The Government is extending the Civil Court’s commercial section’s competence to new areas in a bid to speed up the legal process, with maritime, trademark, intellectual property and patent cases expected to fall under the section’s broadened scope.
Minister for Justice Edward Zammit Lewis, in comments made to The Times of Malta, said the decision has already been given the green light by Government as it seeks to address longstanding concerns about the timeliness of Court judgements.
The suggestion to widen the commercial court’s competence was first made by Justice Joseph Zammit McKeon, who in his final sitting before retiring said the commercial section of the Law Courts ought to be strengthened with the allocation of additional judges and extended to have a dedicated maritime section, amongst other areas.
The Malta Maritime Forum, which Justice McKeon chairs, had said a court focusing on maritime issues is a crucial requirement to complement Malta’s role and aspirations in the maritime sector.
The commercial section of the Civil Court currently deals with matters regulated by the Companies Act, the Competition Act, and any regulations falling under the Consumer Affairs Act and the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority Act.
Maritime cases which will now fall under its remit include cases involving carriage of goods, vessel registration, marine insurance, mortgages, judicial sales by auctions, court approved private sales, ship agency, pilotage, ship repair, salvage operations, towage operations, crew employment disputes, collisions or containerisation, apart from arrests, the putting up of security to release from such arrests and other security measures.
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