Following the indefinite closure of the Courts of Justice due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in terms of the Closure of the Courts of Justice Order, 2020 (as amended by Legal Notice 97 of 2020), the Maltese Government has recently adopted Legal Notice 141 of 2020 in relation to the suspension of legal and judicial times (the "Regulations").
By virtue of regulation 3(1) of the Regulations, the Minister for Justice has suspended the running of the following time periods:
- those periods running under any substantive or procedural law, including any period of prescription and any peremptory period;
- any time period as decreed or otherwise ordered by any court, government department, government agency or public authority; and
- any other time period established in any agreement (whether a private writing or a public deed), including any time period for the performance of any obligation, set out in such agreement, if and to the extent that the closure has a direct effect on the ability of any party to exercise its rights or to perform its obligations in terms of the same agreement.
The time periods referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) above shall resume following the lapse of seven days from the lifting of the Regulations by the Superintendent for Public Health whereas those time periods referred to in (c) above shall resume following the lapse of the twenty days from the lifting of these Regulations.
The Regulations further provide that the suspension provided for in regulation 3(1) shall also apply to the following matters:
- the running of all the legal periods imposed on a notary public by law to register any deed, will, act or private writing; or
- the running of any period within which notary public, in terms of any applicable law, must pay taxes collected by him in the exercise of his profession; or
- the running of any time period related to fiscal benefits, incentives or exemptions;
- the running of any time period within which a notary public is to submit any information or documentation to any authority or regulator pursuant to relevant notarial activity; and
- the running of time with respect to the performance of any obligation contained in any deed or private writing, including a registered promise of sale agreement; and the running of time with respect to the expiration of any registered promise of sale agreement
Those time periods referred to in paragraphs (i) to (v) above shall resume following the lapse of the twenty days from the lifting of these Regulations by the Superintendent of Health.
The suspension of legal and judicial times catered for in the Regulations is effective from the 2nd April 2020.