GħSL’s new Policy Paper on the Lawyer’s Act

Posted On April 19, 2021

Għaqda Studenti tal-Liġi (GħSL) today issued their new policy paper titled, “Lawyers Act – Proposals on a Regulatory Framework Years in the Making.” The 162-page document examines the legal education in Malta and compares the regulation of the law profession locally and internationally.

GħSL are proposing the following changes:

  • Publication of official guidelines for trainee lawyers
  • Registration of all trainee lawyers with the Committee of Advocate and Legal Procurators
  • Recognition of the United Kingdom’s system of barrister’s chambers to regulate and register law firms
  • Enforcement of the law which says that certain services should only be provided by warranted advocates
  • Enforcement of the definition between reserved legal services and restricted legal services i.e. “reserved Legal Services refers to those services which, in GħSL’s opinion, should only be conducted by warranted lawyers. Restricted Legal Services, on the other hand, are services which can be provided for by lawyers and other professionals (for example: Architects, Financial Advisers, Engineers, Accountants etc.) ” (defined by GħSL President Matthew Charles Zammit and GħSL Social Policy Officer Andrew Sciberras).
  • An updated code of ethics
  • An updated Committee of Advocates and Legal Procurators
  • Lawyers should only be in possession of one warrant at a time, in order to prevent potential confusion that can be caused by possession of multiple warrants

Current GħSL President, Matthew Charles Zammit, has stated that ‘The lingering need for a regulatory framework, and a discussion on the legal profession at large, has been lacking for far too long‘ and that a ‘there needs a push by all relevant stakeholders (both from the legislator’s end, as well as from the lawyers themselves) to make these changes happen. This policy paper was created with one task at hand: To determine the future of our legal profession, by examining past legislative attempts, and extrapolating present needs.’

Current GħSL Social Policy Officer, Andrew Sciberras, has also stated ‘It is clear even from the objects of the bill that the reason behind it is not a genuine desire to better the profession, but rather to address certain issues related to Moneyval. Therefore, we call on all stakeholders to, in addition to the implementation of the proposals outlined below, codify standalone legislation to provide a framework for the regulation of the legal profession.’

This paper is a response to Bill 181 of 2020 which is currently being discussed by parliament and which has recently passed the third reading stage. This is the second time such a bill has been proposed. The first time was in 2012, where the bill was struck down due to a lack of political will.

You can read the full paper here.

Written by Daniela Chatlani

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