by Dr Carlos Bugeja – Partner
UPDATE: 10 April 2020, Legal Notice 141 of 2020 – Read here for the latest update.
A few minutes ago, the Department of Information has published Legal Notice 75 of 2020, entitled ‘Suspension of Legal Times relating to Promise of Sale Agreements, Notarial and other related matters (Epidemics and Infectious Disease) Order, 2020’, which aims to settle the questions raised by the previous Legal Notices, particularly LN 43 of 2020 and LN 64 of 2020.
This is one of forty-one Legal Notices published by the Government in six days, in the effort to fight the effects of the COVID-19.
These regulations are contingent on the existence of an order for the closure of the courts (defined as: “any court and includes the superior courts and the inferior courts including appellate courts irrespective of their competence or jurisdiction, and also includes any tribunal established by law, and any boards, commissions, committees or other entities before which any proceedings are heard or procedures undertaken which are subject to legal or administrative time limits for filing any claims, defences or other acts”).
This order was already given on 13 March 2020 in Legal Notice 65 of 2020. It stated that courts are to close from 16 March 2020.
Therefore, as of last Monday, the courts have been officially closed, triggering the application of these rules.
It has been now clarified that the (i) the running of all the legal terms imposed on a notary public by law to register any deed, will, act or private writing or any period within which the notary public, in terms of any applicable law, has to pay taxes collected by him in the exercise of his profession or any term related to fiscal benefits, incentives or exemptions or any period within which a notary public is to submit any information or documentation to any authority or regulator pursuant to relevant notarial activity; (ii) and any expiration of any term in any promise of sale agreement (konvenju) 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 of the courts is in force without the need of any signatures or formal renewals by the parties.
The suspension shall last until twenty days following the repeal of any such order by the Superintendent of Public Health.
This means that during this period and for twenty days after the reopening of the courts, the term agreed to in the promise of sale shall not continue to run. After these twenty days elapse, it shall continue to run as normal.
The previous rules have been repealed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.