European Commission > EJN > Procedural time limits > Malta

Last update: 22-03-2007
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Procedural time limits - Malta

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Give a definition of the various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in your Member State in civil matters; for example, procedural time limits, periods of prescription or limitation, prefixed periods, etc 1.
2. Give a list of the various days envisaged as non-working days by your legislation pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971. 2.
3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures in your State? Quote references of applicable legislation. 3.
4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out before the expiry of a period, what is starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality? (ex: the date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the [date of service and/or intimation (Belgium)] from which it runs). 4.
5. From when does this period begin to run: 5.
a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation which begins it count ? a)
b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days? For example, if a person must act or is served a document on Monday 4th of April 2005 and he or she is requested to answer within 14 days from service, does this mean that he or she shall answer before: aa) Monday, 18th of April (calendar days) or bb) Friday 22nd of April 2005 (working days? b)
c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years? c)
d) When do such deadlines expire? d)
6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event? 6.
7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the metropolitan territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have the geographically separate entities ), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those which live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long ? 7.
8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the metropolis, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad? 8.
9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters? 9.
10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended 10.
11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit ? 11.
12. Describe the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods? 12.
13. Which are the conditions to recover from the foreclosure as a consequence of an expiry of the time limits? 13.

 

1. Give a definition of the various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in your Member State in civil matters; for example, procedural time limits, periods of prescription or limitation, prefixed periods, etc

The time limits identified under Maltese law are the following: procedural time limits, periods of prescription of limitation, peremptory legal time limits, and  periods decreed by Judges.

Procedural time limits are limits layed down by law for the exercise of an act of the proceedings;

Prescriptive time limits are limits layed down by the law for the exercise of an action, which period may be interrupted;

Peremptory time limits are time limit layed down by law, which period cannot be interrupted;

Judicial time limits are limits layed down by the Court for the performance of a particular act.

Procedural time limits and peremptory time limits, fixed by law, are not renewable. Prescriptive time limits may be interrupted, and time limits fixed by decrees and judgments may be prolonged upon a specific request.

2. Give a list of the various days envisaged as non-working days by your legislation pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971.

The days envisaged as non-working days by Maltese legislation are public holidays and national holidays:

Public Holidays National Holidays
1st January21st September
10th February 13th December
19th March 31st March
Good Friday8th September
1st May 7th June
29th June  
15th August 
8th December 
25th December 
Sundays
 

3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures in your State? Quote references of applicable legislation.

The general rules on time limits are to found in the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure, Book Second, ‘Of The Procedure in the Courts Of Justice Of Civil Jurisdiction (www.justice.gov.mt).

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4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out before the expiry of a period, what is starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality? (ex: the date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the [date of service and/or intimation (Belgium)] from which it runs).

Any legal or judicial time shall commence to run from the day immediately following, on which such act has been duly served or published.

5. From when does this period begin to run:

a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation which begins it count ?

Where any legal or judicial time is to be reckoned from a stated day, such day shall not be considered as included in the time itself; and where it is reckoned by hours, the hour in which service is effected shall not be considered as included in the time.

Does the starting time for any time limit depend in any way on the receipt by or knowledge of the action by the recipient. If so how?

In the case of procedural time limits, the starting time depends on the positive certificate of service. However the law does identify situations where time starts running upon knowledge of the recipient. For example, in the case of judicial review of an administrative action, the six month time period identified by the law within which an action has to be instituted against the Government, shall begun to run from the day the party knew or reasonably ought to have known of the impugned administrative act.

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b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days? For example, if a person must act or is served a document on Monday 4th of April 2005 and he or she is requested to answer within 14 days from service, does this mean that he or she shall answer before: aa) Monday, 18th of April (calendar days) or bb) Friday 22nd of April 2005 (working days?

There are both kind of time limits applicable under Maltese procedural law. Unless the time limit is specified as a working day, the time limit must be computed in callender days.

c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years?

In the reckoning of any time, the day is reckoned at twenty-four hours, and the month and the year are reckoned according to the calandar.

d) When do such deadlines expire?

Save as otherwise expressly provided, the time of twenty-four hours shall be deemed to expire on the following day at the hour established for the closing of the registry.

For instance if an act was served on 24th May, and the time limit is one day, than the reply must be filed on the 25th May before 15.00 hours since the registry of the Civil Court operates from 8.00 hours till 15.00 hours between the 1st October and the 15th June.

If the act was served on the 20th June, and the time limit is also one day, than the reply must be filed on the 21st June before 13.00 hours since the registry of the Civil Court operates from 7.30 hours till 13.00 hours between the 16th June and the 30th September.

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Are there any starting points for time limits which apply exceptionally or particularly in certain civil procedures ?

A typical example of exceptional / particular procedure relates to the case of judicial review of an administrative action. Please refer to paragraph 5.a) above.

6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event?

If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or National or Public Holiday or non working day, then the period is extended until the first following working day. This extension applies in all cases.

7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the metropolitan territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have the geographically separate entities ), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those which live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long ?

Not applicable.

8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the metropolis, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad?

Not applicable.

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9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters?

Yes there are time limits for appeals specific to civil and constitutional matters. Civil appeals must be filed within a time limit of 20 days from the day of judgement, and within 20 working days to file a reply; whilst Constitutional Cases have a shorter time limit namely that of 8 working days to file an appeal, and  6 working days to file a reply. The period for appeal from a decree before a definitive judgement is 6 days from the date on which the decree is read out in court. Where an interlocutory decree has been given “in ‘camera” it is deemed to have been read out in open Court on the date of the first Court sitting immediately after the decree was given.

10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended

Only periods fixed by the Court may be extended.

It shall be lawful for the Court in cases of urgency to abridge any legal time and to order that an act be carried into execution from one day to another or from one hour to another or forthwith.

11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit ?

Not applicable.

12. Describe the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods?

Generally non observance of time limits can bring about a negative effect. For instance, a writ of summons must be replied to within 20 days from the notification of the document, and the consequence of non-observance would entail loss of rights before the Court. The defendant is considered to be in default, and he may not produce witnesses or participate during the proceeding other then to make written submissions to the Court.

13. Which are the conditions to recover from the foreclosure as a consequence of an expiry of the time limits?

In the case of judicial time limits, which cannt be extended, one cannot recover from the forclosure. However, by way of an example, if a defendant to a suit who has good reason for not replying to a writ of summons within the stipulated 20 days time period, may justify his default and may be allowed by the Court to file a statement of defence out of time.

Further information

http://www.gov.mt/

« Procedural time limits - General information | Malta - General information »

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Last update: 22-03-2007

 
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