Jusctice reform | Average of two proposals per month being implemented

Amidst the latest controversy surrounding judicial appointments, Justice Minister says court attorneys can be appointed to the bench

Justice minister Owen Bonnici
Justice minister Owen Bonnici

The 450 proposals presented by the Bonello Commission were being implemented at a rate of two proposals every month, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said this afternoon.

Addressing parliament, the justice minister also said that talks with the opposition on a reform of judicial appointments was underway with the government looking to ensure accountability, a package that attracted magistrates and judges, and giving the country the reform pledged by the Labour Party.

Bonnici also addressed renewed criticism over the nomination of Caroline Farrugia Frendo to the bench.

Kevin Aquilina, dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta today confirmed that an advocate employed by the State – who is not exercising the profession privately – can be appointed to the bench. At the same time, he urged the government and opposition to revisit the definition of what constitutes practice as an advocate in their discussions on judicial appointments.

The minister denied telling The Sunday Times in an interview that the experts “were wrong” in their arguments over the nomination of Farrugia Frendo.

Bonnici argued that the court attorneys, who worked closely with judges in the drafting of judgements, had the best possible understanding of the work involved.

“It’s obvious that they cannot work in a private practice if they’re assisting a judge,” Bonnici said.

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