31.03.20 - Dr. Jean-Carl Abela [Associate at FSGM.Partners]
The Government, by order of the Superintendent of Public Health, has introduced three legal notices which enforce the closing of law courts, the suspending of legal and judicial times during the current COVI D-19 pandemic:
The Legal Notices are summarized as followed:
L.N. 65 of 2020 – Closure of the Courts of Justice Order, 2020.
The Courts and the Court’s registry, together with all Tribunals, with effect from the 16th of March, 2020, have been closed until such order is repealed by the Superintendent of Public Health. All cases will be deferred to a later date.
L.N. 61 of 2020 – Epidemics and Infectious Disease (Suspension of Legal and Judicial Times) Order, 2020.
This legal notice suspends the running of all legal and judicial times and of any other time limits with effect from the 16th of March, including peremptory periods applicable to proceedings or other procedures before the Courts, while the Courts and the Court’s registry remain closed. The suspension shall last until seven (7) days when Legal Notice 65 of 2020 (explained above) has been repealed and thus when the Courts and the Court’s registry have reopened.
L.N. 75 of 2020 – Suspension of Legal Times relating to Promise of Sale Agreements, Notarial and other related matters (Epidemics and Infectious Disease) Order, 2020.
This order, with effect from the 16th of March, brings into effect the suspension of the lapse of time on the following:
(i) all legal terms imposed on a notary public by law to register any deed, will, act or private writing or any period within which the notary public, in terms of any applicable law, must pay taxes collected by him in the exercise of his profession;
(ii) any term related to fiscal benefits, incentives or exemptions or any period within which a notary public is to submit any information or documentation to any authority or regulator pursuant to relevant notarial activity; and
(iii) any expiration term in any promise of sale agreement (konvenju) duly registered in terms of law with the Commissioner of Revenue within the period established by law. This suspension mechanism shall also apply to “any term in any promise of sale agreement” which includes bank loans, planning permits and any other conditions which must be actioned in terms of the promise of sale agreement.
The above terms stipulated in this legal notice shall be automatically suspended, without the need of any signatures or formal renewals by the parties, during such time until L.N. 65 of 2020 (Closure of the Courts of Justice Order, 2020) remains in force and the suspension shall last until twenty (20) days following the repeal of L.N. 65 of 2020.
This effectively means that if the term of a promise of sale agreement (konvenju) expires after the 16th of March 2020 and during the days which the Court and its registry remain closed, that term is suspended and will start to run again from the day the order of closure is repealed and for an additional twenty (20) days after such date.
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