Photo: Chamber of Commerce
Nadine Lia, the daughter-in-law of the Prime Minister’s personal lawyer Pawlu Lia, has reportedly been cleared as a magistrate.
MaltaToday reported that Lia’s application has been approved by the Judicial Appointments Commission, meaning she is set to take up a position on the bench in the near future.
Lia, who specialises in civil law, was recently legal advisor to Economy Minister Chris Cardona, who entrusted her to chair the Family Business Act committee. She is also a visiting lecturer and examiner at the University of Malta.
When news of her application as magistrate was broken a few months ago, legal sources warned Lovin Malta that this risks giving Pawlu Lia a dangerous amount of influence over the law courts.
Besides being Muscat’s personal lawyer, Pawlu Lia is also the government’s representative on the Commission For The Administration Of Justice which is responsible for disciplinary action against the judiciary and lawyers.
This could give rise to a conflict of interest if his daughter-in-law is appointed magistrate, were she to ever face the CAJ.
Even before this development, his dual role has been questioned in legal circles since it could be perceived as giving him an upper hand in court cases. Indeed, he is one of only two active lawyers in the CAJ.
Chaired by the President of Malta, the CAJ also includes the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, two members elected from among the Judges of the Superior Courts, two members elected from among the Magistrates of the Inferior Courts, one member appointed by the Prime Minister, one member appointed by the Leader of the Opposition, and the President of the Chamber of Advocates.
Its inner workings are extremely secret, with judges, magistrates and lawyers not even informed when they are under investigation.