Over 1,400 Magisterial Inquiries Remain Pending In Malta’s Courts
Over 1,400 magisterial inquiries are pending in Malta’s courts, another worrying indication of the country’s abysmal court system.
According to figures published by Justice Minister Jonathan Attard, the number of pending inquiries stands at 1,403 by 2022. That number has reduced from 2019, which had 1,726 pending cases.
Delays from Malta’s courts mean inquiries can often take years to complete, with the public often falling victim to fatigue while struggling to keep up with new scandals emerging.
There remain a number of damning inquiries on Electrogas, Vitals, Montenegro, 17 Black and many others that remain in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, recent figure revealed that are 80 jury trials pending in Malta’s courts, with some going as far back as 2008. Only 8 of the 80 pending cases had been scheduled for a trial, while seven others are awaiting their date.
Delays in Malta’s courts are a major issue plaguing the country. While figures for the length of criminal cases are not immediately available, a 2020 EU study of Malta’s courts found that its delays are some of the longest in Europe.
It takes an average of 2,250 days to resolve a money laundering case, 1,100 days to resolve a civil suit if it goes to appeal, and 1,000 days for administrative matters. In each instance, Malta tops the list by some margin.
Some compilations of evidence in criminal cases take decades, with Lovin Malta reporting extensively the case of Mason Nehls, the youth who has been waiting 11 years for his case to be heard in court, and Chris Bartolo.
Delays should not be a major surprise, with lawyers regularly deferring cases and creating significant backlogs in Malta’s courts. Meanwhile, human resources remain worryingly low with Malta having some of the lowest number of judges per 100,000 inhabitants, despite having one of the largest number of lawyers per 100,000 inhabitants.
What is wrong with Malta’s court system?