Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government

Court Services

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This website offers a wide range of Court Services intended for use by the Judiciary, members of the legal profession, students, researchers, the press and also the general public. These services are grouped under seven categories:

  • Judgements Online
  • Civil Cases
  • Hall Usage
  • Statistics
  • Civil Forms
  • Judicial Sales by Auction
  • Court Experts

Organisation of justice - judicial systems

The Courts of Justice Department

The Director General (Courts), who is appointed by the Prime Minister, is responsible for the administration of the courts. He is assisted by the Registrar, Civil Courts and Tribunals, the Registrar Criminal Courts and Tribunals, the Director General (Gozo Courts and Tribunals), and the Director (Support Services).

The Director General (Courts) is responsible for the management and administration of the Courts of Justice Department, including the registries, archives and other services, and also heads this Department. All court executive officers performing duties in the Courts of Justice Department take their instructions from, and are answerable to, the Director General (Courts).

Hierarchy of courts

The Maltese judicial system is a two-tier system comprising of a court of first instance presided over by a judge or magistrate, and a court of appeal.

You can find a short description of each court in the table below.

The Court of Appeal Second instance

Appellate
The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the civil courts in both their superior and inferior jurisdiction.

(i) This court hears appeals from the First Hall of the Civil Court and the Civil Court (Family Section).

(ii) Appeals from the Court of Magistrates in its civil jurisdiction, the Small Claims Tribunal and the administrative tribunals are also heard by this court.


(i) Composed of three judges.


(ii) Composed of one judge.
The Court of Criminal Appeal Second instance


Appellate
This Court in its Superior Jurisdiction hears appeals by persons convicted by the Criminal Court.

This Court in its Inferior Jurisdiction hears appeals in respect of cases decided by the Court of Magistrates sitting as a Court of Criminal Judicature.
Composed of three judges

Composed of one judge
The Criminal Court First instance This court sits as a criminal court and hears criminal cases exceeding the competence of the Court of Magistrates. Presided over by a judge who sits with a jury of nine persons
The Civil Court:

The First Hall of the Civil Court

Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction Section)

The Civil Court (Family Section)
First instance The First Hall of the Civil Court hears all cases of a civil and/or a commercial nature exceeding the jurisdiction the Court of Magistrates. In its constitutional jurisdiction, it also hears cases relating to violations of the constitutionally protected human rights and fundamental freedoms protected by the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction Section) is a voluntary jurisdiction court and is responsible for the interdiction or incapacitation of persons of unsound mind, the nomination of tutors for same persons, the opening of successions and the confirmation of testamentary executors. It is also a repository for secret wills.

This court hears all cases relating to family matters such as marriage annulment, personal separation, divorce, maintenance and custody of children.
Presided over by a judge




Presided over by a judge


Presided over by a judge
The Court of Magistrates First instance In the civil field, the Court of Magistrates only has an inferior jurisdiction of first instance, in general limited to claims not exceeding €11,646.87.

In the criminal field, the Court has a twofold jurisdiction: as a court of criminal judicature in respect of cases falling within its jurisdiction, and as a court of criminal inquiry in respect of offences falling within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court.

(i) Court of Criminal Judicature – this Court is competent to try all offences punishable by a term of up to 6 months imprisonment.

(ii) Court of Inquiry – this Court conducts the preliminary inquiry in respect of indictable offences and transmits the relevant records to the Attorney General. If there is no objection from the accused, the Attorney General may refer cases punishable with a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment back to the Court of Magistrates as a Court of Criminal Judicature to hear and decide the case.
Presided over by a magistrate
The Court of Magistrates First instance In the civil field, the Court of Magistrates only has an inferior jurisdiction of first instance, in general limited to claims not exceeding €11,646.87.

In the criminal field, the Court has a twofold jurisdiction: as a court of criminal judicature in respect of cases falling within its jurisdiction, and as a court of criminal inquiry in respect of offences falling within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court.

(i) Court of Criminal Judicature – this Court is competent to try all offences punishable by a term of up to 6 months imprisonment.

(ii) Court of Inquiry – this Court conducts the preliminary inquiry in respect of indictable offences and transmits the relevant records to the Attorney General. If there is no objection from the accused, the Attorney General may refer cases punishable with a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment back to the Court of Magistrates as a Court of Criminal Judicature to hear and decide the case.
Presided over by a magistrate
The Court of Magistrates for Gozo First instance In the civil field, the Court of Magistrates for Gozo has a two-fold jurisdiction: an inferior jurisdiction comparable to that exercised by its counterpart court in Malta; and a superior jurisdiction, with the same competence as the First Hall of the Civil Court, excluding its constitutional jurisdiction, and the Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction Section) in Malta. In the criminal field, the Court of Magistrates for Gozo has the same competence as the Court of Magistrates as a Court of Criminal Inquiry and as a Court of Criminal Judicature in Malta. Presided over by a magistrate
The Juvenile Court First instance The Juvenile Court hears charges against, and holds other proceedings relating to, minors under the age of 16 years and may issue care orders. Presided over by a magistrate and two members
Small Claims Tribunal First instance The Tribunal summarily decides, on principles of equity and law, money claims of less than €3494.06. Presided over by an adjudicator
Rent Regulation Board First instance The Rent Regulation Board hears cases relating to changes in the conditions of leases, including increases in rent and termination of the lease. These cases must relate to lease agreements entered into prior to 1st June 1995. Presided over by a magistrate
Land Arbitration Board First instance The Land Arbitration Board hears cases dealing with the classification of expropriated land, the public purpose of the expropriation and the amount of compensation due to the owner. Presided over by a magistrate
Rural Lease Control Board First instance This board hears cases dealing with rural leases and claims made by owners regarding termination of such leases Presided over by a magistrate
Administrative Review Tribunal First instance This tribunal has the power to review administrative acts Presided over by a magistrate
Partition of Inheritances Tribunal First instance This tribunal decides cases regarding the partition of property held in common by the successors of a deceased person. Presided over by an arbitrator
The Competition and Consumer Appeals Tribunal Appellate This Tribunal hears and determines appeals from decisions, orders or measures of the Director General (Competition) and the Director General (Consumer Affairs). The decisions of the Tribunal are final barring some exceptions where an appeal from a decision of this Tribunal is allowed but limitedly to a question of law. Presided over by a Judge and two members
Court of Revision of Notarial Acts First Instance This is a special court which supervises over all notaries, the Notarial Archives and the Public Registry. It has the authority to visit and inspect the Notarial Archives, the Public Registry and the offices of notaries as well as to apply disciplinary punishments. This court also has the power to order corrections of erroneous indications in registrations at the Public Registry. Composed of members called Visitors

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