The European Commission has initiated infringement proceedings against Malta for failing to comply with the obligations set out in two EU directives concerning the recognition of legal professionals from other Member States.
In a note published on Wednesday, the committee pointed out that Malta was failing to meet its obligations under EU law, the Lawyers Directive (Directive 98/5) and the EU Recognition Directive. professional qualifications (directive 2005/36).
The Lawyers Directive allows lawyers to practice their profession on a permanent basis in a Member State other than the one in which they obtained their qualification, while the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications establishes a general system for the recognition of professional qualifications in the the whole of the EU.
“The commission considers that the Maltese laws on the recognition of professional titles and professional qualifications for lawyers – with the systematic imposition of the Maltese bar examination – are not in line with the two directives”, reads the note, adding that the action also responds to Malta’s lack. automatic recognition of the professional title of lawyer issued in another Member State when the EU lawyer wishes to establish himself as a prosecutor.
Lawyers who obtained their mandate in another Member State can exercise a limited number of functions as legal professionals in Malta. Currently, they are required to pass the Maltese Bar Examination in order to be fully integrated into the system.
Malta now has two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission, failing which the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.