Strasbourg, 7 January 2008
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire for 2008 CCJE opinion concerning the quality of judicial decisions: reply submitted by the delegation of Malta
Part I: Preparation of the judicial decision
Is there a specific model to be followed in drafting judicial decisions?
The Civil Code provides that the Court shall in the judgment premise the reasons on which the decision is based and shall include a reference to the proceedings, the claims of the plaintiff and the pleas of defendant.
Can each individual judge choose his own style of drafting his decision?
Yes, but when the decision is input on the internet a template is used.
Where the court is composed of more than one member, do judicial decisions have to be taken unanimously or a majority decision is equally effective and binding?
A majority decision is effective and binding.
In a two or even more member panel, does the president or most senior judge have a second or casting vote?
The composition of the Court is of one or three members and a majority decision is binding so there is no need of a casting vote.
Do judicial decisions have to deal with all points raised by the parties or their lawyers or is a synthetic or concise approach considered sufficient?
The Court does not need to deal with all the points raised but it has to decide the main contestation. It is not excluded that the Court decides other issues as well.
In general terms, how is a first instance judicial decision drafted? (For example, does the decision state first the factual background, followed by the evidence, its evaluation and finally the application of the legal principles to the accepted facts?)
Yes, this procedure is followed.
How in general terms is an appeal /supreme court decision drafted? In the same way Is the appeal in your country by way of rehearing the case or not?
It is not actually a rehearing of a case. It is a reconsideration of the decision of the first Court. Rehearing or re-trial is permitted only in specified and very limited instances.
Is there a difference in the way a judgment is drafted according to the subject matter (civil, criminal, and administrative)?
It depends on whether a case (civil or criminal) is dealt with summarily. Then the judgment would be less formal and may be ex tempore.
Could you describe precisely how the decision is transmitted to the parties?
A copy of the decision is given to the parties as soon as it is delivered. On the same day, the judgment is put on the internet.
Is the judicial decision binding only on the specific litigants or does it affect the public in general?
The decision is binding on the specific litigants, but it affects the public in general as what has been decided can serve other litigants who will know how the Court is deciding certain matters. However we do not have a system of precedent.
Does your country acknowledge a difference in judicial decisions in personam and in rem?
Yes, particularly in maritime and civil matters.
How is a judicial decision enforced in your country?
They are enforced through warrants.
Does your country allow for contempt proceedings against a litigant who does not comply with a decision/order of the court?
Yes, there is a specific procedure which the Registrar of the Court can initiate.
Are judicial decisions handed down/announced in open court?
Always or can the public/journalists be excluded - If so on what grounds?
Decisions are delivered in open court, but sometimes there can be a ban on the publication of the litigant’s names (eg minors, or victim’s name; family cases).
To what extent do judicial decisions in your country take into account personal data protection legislation (i.e. publication of litigants’ names, other personal details etc)?
See answer to question 8.
Are judicial decisions available to persons or authorities other than the litigants themselves?
Decisions are available on the internet for everyone.
If so on what terms and prerequisites?
Open to the public.
Are judicial decisions published/available on the internet?
If so, are all decisions available or only appeal or supreme court cases?
Only minor cases are not available on the internet, but even in minor cases, the parties get a hard copy when the judgment is delivered.
Part II: Evaluation of the judicial decision
Is a system of evaluation of quality of justice in force in your country? No
Does this evaluation include/envisage the evaluation of the quality of judicial decisions?
If your country does evaluate the quality of judicial decisions by means of a specific system, could you specify the latter:
· legal basis:
· identification of the agencies that are responsible for the process:
· parameters that are evaluated:
· methods by which each parameter is evaluated:
What are the advantages and disadvantages discussed in your country as far as the evaluation of quality of justice is concerned?
There has been no discussion on this subject.
In the opinion of the judiciary in your State, which factor could help to improve the quality of decisions?
The choice and training of Judges.
Is a system of evaluation of quality of each of the following in force in your State:
· professional performance of police? yes □ no □
· professional performance of public prosecution services? yes □ no □
· professional performance of lawyers? yes □ no □
· enforcement of judgements? yes □ no □
· efficiency of ministry of justice services in general? yes □ no □
· quality of legislation? yes □ no □
These subjects have been matters of general discussion in the Council for the administration of Justice in Malta.