30 APRIL 2003

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Transposing EU law into national law

Justice and Home Affairs Minister Dr Tonio Borg addresses a Seminar on the Transposition of European Legislation into National Law

Training within the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs is not a novel phenomenon. The Police Academy has been set up on an administrative basis since the late eighties and it was only last year that Parliament did recognise the vital contribution the Police Academy has played in the training of the members of the Police Force. Indeed, Parliament has approved that the Police Academy be statutorily established and regulated in the newly enacted Police Act, 2002 which this Ministry has had the honour to present before the House of Representatives and see it approved through all stages.
In so far as the justice branch of my ministerial portfolio is concerned, my predecessor in office set up last year a Training Academy for Legal and Para-Legal Staff of the Law Courts. It was initially launched by Dr Austin Gatt LL.D., MP, Minister for Justice and Local Government, on 30 April, 2002. Nevertheless, it has expanded its functions in such a short span of time to cater also for training for the members of the judiciary through its participation on the Judicial Studies Committee, while it is now organising courses for staff at the Attorney General’s Office and in other departments within my ministerial portfolio.
As regards to legal training in particular, this is an indispensable tool which assists the administration of the day to be more conversant with its duties, to be constantly updated with the various laws and regulations made by Parliament and by other authorities, and, at the end of the day, to provide a better service to its customer. In this respect, the Training Academy has during the past twelve months provided refresher, orientation and induction courses to court staff spread over 140 sessions of lecturing by Maltese lecturers. These sessions were of a minimum duration of one hour and a maximum duration of a whole day.
Training covering the period May 2002 to April, 2003 was varied and so was the participation therein. These courses dealt with topics concerned with the managerial, legal and practical aspects of duties carried out by court staff. With regard to the participants, courses have covered nearly all the employees of the Courts of Justice Division. Feedback is quite positive, while members of staff are following each course very seriously as can be seen from their regular participation and the fruitful interaction between the lecturer and the participants during all sessions.
In particular, the Training Academy has organised various lectures covering not only the laws of procedure but also the recent amendments to the Criminal Code effected by Act No III of 2002. Other courses will be delivered to cover the amendments made to the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure by the Courts and Tribunals Procedures Act 2002 and the provisions of the Criminal Code which will become into force on 1st October 2003 by Legal Notice 110 of 2003.
The Judicial Studies Committee
Furthermore, the Ministry is conscious of its role in assisting the members of the judiciary in organising their own training. This task can be achieved through the Judicial Studies Committee which is composed of 4 members, two members appointed by the Chief Justice representing the judiciary and two members appointed by the Minister responsible for justice.
I am aware that the Judicial Studies Committee has already organised a series of thirty lectures, each consisting of a two-hour session treating substantive European Law. Moreover, two foreign facilitators from the Royal Institute of Public Administration (RIPA) International of the United Kingdom were brought over to Malta in mid-March thanks to the assistance of the British High Commission to lecture on "Case Management".
A two full-day training seminar was then held for members of the judiciary addressing "Case Management" which is an important tool for the judiciary in the administration of court cases. Concurrently, the same consultants delivered a half-day session on the same subject for judicial assistants, court registrars and their deputies. The 2002 amendments to the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure have also provisions which regulate case management and thus it was a very apt decision on the part of the Judicial Studies Committee to discuss this innovative subject.
The Judicial Studies Committee in collaboration with the Chamber of Advocates has organised last Friday a half day seminar dealing with the amendments introduced by the Courts and Tribunals Procedures Act, 2002. Some of the provisions of this enactment have already been brought into force.
In the very near future, the Judicial Studies Committee will be hosting His Honour Judge William Rose for a scoping mission. His Honour Judge Rose is the Director of the English Judicial Studies Board and will be coming over to Malta in order to advise the Committee on its future workings.
Courses being planned by the Judicial Studies Committee for members of the judiciary concern the following: information technology, European legislation and civil and criminal procedure.
This Ministry has also offered it good offices, with the assistance of the British High Commission, to arrange for a number of judges to be seconded for a short period at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in order to gain experience of the workings of the British civil courts and the Master system.
Today, the Training Academy will be organising its first course aimed at the legal staff of the Attorney General’s Office, the Police Force, the Government’s Property Division and the Translation Unit. Malta has been and will continue to be involved in the transposition of European Union legislation into our National Law. This process is a delicate one, time-consuming and of an interdisciplinary nature. It cannot be carried out by one department but has to bring into the fold, not only other government departments or agencies but even organised interests. I am convinced that, this three-day seminar will be a fruitful one as it will expose participants to new concepts which are emerging in the European Union such as the regulatory impact assessment. Thus, this seminar will empower participants to get to grips with transposing European Union legislation into Maltese Law.
Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Staff Development Office of the Office of the Prime Minister for the seminal advice and assistance it provides to the Training Academy, the Police Academy for providing its lecturing staff and classrooms for the Training Academy’s courses and the Regional Policy Directorate within the Office of the Prime Minister which has been an invaluable source for tapping foreign training resources. Indeed, Philippe Mazuel’s visit today has been made possible through the collaboration of between the said Directorate and the Centre for European Studies (CEES) in Strasbourg, France, as well as with the generous assistance of the French Embassy in Malta.
Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Co-ordinating Board of the Training Academy for their good work and for the organisation of this Seminar which I am inaugurating today. I wish you all success in your endeavours.

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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