Local Enforcement refers to Central Government’s delegation to Local Councils to enforce selected minor offences (referred to as contraventions).
Local Enforcement is aimed at providing safeguards to local citizens with respect to law abidance and order, as well as to have better educated citizens.
The main objective of Local Enforcement is twofold: to have more compliance and ultimately to have better citizens in localities. The end result should be one where the law-abiding citizen is shielded from those who break the law through the introduction of disciplinary measures. Local Enforcement is exercised through co-operation among neighbouring Local Councils in order to ensure full compliance with the law. This objective has been realised to date through a system of Joint Committees, whereby each Joint Committee exercises jurisdiction over a particular geographical area.
Local Enforcement is not limited solely to on-street parking and traffic legislation, but also to enforcement and inspection in relation to other areas such as:
- Inspection and reporting on trading licences
- Littering Offences
- Checking and Reporting on Infringements in Building and Spatial Planning Regulations on behalf of the Malta Environment Planning Authority
- Building Permits Enforcement and Status Reporting
- Other Traffic related functions (off-street parking, parking permits etc.)
Local Enforcement is exercised by:
- The Department for Local Government
- 68 Local Councils
Local Councils were established by the Local Councils Act, 1993 (Act XV of 1993). The setting up of Local Councils entails a system of local government whereby the territory of Malta is divided into a number of localities, each locality being administered by the Local Council itself.
The members of the Local Council are elected by the residents of the locality for a three year period. The administrative side is managed by the Executive Secretary, who is assisted by a number of front-office clerks and such other employees as the Local Council may consider necessary for the efficient discharge of its functions.
- 9 Joint Committees
- Authorised Officers
- Commissioners for Justice, Petitions Board and 9 Local Tribunal – The Local Tribunal is a judiciary body that is empowered to hear and decide on alleged breaches or contraventions that have been delegated at law; it can be seen as an extension of the Courts of Law set up specifically to pass judgment on offences, which though of a trivial nature, can be of great nuisance to the general public. The Local Tribunal is presided by a Commissioner for Justice who holds the sittings to consider any charge brought before him in terms of the Commissioners for Justice Act.
3 Service Providers – 54 Warden Agencies, IT Service Providers, Transport Malta
What about contraventions?
Contraventions are aimed at ensuring more effective law enforcement. These delegated contraventions range over a wide spectrum and guarantee that life is made easier for the law-abiding citizen.
These contraventions emanate from primary legislation, subsidiary legislation and also bye-laws. The contraventions in question can be classified as the following:
Contraventions related to motor vehicles and safety on the roads
This group refers to delegated traffic offences in respect of all motor vehicles which are on the road. Offences relate to road licences and insurances, carriageway markings and traffic signs, adequate horns and lights, and dangerous driving. They also include parking and obstruction offences. Within this group one can also include trenching regulations.
Contraventions aimed towards ensuring sanitation, hygiene and cleanliness
This group refers to litter offences and other offences related to animal faeces.
Contraventions related to the Environment
This group refers to contraventions related to Site Development.
Contraventions related to Commercial Activities and respective licences
This group refers to contraventions in respect of activities requiring permits from Local Councils such as short-term permits to use bulk machinery, to operate kiosks or stalls and to hold tombolas and other similar games or activities.
Tickets issued by local wardens and traffic police may be paid on the same day that they are issued because these are captured electronically and data is transmitted in ‘real-time’. However, since district police tickets and tickets originating from Transport Malta enforcement officers are still issued manually they require a longer period to be processed. In the worst case scenario, these tickets may take up to forty-five days to be entered into the system and then become available for payment.
The 7-day payment period on the back of the police ticket and on the local warden tickets refers to the initiation of tribunal proceedings and therefore you will not incur any further fines or penalties even though this 7-day period has elapsed as long as you pay the ticket before the tribunal date.
A warden ticket sample, a police ticket sample and summon sample can be obtained from the website of the Local Enforcement System. It is possible to consult the contravention online, and pay the contravention online as well.
How can someone appeal?
If you feel that a ticket Notice of Contravention was erroneously or unfairly issued, you have two possibilities:
- First, you have the right to forward a petition, through a letter giving full details of the case and why in your opinion such notice of contravention was unfairly given, to the Board of Petitions.
- Then, the Local Tribunal was set up to ensure that the fundamental right to a fair hearing is given to every person who has been booked for a contravention. For this reason the Local Tribunal has been entrusted with a specialized competence – it adjudicates only in respect of delegated contraventions. Furthermore appointment of cases takes place within a relatively short period from when the notice of contravention is issued, and there are no lengthy proceedings involved since the cases are dealt with summarily.
At present there are nine Local Tribunals (one for each Joint Committee). Therefore all the cases in respect of contraventions which have been committed within the boundaries of a particular Joint Committee will be brought before the Local Tribunal of that group of localities.
This guarantees that every citizen is given the chance to contest specific allegations in respect of which he feels aggrieved whilst ensuring that all the fundamental principles of a fair hearing are respected.