New judge set to be appointed to address appeals backlog

Cabinet to discuss appointment of new judges to address backlog on appeals cases

Tipped for the bench: Vincent Galea
Tipped for the bench: Vincent Galea

More judges are expected to be appointed in a bid to beef up Malta’s Court of Appeal and address a four-year backlog.

MaltaToday is informed that lawyer Vincent Galea, the vice-president of the Chamber of Advocates, has been tipped for promotion to the Bench after securing a green light from the commission that appoints members of the judiciary.

The government has not yet approved the new judge, although debate is underway as to whether more judges should be appointed to provide additional resources to halve the Appeals Court caseload.

The Court of Appeal is the final appellate court in Malta, and can be composed of either three judges – the Chief Justice and two others – or one judge alone. Malta already has a second chamber for the Court of Appeal’s superior jurisdiction to address the volume of work in this court. Both are presided by the Chief Justice.

Judges and magistrates in Malta are appointed only after an independent commission vets candidates who put forward their name for appointment to the Bench.

The commission scrutinises judiciary candidates and advises the government on who to recommend to the President of the Republic for appointment. The commission includes the Ombudsman and the Auditor General along with the Chief Justice, Attorney General and the Chamber of Advocates’ president.

The government of the day maintains the power to appoint the Chief Justice. Malta’s sitting Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri, a former Attorney General, is now set to retire from his position in April 2018.

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