Simplified and accelerated procedures - Malta
Order for payment procedures
1. Existence of a order for payment procedure
There is no specific Order for payment procedure in Malta. There is, however, an equivalent procedure by which a claimant can obtain judgement by default called “Special Summary Procedure”.
1.1. Scope of procedure
The plaintiff files his claim in court by means of a writ of summons whereby he asks the court to give judgement allowing his demand, without proceeding to trial. The plaintiff shall in his declaration state that in his belief there is no defence to the action.
The writ of summons shall be served on the defendant without delay; and he shall be ordered to appear before the court not earlier than fifteen days and not later than thirty days from the date of service of the writ of summons.
If the defendant then fails to appear to the writ of summons, or if he appears and does not contest the proceedings taken by the plaintiff on the ground of irregularity or inapplicability, or, having unsuccessfully raised such plea, does not by his sworn evidence, or otherwise, satisfy the court that he has a prima facie defence, in law or in fact, to the action on the merits, or otherwise disclose such facts or issues of law as may be deemed sufficient to entitle him to defend the action or to set up a counter-claim, the court shall forthwith give judgement, allowing the plaintiff’s claim.
If however the defendant successfully contests the proceedings on the ground of irregularity or inapplicability, or, if he satisfies the court that he has a prima facie defence to the action, or otherwise discloses such facts or issues of law as may be deemed sufficient to entitle him to defend the action or to set up a counter-claim, he shall be given leave to defend the action and file a statement of defence within twenty days from the date of the order given by the court. The case will then be transferred to ordinary civil proceedings.
a) What types of claims are eligible (e.g. only pecuniary claims, only contractual claims etc.)?
The claims are limited to the recovery of a debt that is certain, liquidated and due, not consisting in the performance of an act; or for the eviction of any person from any urban or rural tenement, with or without a claim for ground rent, rent or any other consideration due by way of damages for any compensation, up to the date of the surrender of the tenement.
b) Is there an upper limit regarding the value of the claim?
There is no upper limit for the claim but the claim cannot be below Lm5000.
c) Is the use of that procedure optional or obligatory?
The procedure is optional.
d) Is the procedure available if the defendant lives in another Member State or in a third country?
The procedure is available if the defendant lives in another Member State in accordance with the rules that apply to the service of documents (Council Regulation 1348/2000 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extra judicial documents in civil or commercial matters). The procedure is as follows - plaintiff files an application before the Maltese Court asking for authorization to serve the writ of summons or any other document relevant to the claim to the debtor at his address. Applicant must provide the Court with details of the address of the defendant residing abroad. The Court through the Registrar sends the documents to the Receiving Authority in Malta (who acts also as a Transmitting Authority) which in turn forwards everything to the Transmitting Authority of the other Member State where the defendant is resident. The latter will then serve the documentation on the defendant.If the defendant lives in a third country other then a member of the European Union, the procedure is the same as above except that the Receiving/Transmitting Authority in Malta will serve the defendant via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which then uses the proper diplomatic channels to send the writ of summons to defendant abroad.
1.2. Competent Court
Application should be made to the Superior Courts in Malta or to the Courts of Magistrates (Gozo) in its superior jurisdiction.
1.3. Formal requirements
The formal requirements have already been listed above (parag. 1.1
) that is, the claimant follows the correct procedures in filing his claim. In addition since this is a special summary proceeding the plaintiff should ask the Court in the Writ of Summons to give judgement allowing his demand without proceeding to trial.
a) Is the use of a standardised form obligatory? (if yes, where can that form be obtained?)
The standardised form (being the Writ of Summons) is obligatory. It may be obtained from the Registry of the Superior Courts in Malta or from the Registry of the Court of Gozo.
b) Do I have to be represented by a lawyer?
Since such claims can only be made to the Superior Courts, representation by a lawyer is mandatory.
c) In how much detail do I have to describe the reason for the claim?
The writ of summons shall contain a clear and correct statement of the subject matter and the cause of the claim which shall be numbered. Also, such documents as may be necessary in support of the claim shall be produced together with the writ of summons. Moreover, the plaintiff shall file together with the writ of summons a declaration with numbered paragraphs containing all the facts relevant to the cause and describing each fact in separately numbered paragraphs, in support of his claim, stating also which facts are within his knowledge. Such declaration shall either be confirmed on oath before the registrar of the superior court or be accompanied by an affidavit of the plaintiff or one of the plaintiffs confirming all the facts in support of the claim and stating which facts are within his knowledge.
d) Do I have to present written evidence of the claim at issue? If yes, which documents are admissible as proof?
Evidence of the claim at issue may be oral and written as long as it is relevant to the claim.
1.4. Rejection of application
The writ of summons by the plaintiff may be rejected on the basis of any preliminary pleas that may be raised by the defendant or if for instance plaintiff does not provide the necessary evidence required to convince the Court that his claim is justified.
The applicant can appeal to the Court of Appeal.
1.6. Statement of opposition
This special summary proceeding applies only when the defendant fails to appear to the writ of summons, or if he appears and does not contest the proceedings taken by the plaintiff, on the ground of irregularity or inapplicability, or, having unsuccessfully raised such plea, does not by his sworn evidence, or otherwise, satisfy the court that he has a prima facie defence, in law or in fact, to the action on the merits, or otherwise disclose such facts or issues of law as may be deemed sufficient to entitle him to defend the action or to set up a counter-claim.
If as explained above the defendant successfully contests the proceedings on the ground of irregularity or inapplicability, or, if he satisfies the court that he has a prima facie defence to the action, or otherwise discloses such facts or issues of law as may be deemed sufficient to entitle him to defend the action or to set up a counter-claim, he shall be given permission to defend the action and file a statement of defence within twenty days from the date of the order given by the court. The case will then continue as ordinary civil proceedings.
1.7. Effect of statement of opposition
If the claim is contested in time and as explained in the preceding paragraph, the consequence is that the case will no longer be dealt with summarily but will continue as normal court proceeding.
The transfer of the case to ordinary civil proceedings is automatic.
1.8. Effect of lack of statement of opposition
In that case the Court shall proceed to give judgement allowing plaintiff�s claim.
a) What needs to be done in order to obtain an enforceable decision?
The judgement itself given by the Court in Special Summary Proceedings is the decision that can be enforced against the defendant. Enforcement may take place after two days from date of delivery of judgement.
b) Is this decision final or is there still a possibility for the defendant to appeal against that decision?
The defendant has the possibility to appeal from the decision to the Court of Appeal asking it either to set aside the judgement in whole or to vary it in part.
- Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs
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