Dr Victoria Buttigieg has officially been appointed as the first State Advocate of Malta.
Dr Buttigieg was unanimously recommended for the post by an Appointment Commission following a public call.
During the ceremony, Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici congratulated Dr Buttigieg for being appointed in this position, making her the first in our legal history and reiterated the commitment this Government has towards the implementation of reforms towards the strengthening of the Rule of Law.
This newly created Constitutional post was enacted by means of Act XXV of 2019. This piece of legislation, which was approved last July, provides for a total separation between the existing dual functions of the Attorney General.
The separation will enter into effect as from tomorrow the 18th of December 2019.
While the Attorney General as a result of this reform will retain the responsibility for prosecutions and criminal matters as provided in the Constitution and other laws, the State Advocate will be responsible for all government advisory and legal representation functions in the field of constitutional, civil and administrative law which are up till now exercised by the Attorney General.
The Venice Commission, in its opinion on Malta of the 17th December 2018, had proposed the separation of the dual roles of the Attorney General.
The State Advocate will enjoy the same level of protection and security of tenure as enjoyed by the Members of the Judiciary and the Attorney General. The State Advocate is to be the chief legal advisor to the government in matters of law and legal opinion and will be explicitly obliged to act in the public interest and to safeguard the legality of state actions. The State Advocate will carry out her functions through an independent agency established by through the State Advocates Act.