A legal amendment will require men to disclose their civil status in notarial deeds in an effort to create an equal playing field in the signing of public deeds.
Prior to the amendment, the prerequisite to disclose one’s civil status had been reserved for women alone even in cases of divorce where the woman retained her ex-spouse’s surname.
However, Parliamentary Secretary for Equality Rosianne Cutajar announced the change to the Notarial Archives Act and Notarial Profession at a press conference earlier today.
“This amendment removes the discriminatory clause placed on women. Through it, every person irrespective of their sex will have to write their civil name, strengthening our commitment towards an equal society,” she said.
The issue came to a head in 2017 when Marie-Therese Cuschieri won a constitutional case against the declaration in violation of her fundamental rights after she was told that she had to sign with the name of her ex-husband despite being divorced.
When prompted about why she didn’t abolish this requirement, Cutajar claimed that abolishing it would translate to women having to spend more money on retrieving their documents from the notarial archives.
Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat, who was present at the conference and who the public registry falls under, said that works are underway to address further anomalies in the system including allowing Maltese letters to be used in documents including ID cards.
“This is a small thing that will make a difference in people’s lives – a step that will eliminate discrimination in our country,” he said.
Earlier this year, Malta’s National Commission for the Promotion of Equality ruled that sections of Maltese notarial law that force woman to give her marital status while not requiring the same for a man is discriminatory.
This came into force thanks to an objection posed by Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola’s and a Marie-Therese Cuschieri’s Constitutional Case.
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