The Maltese government has officially proposed that the Attorney General’s roles as public prosecutor and legal advisor to the government be split up, a move intended to tackle the office’s significant conflict of interest.
Justice Minister Owen Bonnici confirmed today that the government will table this Bill in Parliament next week, with the plan being to amend the law by the end of summer. Since this is a constitutional change, it will require a two-thirds parliamentary majority, and therefore the backing of the Opposition, to pass.
Criminal lawyer and former MP Franco Debono has long been advocating for such a reform, arguing that the AG’s current role places him in a blatant conflict of interest whenever he needs to prosecute the government.
The Venice Commission, an expert Council of Europe body, also brought this point up during a recent meeting to Malta, where it provided the government with several recommendations for constitutional reform.
Cover photo: Justice Minister Owen Bonnici with Attorney General Peter Grech