By Dr Carlos Bugeja – Partner
On 12 June 2020, Parliament passed a law that had been brewing for a long time, ACT XXIX of 2020, which is a law intended at amending the Civil Code, Cap. 16 and the Criminal Code, Cap. 9, in order to make provision for immunity from liability in cases of rescue or attempted rescue. This is a law present in other jurisdictions, and is usually known as the Good Samaritan Law.
As expected, this law is inspired from the biblical parable known to all. Good Samaritan laws have their basis on the idea that consensus agreement favors limited liability for those who voluntarily perform care and rescue in emergency situations.
This new law introduced article 226C to the Criminal Code, Cap 9 of the Laws of Malta, which states:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of articles 225, 226 and 226A, a person will notbe criminally liable if, confronted with a present or imminent danger to another person,he performs an act necessary to ensure the safety of that person, whether or not the act actually ensures the safety of the person: Provided that this article shall not apply where the means used are disproportionate to the seriousness of the threat or where the act is performed with malice or gross negligence.”
This law is somewhat replicated in the Civil Code, through the introduction of article 1033A, which provides that any person who causes damages in the performance of a rescue or in the course of assisting another person whose life or personal safety is in clear danger,shall not be liable for any damage caused in the course of the rescue or of giving assistance tothe person who he rescued or assisted or tried to rescue or assist, to that person’s property or to third parties or third party property, unless the acts are performed with malice or gross negligence.
This law is now in force.
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