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Learn Your World - Malta

To support your global practice, ACC Docket offers country-specific fun facts from your peers who've been there — literally.

Economy

GDP (PPP) US$20.861 billion (2018 estimate)


Population

475,700 (2018 estimate)


Corruption

According to Transparency International’s “Corruption Perceptions Index 2017,” Malta is the 46th “cleaniest” (i.e., least corrupt) of the 180 countries surveyed.


Additional resources

The Official Tourism Site for Malta, Gozo, and Comino www.visitmalta.com

The Sword and Scimitar by historian Raymond Ibrahim, a book about the sweeping history of the conflict between Islam and the West

M alta, an archipelago of islands nestled between Africa and Europe, is a predominately Catholic society (it is said that St. Paul was shipwrecked here). Until about 20 years ago, everyone would attend mass, which is held every day of the year. But its society is gradually changing. Today, Malta is one of only five countries in the world where LGBT rights are equal at a constitutional level, including in the workplace.

As part of the European Union, Malta is now a thriving multicultural community of locals, expats, and immigrants. English is spoken by all residents and is the official language, along with Maltese, the language of the courts. Italian is also widely spoken, reflecting the close cultural affinity for Italy, which includes television programmes and celebrities, culture, food, and way of life. Maltese overwhelmingly support Italy in the World Cup and other major league Italian football teams, with the rest supporting England.

The local economy is built on tourism, electronics, shipbuilding and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco, aviation services, financial services, and information technology services. Legal services are very much in demand.

Meetings take place with a person normally apologising for being slightly late (and blaming the infrastructure and the very dense traffic on the islands), but punctuality is appreciated. Workwear has become increasingly less formal, especially in the areas of technology, gaming, and other non-traditional services where often jeans, a shirt, and a light jacket will serve the purpose. External counsel working in advisory positions tend to dress a little more formally in a full suit (minus the tie, unless they are older or the occasion requires it).

Valletta, the capital city and locale of the law courts, is where lawyers tend to hang out, get to know the parking attendants, restaurateurs, bar managers, and cafes, and create their home away from home in between working long hours on various cases and issues in their offices.

Meetings commence with a light-hearted handshake and joke or two (given the size of the island, most people know each other directly or at least through mutual contacts) before getting down to business. It is important to get one’s point across without being overly aggressive since the island is so small and people come across each other in many different contexts over and over. Wine is not normally consumed unless in a social context.

Process before the courts in Malta is lengthy and procedurally based and remains something of a problem in terms of delivery of judgments within reasonable time frames. The legal profession is a very widely respected one, and lawyers work hard to continually strive and improve the level of service commensurate with an economy that exports its services.

About the Author

Simona Camilleri is chief of legal and regulatory affairs at Cubits Group and Booming Games.