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PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND GOVERNANCE The publication of the government’s proposals for judicial and institutional reforms


A historic step in the strengthening of our country's democracy


Minister for Justice, Equality, and Governance Edward Zammit Lewis is publishing the letter sent to the European Commission for Democracy through Law of the Council of Europe, well known as the Venice Commission. This letter incorporates legal concepts about extensive, historic, and unprecedented reforms which the government plans on implementing, particularly in the judicial sector. This letter is a result of ongoing discussions with the same Venice Commission in the past weeks.


In just a few weeks, even though hampered with the Covid-19 pandemic, the government still managed to push forward with these legislative proposals for the reforms, based on the 2018 Opinion of the Venice Commission. The government is determined to enhance the Maltese institutions, with the objective of strengthening our country's reputation, both on a European and an international level.


The Maltese government has made sure that, whilst it puts forward proposals in conformity with the 2018 Opinion of the Venice Commission, it does not abandon the Maltese legal traditions, and further strengthens the existing systems. This will be a further evolution in our country's democracy, and amongst others, will see the enhancement of further checks and balances in our institutions.


According to the letter published with this press release, these proposals will be a set of reforms which are historic for Malta, especially with regards to the judiciary pillar of our country's democracy. These are bold, historic measures, which this administration, led by Prime Minister Robert Abela, is taking towards better rule of law and good governance in the organs of the state. The government has not shied away from letting go of its discretion as practiced for decades and moving towards systems which will give every citizen the peace of mind of living in a stronger democracy that works in tomorrow's world.


Minister Zammit Lewis thanks the Council of Europe, particularly the Venice Commission, for its readiness, and the trust that the Commission showed in him and in the government which he represents, and for the structured progression of the process. The Minister reaffirmed that this process will be continued with determination for the weeks and months to come.


Therefore, the government, whilst confident about putting forward good and unprecedented reforms, will still be consulting with all interested parties, including the civil society. This is a government that strongly believes in consultation.


The government appeals for good sense and a sincere and constructive approach from all sides, so that it can then move forward in the best interest of the country. This is a reform which impacts the nation as a whole.


After the consultation process comes to an end, the government shall be taking its final decision upon the ultimate Opinion of the Venice Commission. This is not only a government that believes in dialogue, but also ultimately a government that has the courage to decide in the best interest of the country.


The government is determined to implement further reforms, including others which are being led by the President of Malta, George Vella, in his eventual launch of the Constitutional Convention.


The government's main objective is to implement this set of historic reforms without further ado, and within the timeframe as agreed with the Venice Commission. The Maltese government strongly believes in its institutions and in enhancing our country's reputation.