THE POWERS & INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IN MALTA

OPINION ON CONSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS AND SEPARATION OF POWERS AND THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IN MALTA


Venice Commission Opinion By Richard Clayton QC

Introduction

By letter of 10 October 2018, Ms Ævarsdottir, Chairperson, Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) requested an opinion of the Venice Commission on Malta’s constitutional arrangements and separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary and law enforcement bodies. On 13 October 2018, Mr Owen Bonnici, Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, requested an opinion on Malta’s legal and institutional structures of law enforcement, investigation and prosecution in the light of the need to secure proper checks and balances, and the independence and neutrality of those institutions and their staff whilst also securing their effectiveness and democratic accountability.

Mr Richard Clayton, Mr Martin Kuijer, Mr Myron Nicolatos, Ms Kjerulf Thorgeirsdottir and Mr Kaarlo Tuori were invited to act as rapporteurs for this opinion.

On 5-6 November 2018, they participated in a visit to Malta where they met with, in chronological order, the Acting Prime Minister and the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, the Chief Justice of Malta, the Judges’ Association, the Acting Attorney General, the President of the Republic of Malta, the Government Whip, opposition Members of Parliament, the Ombudsman, the Police Commissioner, the Malta Police Association, the Police Officers Union and the Dean of the Faculty of Laws, as well as with representatives of civil society. The Venice Commission is grateful to the Maltese authorities for the excellent organisation of the visit.

This opinion was drafted on the basis of comments by the rapporteurs and the results of the visit to Malta. It was adopted by the Venice Commission at its 117th Plenary Session (Venice, 14-15 December 2018).


A copy of the full opinion is here.  

17 December 2018

Richard Clayton QC