Edward Zammit Lewis calls for a 'culture of mediation' and alternative dispute resolutions

Justice Minister welcomes a 45% increase in funds for next year, and targets court efficiency

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis (Photo:DOI)
Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis (Photo:DOI)

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis called for “culture of mediation”, which promotes alternative dispute resolution rather than court procedures.

In his budget address, which he called a positive one for the justice sector, Zammit Lewis said that he welcomes the 45% increase and €48 million in funds allocated to the sector. 

Zammit Lewis added that the justice sector enjoys “quality, impartiality and independence" and that it now targets efficiency. He said that in order to achieve this, a 20% increase in budget has been allocated to the Court Services Agency for the engagement of new personnel.

He stated that the Attorney General’s office is functioning well, with all prosecution into its hands, ever since the state advocate’s office was set up. “The AG now holds a prosecution job which is independent from the government’s legal counsel”.

Zammit Lewis emphasised the need for more training and human resources, especially specialised lawyers. “We are in a constant battle to make the courts more efficient and to speed up the procedures. It is not acceptable that people carry on with court proceedings for four to five years”.

He said that all halls of court are now digitised and equipped with the necessary tools, so “it’s time for the judiciary to start making use of these tools”.

Zammit Lewis stated that the responsibility for the issuing of criminal conduct records will be transferred from the Police Commissioner onto the Department of Justice, as part of an EU data sharing project.