Malta’s Commission for the Administration of Justice is set to get increased powers under judicial reforms spurred on by a damning Council of Europe report. Still, the lawyer of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and several Labour Party figures has a seat on the crucial body, even if it means he’s got access to major figures in the judiciary.
Nominated by Muscat, Pawlu Lia’s role on the Commission, which meets once every two weeks, means he enjoys a status similar to a judge, giving the former Prime Minister’s and Labour Party’s lawyer an elevated position in the courts.
With the Commission now solely responsible for the impeachment of judges, that influence is only going to grow.
A judger of judges, Lia sits on the Commission with members of the judiciary who decide his clients’ cases, like Muscat and Schembri’s. He also appears in front of judges and magistrates who are well aware that they may appear in front of him in disciplinary proceedings; some of whom cover the biggest cases in the country.
Enshrined in Malta’s constitution, the Commission is made up of ten members, which currently include:
President George Vella, a former PL Deputy Leader who probably has some form of relationship with Lia.
Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti, Judge Tonio Mallia, Judge Anna Felice all of whom decide cases for Lia’s clients.
Magistrate Neville Camilleri, who oversees the inquiry against Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat over the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Magistrate Doreen Clarke, who is currently heading the inquiry into claims that Yorgen Fenech tried to bribe PN Leader Adrian Delia. She has also been involved in approving several requests for inquiries into alleged corruption
Vince Galea, the PN’s nomination on the Commission. Galea’s nomination is questionable like Lia’s having served as Delia’s lawyer on multiple occasions.
Louis Degabriele, the President of the Chamber of Advocates who is facing his own allegations of a conflict of interest. According to the National Audit Office, the firm that Degabriele co-owns billed former Minister Konrad Mizzi €817,000 in fees connected to direct order for services in the Electrogas deal.
Malta’s Justice Ministry has refused to answer questions on whether it plans to remove Lia from the role.
Do you think Pawlu Lia and Vince Galea should be removed from their position?