University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Military Law

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unit will primarily analyse The Malta Armed Forces Act, Chapter 220 of the Laws of Malta over a period of seven lectures of a two hour duration. The unit will tackle various aspects of the Act. The history of the act, its drafting, its development, local case law, amendments and the future of the Act will also be discussed.

The study-unit will examine the structure and set up of the Armed Forces. In doing so the study unit will look into the power to raise, maintain and regulate armed forces, appointment to corps and transfer from one corps to another, terms, conditions and extension of service.

A key aspect of the unit will tackle what are considered to be offences against the Act, method of investigation and penalties. The Council for the voluntary sector and the voluntary organisation fund will also be discussed.

Finally a review of the powers of the Act, exemptions provided for voluntary organisations and guidlines will be tackled.

Another aspect of the unit will be examine the territorial force and competence within which the Armed Forces work, the use of its for and reserve forces.

The key feature of the unit will examine and study military offences: treachery, cowardice and offences arising out of military service, mutiny and insubordination, desertion, absence without leave, malingering and drunkenness, offences relating to property, offences relating to, and by, persons in custody, offences in relation to courts-martial, miscellaneous offences and civil offences.

After examining the key offices, another aspect tackled will be their trial and punishment, method of investigation of, and summary dealing with, charges and the courts-martial and its procedure.

The unit will study the methodolgy of the proceedings of courts martial, their appeals from courts-martial, a review of summary findings and awards, findings of insanity and the functions of Attorney General in relation to courts-martial, execution of sentences of death, imprisonment and detention.

Study-unit Aims

The aim of the study-unit is to present a clear definition and understanding of military law according to the law and the present Act. Students will be taught to recognise and interpret the aims and ends of the Act and how this intertwines with the daily running of all the Armed Forces of Malta and the practice of military law.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Write a detailed assignment on a certain aspect of the armed forces and military law in Malta;
Analyse, evaluation study and interpret the Act of law in question;
Implement and give advice on aspect of military law from a legal perspective.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Familiarise themselves with the sector of the armed forces from a military law perspective, their management, legal parameters and code of conduct;
Appraise, evaluate and research in the field.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Thesis: Paul E. Micallef, Criminal Courts and Court Martials: a comparative study relating to jurisdiction and procedure; University of Malta; Faculty of Laws; LL.D Thesis; 1983
British Army Act, 1955
Malta Armed Forces Act, Chapter 220 Laws of Malta
Law books


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%


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 study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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