The Causes Of Court Delays In Malta Are Attributable To Legal Culture And History. Do You Agree?

1161 words - 5 pages

Court delays had already existed during the British Colonial period and while some delays are considered as necessary, many people consider these delays as totally unacceptable. Numerous articles are found online or on newspapers with regard to this issue and some people argue that the prolonging of court delays is in breach of the fundamental right to a fair hearing in a reasonable time. These delays relate to a variety of factors which to a certain extent are attributable to the procedure adopted in the court. However, other factors such as the legal history, culture and social relations should also be taken into consideration.
During the Colonial period, the Maltese had resisted ...view middle of the document...

Zammit, we still have to take into account the legal culture surrounding these delays, which is also a task taken up by Dr Zammit. The resistance of the Maltese judicial sector to change can also be seen throughout the 90s, in which court delays multiplied. The attempted reforms were unsuccessful and court delays were validated as consequences of the way the lawyer's professional role is perceived locally. This is seen in the 'ingrained mentality' of the Maltese to prevent the control of compilation of evidence. The 1996 reforms required lawyers to take more responsibility for the facts and this is something that they wanted to avoid as they thought that their clients should be the ones responsible for the facts and in fact they tended to distance themselves as much as possible. However, when this occurs clients have to approve their facts in the courtroom and this is a rather time consuming and complicated process, which lawyers might use for their own advantage and prolong delays further. Therefore, the way that the Maltese lawyers interpret their professional role has a connection with court delays.
Furthermore, the approach of the legal practitioner to his own client and to the way he conducts the proceedings themselves makes a whole difference. Most cases revolve under a particular provision of the law and thus, these cases should not involve any delay. However, irrelevant information might be added which might appeal emotionally to the judge and that might make a difference in the duration of the case. Due to the personalised stories that the clients tend to tell, certain facts tend to remain unclear for a longer period of time, which will in turn also create delays.
Despite that the attitudes adopted by legal professionals, with regard to court proceedings might be culturally and historically induced, one should also consider the situation regarding our judicial system today and the proceedings adopted. The main feature of our court is that it is accessible to all and this accessibility of court proceedings in itself creates delays. The inexpensiveness of judicial proceedings makes it so accessible for so many people, that one would say that he or she would rather go to court. Another factor is that the confusion in the administration creates numerous problems as many cases are adjured. One of the main issues is the scheduling of cases and the problem...

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