Court Sitting Coming Up? Be Prepared.
With the re-opening of the law courts in Malta, new procedures have been put in places to minimise risk of Covid-19 infection. We bring you some key points to help you prepare for your forthcoming visit to the law courts.
1. Starting with the obvious, court staff will deny entry to the law courts to any person who is ill or shows symptoms of illness. To this end, all persons entering the law court building, including lawyers, shall be subject to a temperature check (max allowed temperature is 37.2 Celsius). Where a litigant is to enter court to attend a hearing, entry will only be allowed a few minutes before the hearing's scheduled time.
2. A two-metre social distancing is to be maintained at all times, and will be enforced by court officials. In each courtroom, there must be four square metres of space per person, including court staff. Visible markings on the floor of court rooms will indicate the appropriate distance to be maintained.
3. Persons in common areas should wear a mask or visor at all times.
4. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers will be placed at the entrance of the law courts and at each hall, and all persons are to sanitise their hands prior to entry in a court room.
5. Acrylic or tempered glass screens have been installed in court rooms to ensure that witnesses giving evidence are segregated from lawyers and court officials within court rooms.
6. In view of the risk of transmission from handling of physical documents, electronic versions of documents should be shared instead.
7. The practice of cases being appointed for hearing at the same time will be discontinued in order to avoid crowding. Cases will thus be heard by appointment only.
8. As much as possible, clients are directed to avoid attending court sittings unless absolutely necessary. Clients are required to attend if they are required to give evidence, or if they are being charged in a criminal case.
9. District sittings (Court of Magistrates - criminal judicature) will not be held in the next few weeks.
These measures have been agreed between the Chamber of Advocates and the courts' administration, and are subject to review. Mifsud Bonnici clients are welcome to contact us to discuss any specific issue in relation to the new procedures, and to prepare for the next hearing in their case.