Government’s judicial reforms will surprise people, Justice Minister says

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis says changes to the methods of appointment and removal of members of the judiciary will be announced soon and will surprise people

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis
Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis

The government will soon be announcing reforms related to the judiciary which would “surprise” people, Edward Zammit Lewis said.

The Justice Minister said that in the coming weeks, a plan would be unveiled in respect of the methods of appointing members of the judiciary, the appointment of the chief justice, and a mechanism for the removal of judges and magistrates who fail in carrying out their constitutional duties.

Zammit Lewis was speaking in an interview with sister newspaper Illum, published today.

He insisted that it was “clear” that the Venice Commission’s recommendations were being taken seriously by the government.

Prime Minister Robert Abela's decision to unite the remits of justice, equality and governance under one ministry was evidence of this, the minister said.

Zammit Lewis, however, said that the judicial reforms would be based on the Venice Commission’s recommendations, which did not mean that they would be implemented word for word as specified in the Commission’s report. Malta was a sovereign country, moreover, not all European nations had the same systems, he said

“We will ensure that the reform is put in place as much as possible within the parameters of the Venice Commission’s recommendations,” he said.

Zammit Lewis went on to tell the newspaper that Malta’s institutions should not be criticised, because they had always functioned, but that reforms were important in a democracy.

He added that both he and Abela were committed to the reforms. “We will be surprising people with the changes we will be putting in place,” he said.

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