The government has said that the reply of the Attorney General of the European Court of Justice has proven that Malta is in the right on its guarantees for the independence of the judiciary and rule of law in the country.
The statement comes after the Attorney General Gerard Hogan presented his conclusions about a case opened by the NGO Repubblika over the validity of the appointment of members of the Maltese judiciary.
The government said that Hogan had found that the Maltese judicial system nothing in the Maltese system of the appointment of the judiciary, especially under the system which applied from 2016 onwards, which is against EU law.
On the contrary, the government noted how Hogan had said that the Maltese judiciary has strong legal protection on its independence, especially when it comes to the removal, disciplining, and institutional and financial independence amongst others.
The government noted that Hogan had said that in the case of a person who before being appointed to the judiciary had some association with a political party, there isn’t the consequence that the person is not an independent or impartial judge.
“People like these occupy roles in the most authoritative courts in the world, like the Supreme Court of the United States and the German Constitutional Court”, the statement reads.
The government further noted that on the point of looking at appointment of judicial members retroactively, one needs to look forward not backwards, meaning that one cannot retroactively annul all that was done by a member of the judiciary in the past.
“This also dispels a lot of scaremongering which was done in Malta on this point”, the government said.
The government said that it welcomes the opinion of Attorney General Hogan and said that it shows that the government is right in terms of what it has long been saying on the guarantees for an independent judiciary and the rule of law in Malta.
“The opinion shows that the principles of rule of law in Malta are being implemented in practice, contrary to allegations and overseas campaigns that try to depict the country with a dysfunctional democracy,” the government said.
“The Maltese government is committed to continue strengthening the reforms it has implemented to ensure rule of law and good governance prevail,” the statement read.
Hogan’s conclusions depart from previous ECJ pronouncements – Repubblika
Also in reaction to Hogan’s report, Civil society NGO Repubblika said his conclusions depart from previous pronouncements made by the ECJ on the independence of the judiciary.
“Repubblika hopes that the final decision handed down by the European court, which is expected in a few months’ time, follows the same steps as previous judgments,” the NGO said.
The NGO added that the action it took has achieved its purpose since it led to a radical reform in the country’s judicial system that was carried out over the summer.