Litigation and Arbitration Services
Litigation is a form of legal dispute resolution dating back to the beginning of civilisation. The passage of time has seen it adapt to fit the demands of our ever evolving society. Arbitration is somewhat younger, first making an appearance in English common law during the Middle Ages. Today, both forms are in frequent use in Malta, the latter often employed to remove the burden from the courts. At AE, it’s always our primary recommendation that clients attempt to reach an amicable settlement. However, when this is not possible, our legal team is prepared to represent clients in litigation or arbitration in front of all Courts and Tribunals in Malta.
Litigation in Malta
Litigation is considered to be the traditional, and most popular, form of dispute resolution. In its purest form it involves two opposing parties, together with their legal representation, battling it out in front of a judge within the walls of the appropriate law courts. Malta is historically a highly litigious nation, where the general belief is that the courts are the only adequate means to settle a dispute. This mentality is gradually changing, and the idea of settling disputes by alternative means is often becoming a preferred route. However, if representation before the courts really is the only way to move forward, AE Legal’s litigation department offers comprehensive representation for all types of disputes including constitutional law, civil law, company law, and criminal law across all applicable Courts. Malta’s Courts of Justice are divided into Superior and Inferior levels. Judges only sit in the Superior Courts, which are the:
- Constitutional Court
- Commercial Court
- Court of Appeal
- Court of Criminal Appeal
- Criminal Court
- Civil Court
The Inferior Courts are the Court of Magistrates (Malta) and the Court of Magistrates (Gozo). The latter court has a superior and an inferior jurisdiction.
Arbitration in Malta
The efficiency and expediency of arbitration are its most attractive features. There are two ways in which arbitration could commence, one which is determined by an arbitration clause, and the other which occurs ad-hoc post-dispute. The former can only take place in the event of a contract which contains a clause stating that the parties consent to submit to arbitration in the case of any future disputes. Arbitration in Malta is regulated by the Arbitration Act (Chapter 237 of the Laws of Malta), and the entire process is founded on the Malta Arbitration Centre (MAC). It’s a less formal process when compared to litigation, a fact which contributes to its expedient nature. Costs are also kept at minimum, unlike litigation where the combination of court and representation fees can rise rapidly. Once an arbitration notice is filed at MAC, the other party is notified and is given the opportunity to respond. At this point the panel is formed, which can be made up of one or more arbitrator, depending on the sum of the claim. The award of the arbitration must be made in writing, and once it’s registered by MAC it’s considered to be a final judgement.
How AE Legal can help
Our goal is always to help clients reach a smooth and efficient resolution to their dispute. The ideal method of resolution will depend on the case at hand, but if either litigation or arbitration are the ideal solution, our team of trained lawyers are at hand to offer you the best representation possible. AE Legal’s competence is wide reaching, and our people are well versed in litigation concerning all civil and commercial matters, experienced in defending or prosecuting cases across all Maltese courts, tribunals and arbitration centres.