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Chief Justice calls for courts' relocation as Minister inaugurates new registry

Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri: 'We must seriously think more long term and consider moving the courts away from the current building... We can't carry on plugging holes'

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
5 October 2017, 1:44pm
Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri with Justice Minister Owen Bonnici
Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri with Justice Minister Owen Bonnici
Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri has asked that government consider moving the courts out of the current building in Valletta, describing the present arrangement as "certainly insufficient."

The call was made during a speech as Justice Minister Owen Bonnici inaugurated the new registry of the Family Courts in Valletta, this afternoon.

Both Bonnici and Camilleri expressed satisfaction at the spacious, modern new premises, which are a marked improvement on the previous setup.

But Camilleri went on to observe that space in court has diminished with the increase in caseload and judiciary. "We must seriously think more long term and consider moving the courts away from the current building... We can't carry on plugging holes," said the Chief Justice, warning that the saturation point had been reached, with the facilities now being "stretched like chewing gum."

Speaking after the Chief Justice, Bonnici expressed his gratitude to the judiciary who had accepted to relocate their chambers from the courts to a separate building.

The minister remarked that over the past few years, he had inaugurated improved training facilities, three new courtrooms and now a new family court registry, adding that in the coming days, 2 new courtrooms are to start operating. 

Continued improvements are to follow, said the minister, saying: "Hand on heart we are now in a situation where we can stop firefighting and look to the future."

Bonnici resisted being drawn into discussing the Chief Justice's critical speech at the start of the court calendar, earlier this week. Camilleri had remarked that the rule of law was being undermined, in part by government amnesties to lawbreakers.

He pointed to a number of measures introduced under his watch, including the right to legal assistance during interrogation and the creation of a parliamentary committee to scrutinise public appointments.

"I don't think we should drag the judicature into the political arena. The worst thing he could do. What I can say is that this government is committed to a number of reforms that had been postponed for a number of years."

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...