Judges
Navigate Up
Sign In

Judges

​Judges sit in the Superior Courts. Judges are appointed by the President of Malta acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Appointments Committee.

As from 2016, a Judicial Appointments Committee was set up to receive and examine expressions of interest from persons interested to be appointed as Judges or Magistrates and, back then, gave advice to the Prime Minister through the Minister responsible for Justice about the eligibility and merit of candidates it would have evaluated and interviewed. 

The Prime Minister was obliged to consult with the Judicial Appointments Committee prior to appointing a Judge or Magistrate.

As from 2020, the duties of the Judicial Appointments Committee were amended, wherein, whilst retaining the functions mentioned above, should a vacancy in any office occur, the Committee shall send the names of three candidates it considers most suitable along with a detailed report on the suitability and merit of these three candidates. 

The President of Malta will then be entitled to elect a Judge or Magistrate exclusively from the names of the three candidates transmitted by the Committee.

The Judicial Appointments Committee, as per Article 96A of the Constitution, is composed of the Chief Justice, two Judges elected by their peers for a period of four years, a Magistrate elected by his or her peers for a period of four years, the Commissioner for Administrative Investigations (Ombudsman) and the President of the Chamber of Advocates. 

Judges enjoy security of tenure, which means that a Judge can only be removed from office for proved misbehaviour or proved inability to perform the functions of his office. The removal is effected by the President of Malta upon the advice of the Commission for the Administration of Justice, whose advice is subject to appeal before the Constitutional Court, in accordance with Article 101C of the Constitution. 

Before any decision for removal is taken by the Commission for the Administration of Justice, the issue must be dealt with by the Committee for Judges and Magistrates, which is there to exercise discipline on Judges and Magistrates. Disciplinary proceedings shall commence upon a complaint in writing by the Chief Justice or the Minister responsible for Justice. The Committee will refer the complaint to the Judge or Magistrate who will have time to reply. If, following prima facie consideration, there are no sufficient grounds to commence disciplinary action, it shall refrain from considering further the case. If, however, there are sufficient grounds, the Committee shall appoint a date for hearing, where an advocate will be appointed to act as a special independent prosecutor, witnesses​ may be produced and the Judge or Magistrate may attend and be duly assisted by an advocate or legal procurator.

If the Committee finds that there has been a breach of the Code of Ethics, it has three scenarios which it may proceed with:

- if the breach is of a minor nature, it may either issue a warning or impose a pecuniary penalty equivalent to one tenth of the annual salary of the Judge or Magistrate;

- if the breach is of a serious nature, it may suspend the Judge or Magistrate from the exercise of his duties for up to six months upon half pay;

- if the breach is of such serious nature as to merit the removal of the Judge or Magistrate, or is based on the grounds of incapacity, bodily or mentally, to perform his or her duties, then it shall report its findings to the Commission for the Administration of Justice, which will then proceed to suspend the Judge or Magistrate and hear the case. for his or her removal. 

A Judge’s salary is a charge on the Consolidated Fund and may not be reduced. 
 
To be appointed a Judge one must have practised as an advocate in Malta for not less than twelve years, or so practiced and served as a Magistrate for a period amounting in the aggregate to not less than twelve years, or have partly so practised or partly so served. 
 
The Constitution provides for a mandatory retiring age for Judges (including the Chief Justice) and Magistrates. Currently this age is set at 65 which, by European standards, is regarded as being an early age. Nevertheless, as from 2020, prior to reaching the age of 65, a Judge may inform the Chief Justice and President of Malta of his or her decision to remain in office till the age of 68.
 
Before commencing to exercise his judicial functions, a Judge must take before the President of Malta the oath of allegiance set out in the Third Schedule to the Constitution, and the oath of office set out in Article 10(1) of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure.
 
Judges in Malta are formally addressed as "The Honourable Mr Justice" (or "The Honourable Madam Justice") followed by the name and surname of the Judge. The title “The Honourable” was accorded to Maltese Judges by King George VI. Government Notice number 40, published in the Malta Government Gazette of the 2 February 1940 reads as follows:
 
His Excellency the Governor directs it to be notified that he has been informed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies that the Title “The Honourable” has been accorded to each of His Majesty’s Judges in Malta, who will be known during his tenure of office as “The Honourable Mr Justice……”. The use of this title, in accordance with established practice, will be confined to the Maltese Islands. The title “His Honour” will continue to be accorded to the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal. 1st February, 1940.
 
These titles have been retained even after Malta became independent in 1964 and a republic ten years later.
 
The current Bench of Judges is made up as follows:
  • His Honour The Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Giannino Caruana Demajo (Senior Administrative Judge and Vice-Chairman, Judicial Studies Committee)
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Joseph R. Micallef
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Tonio Mallia
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Abigail Lofaro ** (President of the Family Section of the Civil Court)  
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Anna Felice ** (President of the General Jurisdiction Section of the Civil Court)
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Anthony Ellul
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Jacqueline Padovani Grima
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Robert Mangion
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Lorraine Schembri Orland (Judge elect in respect of Malta to the European Court of Human Rights)
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Edwina Grima
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Miriam Hayman
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Giovanni Grixti
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Toni Abela
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Anthony Vella
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Grazio Mercieca
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Francesco Depasquale
  • The Hon. Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Joanne Vella Cuschieri
  • The Hon. Madam Justice Audrey Demicoli
  • The Hon Mr Justice Neville Camilleri
  • The Hon Mr Justice Christopher Falzon Scerri
  • The Hon Mr Justice Ian Spiteri Bailey
 
(** on the List of ad hoc judges on the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Malta -- Rule 29 of the Rules of Court of the European Court of Human Rights)
 
(Click on the names highlighted in bold to view curriculum vitae)