Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera has abstained from continuing the inquiry into the car bomb murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
It follows an application by the Caruana Galizia family who yesterday called on the magistrate to abstain because they have no confidence in her.
Magistrate Scerri Herrera had been the subject of criticism by Caruana Galizia and had later sued the blogger, claiming harassment.
Magistrate Scerri Herrera visited the murder scene yesterday and later summoned the family members to court, before taking her decision this morning.
In her decision this morning she observed that justice had not only to be done, but be seen to be done.
Following the decree, the Chief Justice assigned Magistrate Anthony Vella to conduct the inquiry.
Read the magistrate's 12-page decision on pdf below.
The Nationalist Party in a reaction said it respected the magistrate's decision, but it should have been taken immediately, not 17 hours after.
Malta, it said, should never have been brought to this situation where the institutions, such as the police and the armed forces, had been eroded from within.
Labour: PN Comments irresponsible
The Labour Party said the PN's comments were irresponsible. It said it could refer to the blogger's comments in the past few weeks, but it felt partisan comments were inappropriate.
It reiterated that yesterday's murder was unacceptable in a democratic society and called for justice.