The Faculty of Laws states it position concerning Maltese The University of Malta has always been the cradle of the Maltese language. Suffice to say that the Ghaqda tal-Malti (Università) was founded there in 1931 as was the Chair of Maltese. The University has absolutely no desire to diminish the importance of Maltese, the language which defines our national identity. It should be noted that Maltese is an obligatory subject for all Maltese students who wish to enter University. This requirement will not be changed. Maltese A-level was not a special course requirement for the B.A. in Legal and Humanistic Studies. Those who, at the end of the this course, obtain the required grade, are allowed to continue their studies in the three year, LL.D. course. Maltese A-Level at grade C was a special course requirement for the LL.D. course and this is what has been changed by the University. Students may, of course, continue to offer Maltese at A-level if they so wish.
The Faculty of Laws took a close look at the needs of the students and at developments in the profession here in Malta and also abroad and came to the conclusion that its students, tied as they are to two specific A-levels, were not developing a broad-based academic background in keeping with todayís needs. If there were a wider choice of subjects at Advanced level, students would be able to access credits not only in legal studies but also those offered by other faculties. Law and economics; law and informatics, law and financial services are some examples of such study areas. It would only be possible to do this if the students had A-levels in subjects such as economics, informatics and accountancy etc. Clearly, to do this students must be given the opportunity to choose from a wider selection of A-level subjects.
One must also bear in mind that an ever-increasing number of students, more than 100, now joins the Faculty of Laws every year. Not all these graduates find work at the Law Courts. Those who do not find work or who do not wish to practise as a Court lawyer, should be provided with a modern legal education allowing them to work in other areas. The Faculty on the other hand understands that Maltese is very necessary for those working at the Courts and is certainly not going to suggest otherwise. However, the Faculty also realises that the kind of language training needed is not necessarily that which is provided by the Maltese A-level syllabus that is mainly based on Maltese literature. For this reason, the Faculty has decided to organise obligatory, specialist courses in Maltese for its students. This does not weaken the position of Maltese. On the contrary, it strengthens it. The Faculty has already asked the Department of Maltese to create such courses with this aim in mind. This solution should go a long way towards improving standards which will be beneficial to the Maltese language as well as to the Courts. At the same time, the Faculty will have accomplished its aim of modernising its studentsí legal education thus creating lawyers who are equipped to work within the contemporary legal scene. In the same way, the Department of Pharmacy has introduced compulsory courses in 'Maltese for Pharmacists' conducted by the Institute of Linguistics.
The Faculty believes that in this way it will better serve the needs of its students who must be competitive in a complex and varied work environment while their level of spoken and written Maltese will also improve. This does not mean that the Faculty is unwilling to consider arguments and sentiments which have been expressed during the public debate on this issue.
21 July, 2001