chetcuti Dimech. The draft was presented to the Speaker of the House that morning prior to the conference.

Aquilina said that the Law Students’ Society had published a document about the subject and that the Opposition had engaged with the students in order to see the document and be able to present it to Parliament so that it could be discussed and adapted into law.

He said that this draft is a historic one as it is the first time in the history of the Maltese parliament that a draft has been prepared by students. He added that this was done in cooperation with the Nationalist Party through discussions and refinements which took place over the course of months.

Aquilina said that the aims of this draft are to refresh the country’s laws and make them clearer. He said that it also aims to provide more rights to citizens and offer protection against the abuse of power as well as hold the government and public authorities more responsible. He added that the draft aims to strengthen the courts’ ability to enact justice and to strengthen the role of the Ombudsman.

The MP continued that the draft has the goal of consolidating and reforming Maltese law in regard to judicial review of administrative, legislative, and judiciary acts. This would mean that part of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure would be changed as a result.

He explained that the term ‘judicial review’ refers to a legal procedure in which someone would go to the court and ask for a review of an administrative, legislative, or judiciary act. This means that the Court does not make the final decision but reviews the decision to see if it was appropriate within a legal frame.

He said that the administrative acts being listed within this law are the following:

Order, License, Permit, Warrant, or Decision. He said that any decision which refutes any of these is also an administrative act.

Regarding the question of what is a public authority, he said that this refers to the Maltese government, the Ministries, the departments of government, the local authorities, and any boards responsible for distributing warrants. He added that the Armed Forces and any other entity which performs a public function would be included as an addition with this draft.

Speaking about some of the specific changes brought forward by this proposed law, the President of the Malta Law Students’ Society Andrew Drago said that the procedure of the judicial review will be simplified and codified as it is currently overcomplicated and inaccessible. He said that another change being proposed by this draft is that of ‘legal interest’ which refers to the ability of a person who has been aggravated by the decision of an administrative entity to bring their case forward. Drago said that this definition as it stands is very restrictive and results in NGOs and pressure groups being unable to move their cases forward. He said that this draft proposes a wider definition of the term in order to help resolve the issue.

Drago said that another change being proposed in this draft is making it so legislative acts would be included within this process as well. He continued that another change would be the timeframe which would allow someone to bring forward this type of case. He explained that as it stands, a judicial review case can be brought forward within six months of the final decision being made. He said that this draft is proposing for this timeframe to be extended to two years and that this period would be paused if the case is being reviewed by the Ombudsman.

Ultimately, he concluded that this change would strengthen the office of the Ombudsman and allow people to take their cases to said office without having to worry about the aforementioned timeframe expiring.

  • don't miss