52% hold positive view on independence of Maltese judges

But percentage of those who hold a negative view on judges’ independence up by 6 points since 2017

Lack of trust in the independence of judges is even higher within the business community, which was assessed in a separate survey conducted among 200 Maltese companies
Lack of trust in the independence of judges is even higher within the business community, which was assessed in a separate survey conducted among 200 Maltese companies

The percentage of Maltese people who hold a negative opinion on the independence of courts and judges has shot up by six points since January 2017 but 52% still expressed positive views on the independence of the Maltese justice system, describing it as ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good’ when asked to rate it.

This emerges from a Eurobarometer survey conducted in March.

The survey suggests that despite reforms in judicial appointments limiting government’s direct interference in judicial appointments, trust in the justice system has been on the decline in the aftermath of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and legal wrangling over magisterial investigations on the Panama Papers scandal, which have so far not led to any arraignments in court.   

When asked to rate the justice system in terms of the independence of courts and judges, 52% of the Maltese described it as very good or fairly good while only 31% described it as very bad or fairly bad.

But while positive assessments declined by four points, negative assessments increased by six points over 2017.

Lack of trust in the independence of judges is even higher within the business community, which was assessed in a separate survey conducted among 200 Maltese companies.

When asked the same question, 36% of Maltese companies gave a negative rating to the independence of the justice system, an increase of seven points over 2019.

Small businesses employing less than 10 people where the most distrustful of judicial independence.

While over 90% of those employing more than 50 people gave a positive rating to the justice system’s independence, the percentage falls to just 45% among those employing less than 10 people.

Moreover, among respondents who rated the independence of the Maltese justice system negatively, the number who tie this to interference or pressure from government and politicians has shot up by 9 points over 2017.

Justice Barometer 

Top five who rate justice system ‘very good’ and ‘fairly good’

Denmark 86%
Finland 84%
Sweden 81%
Netherlands 77%
Germany 76%

Top five who rate justice system ‘fairly bad’ and ‘bad’

Croatia 68%
Slovakia 64%
Poland 55%
Italy 54%
Spain 49%

Positive and negative views on judges’ independence

  Malta EU
Positive views 52% 56%
Negative views 31% 33%
Don't know 17% 11%

 

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