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Constitution of Malta (1964, rev. 2011)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

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3CHAPTER I. The Republic of Malta

41. THE REPUBLIC AND ITS TERRITORIES

51. Malta is a democratic republic founded on work and on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.

62. The territories of Malta consist of those territories comprised in Malta immediately before the appointed day, including the territorial waters thereof, or of such territories and waters as Parliament may from time to time by law determine.

73. Malta is a neutral state actively pursuing peace, security and social progress among all nations by adhering to a policy of non-alignment and refusing to participate in any military alliance. Such a status will, in particular, imply that:

8a.no foreign military base will be permitted on Maltese territory;

9b.no military facilities in Malta will be allowed to be used by any foreign forces except at the request of the Government of Malta, and only in the following cases:

10i.in the exercise of the inherent right of self-defence in the event of any armed violation of the area over which the Republic of Malta has sovereignty, or in pursuance of measures or actions decided by the Security Council of the United Nations; or

11ii.whenever there exists a threat to the sovereignty, independence, neutrality, unity or territorial integrity of the Republic of Malta;

12c.except as aforesaid, no other facilities in Malta will be allowed to be used in such manner or extent as will amount to the presence in Malta of a concentration of foreign forces;

13d.except as aforesaid, no foreign military personnel will be allowed on Maltese territory, other than military personnel performing, or assisting in the performance of, civil works or activities, and other than a reasonable number of military technical personnel assisting in the defence of the Republic of Malta;

14e.the shipyards of the Republic of Malta will be used for civil commercial purposes, but may also be used, within reasonable limits of time and quantity, for the repair of military vessels which have been put in a state of non-combat or for the construction of vessels; and in accordance with the principles of non-alignment the said shipyards will be denied to the military vessels of the two superpowers.

152. RELIGION

161. The religion of Malta is the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion.

172. The authorities of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church have the duty and the right to teach which principles are right and which are wrong.

183. Religious teaching of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith shall be provided in all State schools as part of compulsory education.

193. NATIONAL FLAG

201. The National Flag of Malta consists of two equal vertical stripes, white in the hoist and red in the fly.

212. A representation of the George Cross awarded to Malta by His Majesty King George the Sixth on the 15th April, 1942 is carried, edged with red, in the canton of the white stripe.

224. NATIONAL ANTHEM

23The National Anthem of Malta is "L-Innu Malti" opening with the words "Lil din l-Art helwa l-Omm li tatna isimha".

245. LANGUAGE

251. The National language of Malta is the Maltese language.

262. The Maltese and the English languages and such other language as may be prescribed by Parliament (by a law passed by not less than two-thirds of all the members of the House of Representatives) shall be the official languages of Malta and the Administration may for all official purposes use any of such languages:

27Provided that any person may address the Administration in any of the official languages and the reply of the Administration thereto shall be in such language.

283. The language of the Courts shall be the Maltese language:

29Provided that Parliament may make such provision for the use of the English language in such cases and under such conditions as it may prescribe.

304. The House of Representatives may, in regulating its own procedure, determine the language or languages that shall be used in Parliamentary proceedings and records.

316. CONSTITUTION TO BE SUPREME LAW

32Subject to the provisions of sub-articles (7) and (9) of article 47 and of article 66 of this Constitution, if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail and the other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

33CHAPTER II. Declaration of Principles

347. RIGHT TO WORK

35The State recognises the right of all citizens to work and shall promote such conditions as will make this right effective.

368. PROMOTION OF CULTURE, ETC

37The State shall promote the development of culture and scientific and technical research.

389. SAFEGUARDING OF LANDSCAPE AND HISTORICAL AND ARTISTIC PATRIMONY

39The State shall safeguard the landscape and the historical and artistic patrimony of the Nation.

4010. COMPULSORY AND FREE PRIMARY EDUCATION

41Primary education shall be compulsory and in State schools shall be free of charge.

4211. EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS

431. Capable and deserving students, even if without financial resources, are entitled to attain the highest grades of education.

442. The State shall give effect to this principle by means of scholarships, of contributions to the families of students and other provisions on the basis of competitive examinations. work.

4512. PROTECTION OF WORK

461. The State shall protect work.

472. It shall provide for the professional or vocational training and advancement of workers.

4813. HOURS OF WORK

491. The maximum number of hours of work per day shall be fixed by law.

502. The worker is entitled to a weekly day of rest and to annual holidays with pay; he cannot renounce this right.

5114. EQUAL RIGHTS OF MEN AND WOMEN

52The State shall promote the equal right of men and women to enjoy all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights and for this purpose shall take appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination between the sexes by any person, organisation or enterprise; the State shall in particular aim at ensuring that women workers enjoy equal rights and the same wages for the same work as men.

5315. MINIMUM AGE FOR PAID LABOUR

54The minimum age for paid labour shall be prescribed by law.

5516. SAFEGUARDING LABOUR OF MINORS

56The State shall provide for safeguarding the labour of minors and assure to them the right to equal pay for equal work.

5717. SOCIAL ASSISTANCE AND INSURANCE

581. Every citizen incapable of work and unprovided with the resources necessary for subsistence is entitled to maintenance and social assistance.

592. Workers are entitled to reasonable insurance on a contributory basis for their requirements in case of accident, illness, disability, old-age and involuntary unemployment.

603. Disabled persons and persons incapable of work are entitled to education and vocational training.

6118. ENCOURAGEMENT OF PRIVATE ECONOMIC ENTERPRISE

62The State shall encourage private economic enterprise.

6319. PROTECTION OF ARTISAN TRADES

64The State shall provide for the protection and development of artisan trades.

6520. ENCOURAGEMENT OF CO-OPERATIVES

66The State recognises the social function of co-operatives and shall encourage their development.

6720A. PARTICIPATION OF MALTESE CITIZENS LIVING ABROAD

68The State shall facilitate the participation of Maltese citizens who live abroad in the political, social, economic and cultural life of Malta.

6921. APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLES CONTAINED IN THIS CHAPTER

70The provisions of this Chapter shall not be enforceable in any court, but the principles therein contained are nevertheless fundamental to the governance of the country and it shall be the aim of the State to apply these principles in making laws.

71CHAPTER III. Citizenship

7222. CITIZENSHIP REGULATED BY LAW

731. The acquisition, possession, renunciation and loss of Maltese citizenship shall be regulated by law.

742. Dual or multiple citizenship is permitted in accordance with any law for the time being in force in Malta.

7523. COMMONWEALTH CITIZENS

761. Every person who under this Constitution or any Act of Parliament is a citizen of Malta or under any enactment for the time being in force in any country to which this article applies is a citizen of that country shall, by virtue of that citizenship, have the status of a Commonwealth citizen.

772. Every person who is a British subject without citizenship under the British Nationality Act, 1948 or who continues to be a British subject under article 2 of that Act shall by virtue of that status have the status of a Commonwealth citizen.

783. The countries to which this article applies are those listed in the Fourth Schedule to this Constitution.

794. The President may by Proclamation amend, add to, revoke or substitute the list of countries in the Fourth Schedule to this Constitution.

8024. CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF COMMONWEALTH CITIZENS

811. A Commonwealth citizen who is not a citizen of Malta or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who is not a citizen of Malta shall not be guilty of an offence against any law in force in Malta by reason of anything done or omitted in any part of the Commonwealth other than Malta or in the Republic of Ireland or in any foreign country unless -

82a.the act or omission would be an offence if he were an alien; and

83b.in the case of an act or omission in any part of the Commonwealth or in the Republic of Ireland, it would be an offence if the country in which the act was done or the omission made were a foreign country.

842. In this article -

85"alien" means a person who is not a Commonwealth citizen, a British protected person or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland;

86"British Protected Person" means a person who is a British protected person for the purposes of the British Nationality Act, 1948 or any other law of the United Kingdom replacing that Act;

87"foreign country" means a country (other than the Republic of Ireland) that is not a part of the Commonwealth.

8825. ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP BY BIRTH OR DESCENT BY PERSONS BORN ON OR AFTER APPOINTED DAY

89Repealed by Act III of 2000.

9026. MARRIAGE TO CITIZEN OF MALTA

91Repealed by Act III of 2000.

9227. DUAL CITIZENSHIP

93Repealed by Act III of 2000.

9428 AND 29

95were renumbered by Act III of 2000.

9630. POWERS OF PARLIAMENT

97Repealed by Act III of 2000.

9831. INTERPRETATION

99Repealed by Act III of 2000.

100CHAPTER IV. Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual

10132. FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INDIVIDUAL

102Whereas every person in Malta is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely -

103a.life, liberty, security of the person, the enjoyment of property and the protection of the law;

104b.freedom of conscience, of expression and of peaceful assembly and association; and

105c.respect for his private and family life,

106the subsequent provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to the aforesaid rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

10733. PROTECTION OF RIGHT TO LIFE

1081. No person shall intentionally be deprived of his life save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the law of Malta of which he has been convicted.

1092. Without prejudice to any liability for a contravention of any other law with respect to the use of force in such cases as are hereinafter mentioned, a person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this article if he dies as the result of the use of force to such extent as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case -

110a.for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property;

111b.in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;

112c.for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny; or

113d.in order to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offence,

114or if he dies as the result of a lawful act of war.

11534. PROTECTION FROM ARBITRARY ARREST OR DETENTION

1161. No person shall be deprived of his personal liberty save as may be authorised by law in the following cases, that is to say -

117a.in consequence of his unfitness to plead to a criminal charge;

118b.in execution of the sentence or order of a court, whether in Malta or elsewhere, in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been convicted;

119c.in execution of the order of a court punishing him for contempt of that court or of another court or tribunal or in execution of the order of the House of Representatives punishing him for contempt of itself or of its members or for breach of privilege;

120d.in execution of the order of a court made to secure the fulfilment of any obligation imposed on him by law;

121e.for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or before the House of Representatives in execution of the order of that House;

122f.upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence;

123g.in the case of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years, for the purpose of his education or welfare;

124h.for the purpose of preventing the spread of an infectious or contagious disease;

125i.in the case of a person who is, or is reasonably suspected to be, of unsound mind, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or a vagrant, for the purpose of his care or treatment or the protection of the community; or

126j.for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of that person into Malta, or for the purpose of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of that person from Malta or the taking of proceedings relating thereto or for the purpose of restraining that person while he is being conveyed through Malta in the course of his extradition or removal as a convicted prisoner from one country to another.

1272. Any person who is arrested or detained shall be informed at the time of his arrest or detention, in a language that he understands, of the reasons for his arrest or detention:

128Provided that if an interpreter is necessary and is not readily available or if it is otherwise impracticable to comply with the provisions of this sub-article at the time of the person’s arrest or detention, such provisions shall be complied with as soon as practicable.

1293. Any person who is arrested or detained -

130a.for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court; or

131b.upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence,

132and who is not released, shall be brought not later than forty-eight hours before a court; and if any person arrested or detained in such a case as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of this sub-article is not tried within a reasonable time, then, without prejudice to any further proceedings which may be brought against him, he shall be released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions, including in particular such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings preliminary to trial.

1334. Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained by any other person shall be entitled to compensation therefor from that person.

1345. Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this article to the extent that the law in question authorises the taking during such a period of public emergency as is referred to in paragraph (a) or (c) of sub-article (2) of article 47 of this Constitution of measures that are reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during that period of public emergency.

1356. If any person who is lawfully detained by virtue only of such a law as is referred to in the last foregoing sub-article so requests at any time during the period of that detention not earlier than six months after he last made such a request during that period, his case shall be reviewed by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law and composed of a person or persons each of whom holds or has held judicial office or is qualified to be appointed to such office in Malta.

1367. On any review by a tribunal in pursuance of the last foregoing sub-article of the case of any detained person, the tribunal may make recommendations concerning the necessity or expediency of continuing his detention to the authority by whom it was ordered, but, unless it is otherwise provided by law, that authority shall not be obliged to act in accordance with any such recommendations.

13735. PROTECTION FROM FORCED LABOUR

1381. No person shall be required to perform forced labour.

1392. For the purposes of this article, the expression "forced labour" does not include -

140a.any labour required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court;

141b.labour required of any person while he is lawfully detained by sentence or order of a court that, though not required in consequence of such sentence or order, is reasonably necessary in the interests of hygiene or for the maintenance of the place at which he is detained or, if he is detained for the purpose of his care, treatment, education or welfare, is reasonably required for that purpose;

142c.any labour required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to service as a member of a naval, military or air force, any labour that that person is required by law to perform in place of such service;

143d.any labour required during a period of public emergency or in the event of any other emergency or calamity that threatens the life or well-being of the community.

14436. PROTECTION FROM INHUMAN TREATMENT

1451. No person shall be subjected to inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment.

1462. Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this article to the extent that the law in question authorises the infliction of any description of punishment which was lawful in Malta immediately before the appointed day.

1473. a. No law shall provide for the imposition of collective punishments.

148b. Nothing in this sub-article shall preclude the imposition of collective punishments upon the members of a disciplined force in accordance with the law regulating the discipline of that force.

14937. PROTECTION FROM DEPRIVATION OF PROPERTY WITHOUT COMPENSATION

1501. No property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of, and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired, except where provision is made by a law applicable to that taking of possession or acquisition -

151a.for the payment of adequate compensation;

152b.securing to any person claiming such compensation a right of access to an independent and impartial court or tribunal established by law for the purpose of determining his interest in or right over the property and the amount of any compensation to which he may be entitled, and for the purpose of obtaining payment of that compensation; and

153c.securing to any party to proceedings in that court or tribunal relating to such a claim a right of appeal from its determination to the Court of Appeal in Malta:

154Provided that in special cases Parliament may, if it deems it appropriate so to act in the national interest, by law establish the criteria which are to be followed, including the factors and other circumstances to be taken into account, in the determination of the compensation payable in respect of property compulsorily taken possession of or acquired; and in any such case the compensation shall be determined and shall be payable accordingly.

1552. Nothing in this article shall be construed as affecting the making or operation of any law so far as it provides for the taking of possession or acquisition of property -

156a.in satisfaction of any tax, rate or due;

157b.by way of penalty for, or as a consequence of, breach of the law, whether under civil process or after conviction of a criminal offence;

158c.upon the attempted removal of the property out of or into Malta in contravention of any law;

159d.by way of the taking of a sample for the purposes of any law;

160e.where the property consists of an animal upon its being found trespassing or straying;

161f.as an incident of a lease, tenancy, licence, privilege or hypothec, mortgage, charge, bill of sale, pledge or other contract;

162g.by way of the vesting or administration of property on behalf and for the benefit of the person entitled to the beneficial interest therein, trust property, enemy property or the property of persons adjudged bankrupt or otherwise declared bankrupt or insolvent, persons of unsound mind, deceased persons, or bodies corporate or unincorporate in the course of being wound up or liquidated;

163h.in the execution of judgments or orders of courts;

164i.by reason of its being in a dangerous state or injurious to the health of human beings, animals or plants;

165j.in consequence of any law with respect to the limitation of actions, acquisitive prescription, derelict land, treasure trove, mortmain or the rights of succession competent to the Government of Malta; or

166k.for so long only as may be necessary for the purposes of any examination, investigation, trial or inquiry or, in the case of land, the carrying out thereon -

167i.of work of soil conservation or the conservation of other natural resources of any description or of war damage reconstruction; or

168ii.of agricultural development or improvement which the owner or occupier of the land has been required and has without reasonable and lawful excuse refused or failed to carry out.

1693. Nothing in this article shall be construed as affecting the making or operation of any law so far as it provides for vesting in the Government of Malta the ownership of any underground minerals, water or antiquities.

1704. Nothing in this article shall be construed as affecting the making or operation of any law for the compulsory taking of possession in the public interest of any property, or the compulsory acquisition in the public interest of any interest in or right over property, where that property, interest or right is held by a body corporate which is established for public purposes by any law and in which no monies have been invested other than monies provided by any legislature in Malta.

17138. PROTECTION FOR PRIVACY OF HOME OR OTHER PROPERTY

1721. Except with his own consent or by way of parental discipline, no person shall be subjected to the search of his person or his property or the entry by others on his premises.

1732. Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this article to the extent that the law in question makes provision -

174a.that is reasonably required in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or decency, public health, town and country planning, the development and utilisation of mineral resources, or the development and utilisation of any property in such a manner as to promote the public benefit;

175b.that is reasonably required for the purpose of promoting the rights or freedoms of other persons;

176c.that authorises a department of the Government of Malta, or a local government authority, or a body corporate established by law for a public purpose, to enter on the premises of any person in order to inspect those premises or anything thereon for the purpose of any tax, rate or due or in order to carry out work connected with any property or installation which is lawfully on those premises and which belongs to that Government, that authority, or that body corporate, as the case may be; or

177d.that authorises, for the purpose of enforcing a judgment or order of a court, the search of any person or property by order of a court or entry upon any premises by such order, or that is necessary for the purpose of preventing or detecting criminal offences,

178and except so far as that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done under the authority thereof is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.

17939. PROVISIONS TO SECURE PROTECTION OF LAW

1801. Whenever any person is charged with a criminal offence he shall, unless the charge is withdrawn, be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law.

1812. Any court or other adjudicating authority prescribed by law for the determination of the existence or the extent of civil rights or obligations shall be independent and impartial; and where proceedings for such a determination are instituted by any person before such a court or other adjudicating authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.

1823. Except with the agreement of all the parties thereto, all proceedings of every court and proceedings relating to the determination of the existence or the extent of a person’s civil rights or obligations before any other adjudicating authority, including the announcement of the decision of the court or other authority, shall be held in public.

1834. Nothing in sub-article (3) of this article shall prevent any court or any authority such as is mentioned in that sub-article from excluding from the proceedings persons other than the parties thereto and their legal representatives -

184a.in proceedings before a court of voluntary jurisdiction and other proceedings which, in the practice of the Courts in Malta are, or are of the same nature as those which are, disposed of in chambers;

185b.in proceedings under any law relating to income tax; or

186c.to such extent as the court or other authority –

187i.may consider necessary or expedient in circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice; or

188ii.may be empowered or required by law to do so in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or decency, the welfare of persons under the age of eighteen years or the protection of the private lives of persons concerned in the proceedings.

1895. Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty:

190Provided that nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this sub-article to the extent that the law in question imposes upon any person charged as aforesaid the burden of proving particular facts.

1916. Every person who is charged with a criminal offence -

192a.shall be informed in writing, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature of the offence charged;

193b.shall be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

194c.shall be permitted to defend himself in person or by a legal representative and a person who cannot afford to pay for such legal representation as is reasonably required by the circumstances of his case shall be entitled to have such representation at the public expense;

195d.shall be afforded facilities to examine in person or by his legal representative the witnesses called by the prosecution before any court and to obtain the attendance of witnesses subject to the payment of their reasonable expenses, and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court on the same conditions as those applying to witnesses called by the prosecution; and

196e.shall be permitted to have without payment the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the trial of the charge,

197and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his absence unless he so conducts himself as to render the continuance of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court has ordered him to be removed and the trial to proceed in his absence.

1987. When a person is tried for any criminal offence, the accused person or any person authorised by him in that behalf shall, if he so requires and subject to payment of such reasonable fee as may be prescribed by law, be given within a reasonable time after judgment a copy for the use of the accused person of any record of the proceedings made by or on behalf of the court.

1998. No person shall be held to be guilty of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence which is severer in degree or description than the maximum penalty which might have been imposed for that offence at the time when it was committed.

2009. No person who shows that he has been tried by any competent court for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence or for any other criminal offence of which he could have been convicted at the trial for that offence save upon the order of a superior court made in the course of appeal or review proceedings relating to the conviction or acquittal; and no person shall be tried for a criminal offence if he shows that he has been pardoned for that offence:

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