Chamber of Advocates says government should take responsibility for judiciary appointments

Chamber of Advocates president Reuben Balzan says government should shoulder responsibility for ‘bad judiciary appointments.’

Chamber of Advocates president Reuben Balzan has insisted that the government take a backseat in the judicial appointments and argued that the government must shoulder its responsibility for any bad appointments.

Speaking during the opening of the forensic year of the court, Balzan argued that the Chamber of Advocates has long been calling for greater transparency in judicial appointments.

Quoting the Justice Reform Commission, Balzan said, “the government must take a backseat when it comes to the appointment of the judiciary, and leave it in the hands of a specialised authority.”

“The time has come for the appointment of judges to be done in a transparent manner. Candidates must not only possess the necessary requisites that one would expect of an adjudicator but their personal attributes must also be screened to ensure that they are the most ideal for the post.”

Addressing the judiciary members as well as Acting President Dolores Cristina and justice minister Owen Bonnici, the Chamber of Advocates president argued that there must be greater transparency in the appointment of judiciary members

“Several experts were appointed to give their opinion on the appointment of the judiciary, yet the government choice to ignore this advice – even though the majority of stakeholders adopted a unanimous stance in favour of change.”

“Sometimes I fear that the executive does not realise the huge repercussions of a bad appointment. If a bad appointment is made, the country’s trust in the judiciary may be lost – something which for the time being, we cannot afford,” Balzan said.

While paying tribute to the “honest” majority of the judiciary members, he said that “unfortunately, some of the appointments shed a bad light on the rest,” and that consequently the government should shoulder the responsibility for those choices.

“Just like we expect the judiciary to shoulder its responsibility, the Executive must follow suit, and shoulder its responsibility for the bad appointments,” Balzan argued.

Moreover, Balzan insisted that “the government must first address court delays prior to ensuring that the law reform was a success.”