Nicolai heads the Commercial & Corporate, ICT & IT, Corporate & Asset Finance and Aviation Law Departments of the Firm. He is particularly active in transactional work, mainly mergers and acquisitions, and in asset and corporate finance transactions acting for financiers and borrowers alike. He also engages in commercial litigation in the courts and tribunals of Malta. Areas of practice include also Aviation (aircraft registration, leasing and finance) and Intellectual Property law.
Maltese, English, Italian and French
University of London – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 1997 – 1998 Masters (LL.M.): Commercial & Corporate Law
University of Malta – Malta 1995 – 1997 Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) Title of doctoral thesis: Ships as a Cause of Marine Pollution – The role of Regulatory Legislation in its Prevention
University of Malta – Malta 1991 – 1995 Diploma - Notary Public
Publications and Conferences
2009 - Aircraft Finance - Registration, Security and Enforcement (Longman) - Co-Author of Chapter on Malta
2009 - The Comparative Legal Guide To Marger Control, 2009 (Global Legal Group UK) – Author of Chapter on Malta
2008 - A Practitioner’s Guide To Takeovers And Mergers In The Emerging EU (City & Financial) – Author of Chapter on Malta
2007 - The Comparative Legal Guide To Marger Control, 2007 (Global Legal Group UK) – Author of Chapter on Malta
2006 - Malta Association Of Credit Management (MACM) – Annual Conference (Speaker on Managing Credit Risk – 9 May, 2006)
2006 - The Comparative Legal Guide To Marger Control (Global Legal Group UK) – Author of Chapter on Malta
2005 - A Practitioner’s Guide To Takeovers And Mergers In The Eu (City & Financial) – Author of Chapter on Malta
2004 - Aircraft Finance - Registration, Security and Enforcement (Longman) – Update of Chapter on Malta as at March, 2004
2003 - A Practitioner’s Guide To Takeovers And Mergers In The Emerging Eu (City & Financial) – Author of Chapter on Malta
2002 - Malta Financial Services Authority Conference On Recent Amendments To Corporate And Commercial Legislation (Speaker on The Law on Intellectual Property, An Update – June 2002)
2001-2002 - Law & Practice (Chamber of Advocates, Malta) – Assistant Editor
2001 - Aircraft Finance - Registration, Security and Enforcement (Longman) – Co-authored Update of Chapter on Malta
IBA - International Bar Association
EALA - European Aviation Law Academy
IFSP – Institute of Financial Services Practitioners - Malta
Chamber of Advocates - Malta
Chamber of Commerce - Malta
Recent amendments to the Civil Code concerning contracts of lease have bolstered the rights of lessors of aircraft such that they are now not materially different to those granted to the holders of security interests in terms of the Cape Town Convention. Aircraft leases are now akin to security interests and grant important rights and remedies to lessors and financiers. The changes better reflect the commercial realities underlying the aircraft lease relationship and should continue to improve Malta's legislative framework in this area.
While the rights of third-party owners of installed engines were recognised prior to amendments introduced in 2016, the protection of those rights was subject to serious procedural limitations which came to light in several related cases. Following the decisions in these cases, the law was amended so that it is now provided that the court seized with the acts of a warrant of arrest of an aircraft will also be competent to hear an application by the owner of an installed engine which does not belong to the aircraft owner.
Over the last few years, the government has sought to promote the development of the aviation sector through the introduction of legal and administrative infrastructure modelled on the common law system and international conventions, including the adoption of the Cape Town Convention, the creation of a dynamic aircraft and mortgage register and the introduction of comprehensive laws on trust.
In response to the recommendations of a legal group commissioned by the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, the Maltese government is proposing to ratify and implement the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Aircraft Protocol thereto. Ratification of the convention will go some way towards making Malta a more attractive jurisdiction for aircraft registration.