Judge Mark Chetcuti has been nominated to become Malta’s next Chief Justice following an agreement between the government and the opposition.
Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi will be forced to step down when he turns 65 on 8th April 2020, as stipulated in Malta’s constitution. The mandatory retirement age applies to the entire judiciary, including Judges and Magistrates.
The decision is yet to be confirmed. However, the new Chief Justice will face several critical issues that will need to be addressed.
The political crisis that erupted last November following the arrest of Yorgen Fenech in connection to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia is yet to be fully addressed, as are its related cases.
Meanwhile, a major scandal in the police force and a fatal building collapse in Hamrun have also plagued Abela’s first few months as Prime Minister.
Malta’s judicial system has also faced criticism abroad, with the Prime Minister holding far too much power over the selection process. The country’s court cases also have some of the longest delays in Europe.
Chetcuti will be the 22nd Chief Justice and will be one of the few chosen following bipartisan agreement. He was born on 4th February 1958 and is 62 years old. He was appointed judge in July 2010 under a Nationalist Party administration.