The Government has sought the advice of the Venice Commission on the legislative amendment that is necessary to strengthen the right to a fair hearing as protected under the Constitution of Malta, in a way that is consonant with the right to be heard as protected under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Government believed that it would be wise to seek the advice of this Commission which is autonomous and independent of the institutions and entities in our country.
To achieve this goal in recent months the Government has submitted two proposals to Parliament, both with a bill amending the Constitution and with a bill amending the Interpretation Act. The aim of these drafts is to strengthen the supervisory authorities and also to strengthen the guarantee that they provide an appropriate right to be heard in their work. These amendments were tabled as part of a series of changes that have been and are being made by the administration led by Prime Minister Robert Abela to strengthen the rule of law and governance in our country.
The Government has noted the way in which the Opposition has come out against the two bills and believes that if what is being suggested by the Opposition is done, this will undermine the effectiveness of the regulatory authorities of our country.
This is why the Government explained in Parliament the aims of this reform and stated that it was not interested in making it a partisan political issue. The Government has indicated and stated its readiness for dialogue with a view to introducing this legislative reform in the most effective way.
The Government explained how in the absence of appropriate alternative proposals, the Opposition would risk paralyzing the supervisory authorities in their work.
It was in this spirit of dialogue and a strong will to strengthen the rule of law and good governance that this advice was sought from the Venice Commission. The Government is expected to consider this advice in the choices it will make on this legislative reform.
The Government welcomes the fact that the Venice Commission has understood the importance of this reform and has even accepted the Government’s invitation to provide an opinion on the subject. The Government also calls on the Opposition to show the same sense of genuine will to find a solution with a view to further strengthening the institutions and supervisory authorities of our country.