Updated 11.09am with PN statement

Kevan Azzopardi, Gianella Camilleri Busuttil, Abigail Critien and Joseph Gatt are to be sworn in as magistrates after they were selected for the post from among 26 applicants who expressed interest in a call.

In a statement, the President said the public call for expressions of interest was made on December 20.

The committee then evaluated the 26 candidates who applied on the basis of the constitution and its own guidelines before making its recommendations to the President. The recommendations were unanimous.

Azzopardi is an expert in Commercial law who worked at the Malta Business Registry as its official receiver – the person who leads the process of winding down companies following court orders. He also teaches at the University of Malta as a visiting lecturer. 

Camilleri Busuttil is a former senior prosecutor at the office of the Attorney General. 

Critien served as a partner at Mifsud Bonnici Advocates, a legal firm established by Aron Mifsud Bonnici and Joanne Vella Cuschieri, who is now a judge. She headed the firm’s litigation department and specialises in family law. 

Gatt served as a lawyer at José Herrera Advocates, the legal firm founded by the former Labour minister until last year, when he moved to Caruana Camilleri Xuereb Advocates. He specialises in constitutional law and has also served as a guest lecturer at the University of Malta.

Other shortlisted candidates

The judicial appointments committee agreed that the chosen four were the most suited, but also listed other candidates who it considered suitable for the appointment.

They were Illona Debono, Marouska Debono, Jean Paul Grech, Maria Karlsson, Elizabeth Quintano, Ann Marie Thake, Nadia Helena Vella and Claudio Zammit.

The new appointments mean the judiciary will now be composed of 27 judges and 25 magistrates.  

PN congratulates nominees, calls for more court resources

In a statement, the Nationalist Party congratulated the four candidates who will be sworn in as magistrates and said the larger judiciary would help improve the country's judicial system. 

It however noted that the court system needed further resources, most notably in terms of support staff, if court delays are to be effectively tackled. 

Apart from increasing its staff contingent, the Court Services Agency also needed to offer higher salaries to attract higher-quality employment candidates, it said. 

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