Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Maltese Legislation in Historical Context

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Legal History and Methodology

DESCRIPTION Learning Outcomes:

The student will get used to the archival depositories of the historico-legal and legal information.

The student will understand how to get better access to the authentic and original documents relating to the foundations of modern legislations.

The student will become aware of further information on the original texts of constitutions and legislations whether they still exist or not, whether in operation or defunct.

The student will understand the methodology which is required for writing and LLD thesis. S/he will learn about the relevance of formulating research questions, carrying out a literature review, formulating theories and hypotheses, constructing a research design, implementing research and comprehending how to go about doing so from an ethical viewpoint and, generally, understanding why certain processes have to be followed in order to write and LLD thesis.

The student will enable himself to write the LLD thesis for which s/he has enrolled in the study unit as well as any other document which, though not part of the LLD course, such student might want to embark upon graduation.

The student will have the necessary skills of going about writing books, paper, articles, etc. after finishing the study unit.

The student will also have the necessary skills to embark upon, following graduation, to read for an MA/ M. Phil/ Ph.D. which is assessed by the writing of thesis. The student will thus transfer skills learnt during this study-unit to the writing of an MA/ M. Phil/ Ph.D. thesis.

The aim of the series of lectures is to show how legislation responds to the social and political circumstances of given periods of Maltese History.

1. The First Lecture tries to illustrate the way how Maltese Law, during the late Mediaeval period before the arrival of the Order of St. John, served the particular needs of the Maltese Community. The texts used are those of the Acta Juratorum published by Professor Wettinger, and the Notarial Acts of Giacomo Zabbara, published by Professor Stanley Fiorini. Most notably, the first furnish instances where the Rent Laws adopted and the regulations imposed concerning the disposal of waste, were meant to protect Mdina; whilst gleanings from the second show the use of emancipation of sixteen year old males, to buttress with their personal added guarantees their father’s obligations.

2. The Second Lecture deals with the steps taken by the Order of St. John to ensure complete control over the Islands. During the first period, De L‘Isle Adam‘s first Bandi: prohibition of sale of immovable property to foreigners or Maltese living abroad, registration of title of ownership, limitation of hunting rights. D’Omedes and the Officio delle Case. La Vallette and building regulations in the new city. La Cassiere and the expulsion of Jews and the control of prostitution. The Court of the Castellania.

3. The Third Lecture would relate the Order‘s needs in attempting to form a separate political entity and free itself from outside control. The Tribunale degli Armamenti, the Prammatiche of Caraffa, the Consolato di Mare of Perellos, the Leggi e Costituzioni Prammaticali of Manoel de Vilhena, and the Diritto Municipale of Rohan. The influence of the Enlightenment.

4. The Fourth Lecture describes the reforms introduced by Napoleon. The French Republic‘s impelling need to make a tabula rasa of the Ancien Regime. The abolition of Slavery, the declaration of religious liberty, the principle of Equality before the law, and the removal of the distinctions of nobility and class, the dissolution of the Order of St. John and the State‘s confiscation of the Order‘s property, the disbandment of the Officio delle Case and Rent Control.

5. The Fifth Lecture concerns the introduction during the first part of the British period of the reform of the Courts and the gradual adoption of Trial by Jury. The necessity of establishing a sound administration and the principles of the rule of Law.

6. The Sixth broaches the matter of modernization. The Reform of the Codes, the buiding of the new Prisons, the Lunatic Asylum,the Old People‘s Home, the new Cemetery, drainage works, the new Sanitary Ordinances. Why the British Colonial Administration preferred to have the Maltese Judges and lawyer class to retain Roman Law and to introduce the Code Napoleon. The Imperial Parliament’s Merchant Shipping Act of 1895.

7. The Seventh Lecture and Maltese Self-Government 1921-33. The First Act of the Legislative Assembly. The National Feast. The Rent Acts, the Compulsory Attendance and Pari Passu. The Treasury and Audit Act, and the Widows and Orphans Fund. The Workmen’s Compensation Act.

8. The Eighth Lecture deals with the way the Local Colonial Administration prepared for War. The 1939 and 1944 Rent Acts. The Services and Supllies Acts. The importation pools and the Command Economy. The relief of indigence during the War. Rent Registration and War Damage Compensation.

9. The Ninth Lecture deals with the return of self-government and the introduction of old age pensions and Income Tax. The Conditions of Employment Regulation Act, National Insurance and natonal Assistance. The First Labour and Nationalist-Labour, and then Labour again, Governments. The 1957 Continental Shelf Act.

10. The Lecture considers the Colonial Administration’s Ordinances 1958-1962: Emergency; Decontrol of Houses; Abolition of Irkupru and ultra quartum. The first instances of economic liberalization.

11. The Independence Constitution and the first steps towards some economic emancipation: The Central Bank, the Development Corporation. The Diversification Drive.

12. The new Labour Government (1971-87) The removal of the Death Penalty; the erasure of the crimes of Adultery and of Homosexual Acts between consenting adults. The economic Controls of the 1971-87 period. Air Malta, the Banks, Enemalta, Xandir Malta, the import restrictions. The Government‘s Control of the economy. The “liberal” Education Act of 1974 and its subsequent “illiberal” amendments. The 1974, and 1987, agreed amendments to the Constitutions.

13. 1987 and onwards. The Protocol to the European Human Rights Convention. The loosening of the economic controls. The Education Act of 1988. The Environment Protection Act. Pluralism in Broadcasting. The Application to join what became the European Union.

Reading List:

- Paolo De Bono: Sommario della Storia della Legislazione in Malta, Tipografia del Malta, 1897, 438 pp.
- Albert Ganado, ‘The Historical Development of the Criminal Code, Part I, in The Law Journal, Volume II, No. 4, pp. 211-231; Part II – Volume II, No. 5, pp. 258-277; Part III – Volume II, No. 6, pp. 355-375.
- Joseph Max Ganado, ‘Oversea Influence of English Law, Malta – I’, in The Solicitors’ Journal, 1 December 1961, Volume 105, pp. 999 – 1001; ‘Malta – II’ 8 December 1961, Volume 105, pp. 1025-1027.
- Hugh W. Harding, ‘Maltese Legal History Under British Rule: 1801-1836’, Valletta, Progress Press, 1980.
- J.J. Cremona, The Maltese Constitution and Constitutional History Since 1813, San Gwann, Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd., 1994.
- J.J. Cremona, ‘Malta And Britain: The Early Constitutions, San Gwann, Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd., 1996.
- Patrick Staines, Essays on Governing Malta (1800-1813), San Gwann, Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd., 2008.
- Joseph M. Pirotta, L-Istorja Kostituzzjonali u l-Isfond Storiku, Volume I (1800-1942) and Volume II (1942-2004), Pieta’, Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza, 2005.
- Henry Frendo, ‘Maltese Political Development 1798-1964: A Documentary History’, Malta, 1993.
- Henry Frendo, ‘The Origins of Maltese Statehood: A Case Study of Decolonization in the Mediterranean, 2000.
- Godfrey A. Pirotta, ‘The Maltese Public Service 1800-1940: The Administrative Politics of a Micro-State, Msida, Mireva publications, 1996.
- Albert Ganado, L-Istorja tal-Legislazzjoni f’Malta in Toni Cortis (ed.), L-Identita’ Kulturali ta’ Malta, Department of Information, Valletta, 1989 (MZX 3).
- Hugh Harding, ‘Law’ in Henry Frendo & Oliver Friggieri (eds.), Culture and Identity Ministry for Youth and the Arts, 1994 (MZX 3).


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Oral Examination Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Michael Camilleri

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.