Status of Digitalisation of ESCP Enforcemnt Procedures

In accordance with the Small Claims Tribunal (Filing of Acts By Electronic Means) Rules, Subsidiary Legislation 380.04, there exists an electronic mechanism provided by the Tribunal where all the acts relating to a case may be filed online by means of the requisite forms provided.[1]

ESCP Procedural Aspects

1. Competent Enforcement Authority

The authorities competent for enforcement of decisions are the Court of Magistrates (Malta) or the Court of Magistrates (Gozo) depending on the place of residence of the person against whom a decision is being enforced.[2]

2. Rules on Service

The accepted means of communication are the following: in person at the Tribunal Registry, by post, by an electronic mechanism provided by the Tribunal, fax and by email.[3] Nevertheless, official service of documents may only be done either in person or by post.

3. Language of the Certificate and Documents to be Appended

The language accepted is Maltese.[4] Provided that, in accordance with the Judicial Proceedings (Use of English Language) Act, Chapter 189, there may be instances where such documents may be in the English language.[5]

4. Enforcement Fees

The Rules applying to enforcement of Precautionary and Executive Acts as set out in Tarrif D of the Code of Organization of Civil Procedure apply.[6] As a result, to file any warrant, the Registry fee is of €50, a fee of €7 is due to every executive officer required. There are also the Lawyer and Legal Procurator fees which amount to €11.65 and €3,88 respectively, and these are catered for in Article 43 (e) of Tarrif E of the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure.

5. Refusal, Stay, or Limitation of Enforcement Procedures

Requests for review in accordance with Article 18 of the ESCP Regulation are submitted to the Small Claims Tribunal of Malta or Gozo[7].

Critical Assessment

There are no significant problems which relate solely to ESCP judgments enforcement. The problems are those which also relate to problems with enforcement of all other judgments. The process is still not digitalised and necessitates physical presence in the Court Registry. Steps are underway to fully digitalise the whole process. This would affect positively the ECSP procedures too. Works are progressing in the direction of digitalization, but they have not been completed yet.