The Suspension and Interruption of Legal and Other Time Periods in Malta due to Covid-19
Following the publication of the Closure of Courts of Justice Order, 2020 (Legal Notice 65 of 2020), various legal notices have been enacted in order to suspend and interrupt the legal and other time periods in Malta.
Legal Notice 97 of 2020 entitled Closure of the Courts of Justice (Amendment) Order, 2020, provides that any legal, judicial or administrative time limit for filing any acts before the court following the conclusion of proceedings before any Tribunal, board, commission, committee or other entity which does not operate from the building of the Court of Justices shall be suspended or a period of twenty days from the lifting of such order from the Superintended of public health.
Suspension of time Periods established by law or ordered by court
Legal Notice 141 of 2020 entitled General Provisions applying to the Suspension of Legal and Judicial Times Regulations, 2020 as amended by Legal Notice 162 of 2020 entitled General Provisions applying to the Suspension of Legal and Judicial Times (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 provide for the suspension of the running of the following time periods which are affected by or otherwise subject to Closure of the Courts of Justice Order:
- Any time period under any substantive or procedural law, including any period of prescription and any preemptory period; and
- Any time period decreed or ordered by any court.
Such periods are to remain suspended until seven days from the lifting of such order of the Superintendent of Public Health, following which such periods are to continue running.
Suspension of time periods established in agreements
Furthermore, Legal Notice 141 of 2020 provides for the suspension of the running of time periods established in any agreement (whether a public deed or a private writing) including any time periods for the performance of any obligations established under any such agreement, if and to the extent that the Closure of the Courts of Justice Order has a direct effect on any party’s ability to exercise its rights or to perform its obligations in terms of the same agreement. While echoing Legal Notice 75 of 2020 entitled the Suspension of Legal Times relating to Promise of Sale Agreements, Notarial and other related matters (Epidemics and Infectious Disease) Order, 2020; Legal Notice 141 of 2020 as amended by Legal Notice 162 of 2020, states that this applies suspension applies to the following:
- All legal periods imposed on a notary public by law to register any deed, act, will or private writing;
- Any time period within which a notary public must pay any taxes collected by him in the exercise of his profession;
- Any time period related to fiscal benefits, incentives and exemptions;
- Any time period within which a notary public is to submit any information or documentation to any authority or regulator; and
- Any time in respect of to the expiration of any promise of sale agreement.
Legal notice 141 of 2020 as amended by Legal Notice 162 of 2020 and Legal Notice 75 provide that these periodsare to remain so suspended until twenty days from the lifting of such order of the Superintendent of Public Health, following which such periods are to continue running.
All time periods suspended in terms of Legal notice 141 of 2020 as amended by Legal Notice 162 of 2020 are to be deemed to have started to run as from the 16th March 2020