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CONSTITUTION OF MALTA

 

 

CHAPTER VIII The Judiciary 

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96A. (1) There shall be a Judicial Appointments Committee, hereinafter in this article referred to as "the Committee", which shall be a subcommittee of the Commission for the Administration of Justice established by article 101A of this Constitution and which shall be composed as follows:

(a) the Chief Justice;

(b) the Attorney General;

(c) the Auditor General;

(d) the Commissioner for Administrative Investigations (Ombudsman); and

(e) the President of the Chamber of Advocates:

Provided that the President of the Chamber of Advocates shall not, before the expiration of a period of two years starting from the day on which he last occupied a post on the Committee or he was last a Committee member, be eligible to be appointed a member of the judiciary.

(2) The Committee shall be chaired by the Chief Justice or, in his absence, by the judge who substitutes him in accordance with paragraph (d) of sub-article (3).

(3) (a) A person shall not be qualified to be appointed or to continue to hold office as a member of the Committee if he is a Minister, a Parliamentary Secretary, a Member of the House of Representatives, a member of a local government or an official or a candidate of a political party: Provided that where the President of the Chamber of Advocates is not qualified to be appointed or to hold office as aforesaid the Chamber of Advocates shall nominate another advocate to sit on the Committee in his stead.

(b) The office of a member of the Committee shall become vacant if any circumstances arise that, if the person were not a member of the Committee, the person would not qualify for membership thereof.

(c) A member of the Committee may abstain or be challenged in the same circumstances as a judge of the Superior Courts.

(d) Where a member of the Committee abstains or is challenged, in the case of the Chief Justice he shall be substituted by a judge who shall be the next most senior judge in office, in the case of the Attorney General he shall be substituted by the next most senior advocate according to office in the Office of the Attorney General, in the case of the Auditor General he shall be substituted by the next most senior officer according to office in the National Audit Office,

in the case of the Commissioner for Administrative Investigations he shall be substituted by the next most senior officer according to office in the Office of the Ombudsman and in the case of the President of the Chamber of Advocates he shall be replaced by the next most senior advocate according to office in the committee of the Chamber of Advocates.

(4) In the exercise of their functions the members of the Committee shall act on their individual judgement and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.

(5) There shall be a Secretary to the Committee who shall be appointed by the Minister responsible for justice.

(6) The functions of the Committee shall be:

(a) to receive and examine expressions of interest from persons interested in being appointed to the office of judge of the Superior Courts (other than the office of Chief Justice) or of magistrate of the Inferior Courts, except from persons to whom paragraph (e) applies;

(b) to keep a permanent register of expressions of interest mentioned in paragraph (a) and to the acts relative thereto, which register shall be kept secret and shall be accessible only to the members of the Committee, to the Prime Minister and to the Minister responsible for justice;

(c) to conduct interviews and evaluations of candidates for the above-mentioned offices in such manner as it deems appropriate and for this purpose to request information from any public authority as it considers to be reasonably required;

(d) to give advice to the Prime Minister through the Minister responsible for justice about its evaluation on the eligibility and merit of the candidates for appointment to the above-mentioned offices;

(e) when requested by the Prime Minister, to give advice on the eligibility and merit of persons who already occupy the offices of Attorney General, Auditor General, Commissioner for Administrative Investigations (Ombudsman) or of magistrate of the Inferior Courts to be appointed to an office in the judiciary;

(f) to give advice on appointment to any other judicial office or office in the courts as the Minister responsible for justice may from time to time request:

Provided that the evaluation referred to in paragraph (d) shall be made by not later than sixty days from when the Committee receives the expression of interest and the advice mentioned in paragraphs (e) and (f) shall be given by not later than thirty days from when it was requested, or within such other time limits as the Minister responsible for justice may, with the agreement of the Committee, by order in the Gazette establish.

(7) The proceedings of the Committee shall be confidential and shall be held in camera and no member or secretary of the Committee may be called to give evidence before any court or other body with regard to any document received by or any matter discussed or communicated to or by the Committee.

(8) The Committee shall regulate its own procedure and shall be obliged to publish, with the concurrence of the Minister responsible for justice, the criteria on which its evaluations are made.

 

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101A. (1) There shall be a Commission for the Administration of Justice which shall consist of the President, who shall be the Chairman, and nine other members as follows:

(a) the Chief Justice who shall be Deputy Chairman and shall preside over the Commission in the absence of the Chairman;

(b) the Attorney General, ex officio;

(c) two members elected for a period of four years by the judges of the Superior Court from among themselves;

(d) two members elected for a period of four years by the magistrates of the Inferior Courts from among themselves;

(e) two members appointed for a period of four years as to one by the Prime Minister and as to the other by the Leader of the Opposition, being in each case, a person of at least forty-five years of age, and who enjoys the general respect of the public and a reputation of integrity and honesty;

(f) the President of the Chamber of Advocates, ex officio.

(2) The President shall only have a casting vote; when the Deputy Chairman presides over a meeting of the Commission he shall retain his original vote together with the casting vote.

(3) The members elected to the Commission for the Administration of Justice shall be elected in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed by the person or authority referred to in sub-article (7) of article 46 of this Constitution.

(4) (a) A person shall not be qualified to be appointed or continue to hold office as a member of the Commission for the Administration of Justice:

(i) if he is a Minister, a Parliamentary Secretary, a Member of the House of Representatives or a member of a local government authority; or

(ii) if he has been convicted of any crime punishable by imprisonment for any term; or

(iii) if he is disqualified to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives for any of the reasons stated in paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (h) of sub-article (1) of article 54 of this Constitution.

(b) The office of a member of the Commission for the Administration of Justice shall become vacant if any circumstances arise that if he were not a member of the Commission he would not qualify for membership thereof, and a member of the Commission may abstain or be challenged in the same circumstances as a judge of the superior courts.

(5) (a) Where a person fills a vacancy caused by a member of the Commission for the Administration of Justice ceasing to be such a member for any reason, other than the expiration of the period of office, such person shall hold office for the unexpired period of office of the member he replaces.

(b) Where a member of the Commission has been challenged or has abstained, the President acting in accordance with his own deliberate judgement shall appoint as a substitute member to sit on the Commission, a person who in his opinion has as far as may be the same qualities and qualifications as the member substituted. (c) Where the members who, are to be elected under paragraph

(c) and (d) of sub-article (1) of this article, or who are to be appointed under paragraph (e) of the same sub-article, are not so elected or appointed within two weeks from a call for the purpose by the President, the President who in making such appointment shall act in accordance with his own deliberate judgement shall himself appoint members in their stead who where possible in his opinion shall have the same qualities and qualifications as such members.

(6) (a) The Commission for the Administration of Justice shall at all times have a committee for Advocates and Legal Procurators which shall have such composition, functions, powers and duties as may be assigned to it by law. The Commission shall in the exercise of any of its functions in relation to the professions of Advocates and Legal Procurators act through the said committees in such manner and subject to such review as may by the said law be provided.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this sub-article, the Commission shall refer to the Committee for Advocates and Legal Procurators (hereinafter in this article referred to as "the Committee") any matter concerning the misconduct of an advocate or legal procurator in the exercise of their profession, and, saving in the case of an appeal, the Commission shall not act otherwise than on receipt of, and in accordance with, the findings of the Committee in any such matter. So however that, where a report of findings by the Committee has not been submitted to the Commission within two months from the day on which the matter was brought before the Committee, or within such further period or periods as the Commission may allow, which shall in no case, except for very exceptional reasons, exceed a further four months, the Commission shall thereupon itself investigate and determine the matter

(c) Without prejudice to the provisions of the foregoing paragraph the Commission may appoint such other committees to assist it on any matter falling within its functions as it may deem fit.

(7) In the exercise of their functions the members of the Commission and of any of its committees shall act on their individual judgement and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.

(8) Sub-articles (2) and (3) of article 121 of this Constitution shall apply to any committee of the Commission.

(9) There shall be a secretary of the Commission for the Administration of Justice who shall also act as secretary of any committee of the Commission. The Secretary of the Commission shall be appointed by the Commission from among public officers assigned to the Courts or from among members of the legal professions. The Secretary shall hold office until such time as his appointment is terminated by the Commission.

(10) A person appointed as a member of the Commission for the Administration of Justice or any of its committees may be removed from office by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the body or the holder of the office appointing such member, but he may be removed only for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misbehaviour.

(11) The functions of the Commission for the Administration of Justice shall be:

(a) to supervise the workings of all the superior and inferior courts and to make such recommendations to the Minister responsible for justice as to the remedies, which appear to it, conductive to a more efficient functioning of such courts;

(b) to advise the Minister responsible for justice on any matter relating to the organisation of the administration of justice;

(c) to exercise, subject to article 101B of this Constitution, discipline on judges and magistrates;

(d) to draw up a code or codes of ethics regulating the conduct of members of the judiciary;

(e) on the advice of the Committee for Advocates and Legal Procurators to draw up a code or codes of ethics regulating the professional conduct of members of those professions: Provided that where such advice is not given within such time as the Commission may establish, the Commission may draw up such code or codes without the necessity of such advice;

(f) to draw the attention of any judge or magistrate on any matter, in any court in which he sits, which may not be conducive to an efficient and proper functioning of such court;

(g) to exercise, in accordance with any law, discipline over advocates and legal procurators practising their profession; and

(h) such other function as may be assigned to it by law.

(12) The Commission for the Administration of Justice shall each year make a report to the Minister responsible for justice on its activities during the previous calendar year, and shall at any time, when it deems fit or as may be required by the said Minister, make a report on any particular matter to the said Minister.

(13) The powers of the President under any law with regard to the subrogation of judges and magistrates and to the assignment of duties of judges and magistrates shall be exercised on the advice of the Minister responsible for justice, so however that, the Minister shall, in advising the President, act in accordance with any recommendation on the matter by the Chief Justice:

Provided that where the Chief Justice fails to make a recommendation to the Minister, and in any case where the Minister deems it so appropriate, the Minister may advise the President on the matter, in any manner which, in the circumstances, he considers appropriate:

Provided further that in any such case he shall immediately publish in the Gazette, a notice of that fact together with the reasons therefor, and he shall make a statement of such fact in the House of Representatives not later than the second sitting immediately after he has so advised the President.

(14) The question whether the Commission for the Administration of Justice has validly performed any function vested in it by or under this Constitution shall not be enquired into in any court.

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