Malta has one of the least efficient judicial system in the European Union, especially when it comes to the duration of cases. This is detrimental to both local and foreign investors who need a justice system which is efficient.
In its Pre-Electoral Proposals document “Policy Proposals for a Competitiveness-centred Electoral Manifesto”, the Malta Chamber made a number of suggestions designed to go a long way in solving problems in delays related to commercial cases.
The Malta Chamber argued in favour of a more decentralised justice system which reduces the strain on the law courts providing efficient and effective options of redress to businesses.
Top on the Chamber’s list is an increased use of mediation prior to seeking the normal procedures.
“Mediation requires a new impetus to extend it further to cover other legal fields beyond civil disputes. A media campaign and an outreach programme with business operators would also lead to a tangible appreciation of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as being a viable cost-effective option in disputes” the Chamber said.
An expansion of the Local Tribunals system could be utilised in a more efficient manner to effectively redirect other minor infringements to these tribunals. This would enable a better use of the civil court for more important trials.
The underutilised Small Claims Tribunal currently has a jurisdiction on money claims that do not exceed €5,000 euros. This low threshold could be increased to €10,000 in order for more clients to make use of this Tribunal. The same could be applied to the Magistrates’ Court, where the present financial claims threshold could be increased even further.
The Malta Chamber believes that the Arbitration Centre could also be better utilised by foreign companies that could use Malta as a neutral ground for their disputes.
“Given that the fees are relatively low compared to other centres in Europe, there would be potential to use such a centre as an international centre for arbitration” the pre-electoral document said.
In its document, the Chamber said that it had embarked on a comprehensive, objective and technical analysis on the situation of the market in relation to rent as it held numerous discussions with the main stakeholders.
“The process resulted in the formulation of a number of proposed measures and solutions to reform certain archaic and ill-serving rent laws. The detailed position has now been finalised and approved internally. Consequently, the Chamber is in a position to discuss its in-depth position with the incoming government with a view to encourage its early implementation to the benefit of all landlords and tenants” the Chamber said.