Judge

Maurice was born in Valletta, son of Paul Caruana and Margherita née Curran. He was educated at the Lyceum and the RUM from where he graduated BA (1939) and LL.D. (1943).

He served as assistant district commissioner during World War II. In 1943 he was offered a Rhodes scholarship at the University of Oxford, but he turned it down to assist his family and his beloved Valletta to recover from the ravages of war.

After some years in private practice, Caruana Curran joined the attorney general’s office as crown counsel in 1949. In 1957 he was appointed deputy attorney general and led the prosecution in several leading criminal trials.

He left an indelible mark as a legal luminary endowed with unrivalled acumen in the role of prosecutor in the juries Regina v Terreni in 1956, and Regina v Camilleri in 1961. During his long career, he has been one of Malta’s most distinguished lawyers specialising in criminal law.

In 1959 he was granted a foreign leader fellowship in the US to study legal and civic interest matters. He also lectured in law at the RUM (1950-1963).

In 1963 Caruana Curran was appointed judge in the superior courts. During his 20-year tenure, he sat in all the divisions of the courts and served as senior judge in the constitutional court and the court of appeal. He also was acting chief justice on several occasions.

He presided over the most notable criminal trials of that period, including the trial of Dr Alexander Cachia Zammit and his brother Lawrence, who were both acquitted. He also delivered a number of landmark judgements in diverse branches of law.

Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici*, then minister of education and environment, referred to Caruana Curran as ‘a bastion of our liberty’. He was chairman of the Malta arbitration tribunal (1963-1971). He retired from the Bench in 1983.

After his retirement, Caruana Curran conducted the inquiry into the ill-treatment of prisoners at Corradino prisons. As commissioner for prisons and treatment of the offenders, he drew up the new prison regulations which were brought into force in 1995. He proposed several other items on legislation relating to the treatment of offenders, including the suspended sentence.

Caruana Curran has been prominently connected with the environment and the historic and national heritage conservation movement in Malta. He was one of the founders of Din l-Art ń¶elwa – his ‘brainchild’, which was set up in 1965 for the safeguarding of the national heritage and was its president from 1965 till 2002. He was also a council member of Europa Nostra.

From 1950 to 1963 he was a lecturer in law at the RUM, served as Chancellor of the UM from 1988 to 1995, and in 1987 he was appointed president of the Medical Council of Malta.

He was appointed officer of the Order of Merit of Malta (MOM) in 1993 in recognition of his services to the country. In 1995 the UM conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) with the title of chancellor emeritus in recognition of his contribution to learning and culture.

In June 2005, the European Union and Europa Nostra awarded Judge Caruana Curran with a top prize for Cultural Heritage in the category of dedicated services to Heritage Conservation, in recognition of his unwavering commitment to the ideals of conservation, his ability to speak fearlessly for heritage and his unflinching spirit of volunteering.

This prize included the sum of €10,000 which eventually contributed to the restoration of the 19th century lighthouse at Delimara.

An all-rounder Caruana Curran was also an active sportsman and athlete and was appointed president of the Malta Football Association and of the Malta Amateur Athletic Association. He was also an actor and played leading roles for the Malta Amateur Dramatic Company and the British Council Players.

In December 2015 the Faculty of Law of the UM granted an award for academic excellence to Judge Caruana Curran.

Caruana Curran has written poetry and several papers on legal and environmental matters.

Maurice Caruana Curran married Catherine nee Gatt on 14 June 1947, (decd. 1976) and they had a son, Paul and two daughters, Simone and Louisa (decd. 1968). He re-married Cettina Psaila in 1982.

This biography is part of the collection created by Michael Schiavone over a 30-year period. Read more about Schiavone and his initiative here.

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