COVID-19 – Provision of Sale Agreements to continue to run

Yesterday evening, the Maltese Department of Information published two legal notices, namely L.N. 203 of 2020 and L.N. 207 of 2020. The former has amended the “General Provisions applying to the Suspension of Legal and Judicial Times Regulations, 2020”, which had come into force on the 2nd of April 2020, by way of L.N. 141 of 2020. The latter, i.e. L.N. 207 of 2020, amended L.N. 75 of 2020, entitled the “Suspension of Legal Times relating to Promise of Sale Agreements, Notarial and other related matters (Epidemics and Infectious Disease) Order, 2020”.

L.N. 141 of 2020 had clearly defined the legal and judicial terms which are to be suspended under the Primary Act, i.e. Chapter 609 of the Laws of Malta, entitled; the Legal and Other Time Periods (Suspension and Interruption) Act.

Prior to the introduction of L.N. 203 of 2020, which entered into force today, regulation 3(1)(c) of L.N. 141 of 2020 used to cater for the suspension of the running of any time period imposed or agreed upon in any private writing or public deed, including time periods set and agreed upon for the performance of obligations.

L.N. 203 of 2020 has however added the words “excluding a registered promise of sale agreement” immediately after the words “private writing” under regulation 3(1)(c). L.N. 203 of 2020 has also substituted the words “including a registered promise of sale agreement” with “excluding a registered promise of sale agreement” under regulation 3(4)(e).

L.N. 207 of 2020, on the other hand, amended L.N. 75 of 2020 in a similar manner. The words “and any expiration of any term in any promise of sale agreement duly registered in terms of law with the Commissioner of Revenue within the period established by law shall be suspended whilst the order for closure is in force without the need of any signatures or formal renewals by the parties” – as found in regulation 3(1) of L.N. 75 of 2020, shall be removed.

This implies that both L.N. 203 of 2020 and L.N. 207 of 2020 have the same effect, i.e. that the running of any time period imposed on registered promise of sale agreements shall no longer remain suspended.

Importantly however, both L.N. 203 of 2020 as well as L.N. 207 of 2020 included a new regulation to L.N. 141 of 2020 and L.N. 75 of 2020 respectively, to clarify that the suspension of any term as in force before their entry into force, in so far as it regards the performance of obligations relating to a registered promise of sale agreement and the expiration of a promise of sale duly registered shall remain in force for twenty days after the date of entry into force of L.N. 203 of 2020 and L.N. 207 of 2030, i.e. for twenty days after the 22nd of May 2020.

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Disclaimer: This article is not to be considered as legal advice, and is not to be acted on as such. Should you require further information or legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us on info@abalegal.eu.