In his note in "Justice on the cart" (The Sunday Times, October 8) Dr Joe Brincat said it baffled him why the forensic year should start in October which does not follow either the Julian or the Gregorian Calendar.

The ceremony which takes place - with the celebration of a Mass in St John's Co-Cathedral followed by speeches by the president of the Camera degli Avvocati and the Chief Justice - was introduced for the first time by my predecessor, Chief Justice Professor Hugh Harding, in October 1988.

It was a laudable initiative for it serves for the Bar and the Bench to exchange publicly their views on what had occurred in the past year and what experience indicated should move in the coming year.

It is however true, that this should take place in October rather than in January, is anomalous.

In my first year as Chief Justice in 1991, I approached the president of the Camera degli Avvocati and sought his agreement to change the opening of the forensic year for the first sitting of the Court on January 7, 1992.

I pointed out that this would be in line with what our law indicates in Chapter 12, Article 120: "The Forensic Year is divided into three sessions: (a) the first is called the session of Epiphany and commences on January 7; (b) the second is called the session of Pentecost and commences on the Thursday after Easter Sunday; (c) the third is called the Victory session and commences on October 1", as well as the common sense of the Gregorian Calendar.

I got a negative reaction, but I have never let go. Only last October 2, coming out of St John's Co-Cathedral after the inaugural Mass, I once again requested Dr Robert Mangion and Dr Franco Depasquale, president and secretary of the Camera, to bring the ceremony for next year in line with the calendar, the law and our European counterparts. The latter, by the way, are as baffled as Dr Brincat when they learn of our practice.

Let's hope. Quod est in votis.

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