The Malta Maritime Forum has expressed support to a call made by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Civil Court (Commercial Section) to be extended to cover maritime litigation.
For the past eighteen months, the Malta Maritime Forum (MMF) has been consistently making proposals for the setting up of a dedicated Maritime Court which the Forum believes is complementary to the country’s role and aspirations to continue to serve as a centre of excellence in the maritime business.
Every niche of the maritime sector is already strongly represented locally forging intrinsic links in the chain of international trade. Cases decided by the Courts in these Islands have multiple international interests and every maritime case decided in this country is invariably studied and debated by numerous international maritime interests. In light of the specialist nature of maritime litigation, the constitution of a dedicated maritime court is indeed a crucial requirement in the commendable international aspirations of the country.
The MMF wholeheartedly endorses the appeal made today by the Hon Chief Justice during his speech on the occasion of the inauguration of the Forensic Year. The Hon. Chief Justice called for the Civil Court (Commercial Section) – which he described as a “success story” – not only to include maritime litigation within its exclusive jurisdiction but also to be further strengthened with the assignment of more judges. He also called for specialised courts – like the Civil Court (Commercial Section) – to be housed in separate premises in order to highlight the specialist nature of the subject matter dealt with by those courts as well as to function as required. The Hon. Chief Justice called for government to find the necessary resources to invest in the local judicial system. In so doing, he mirrored the MMF’s calls made in its proposals for the 2023 Budget when he said that this way forward was “a necessity rather than a capricious wish.”