Dr Paul Gonzi

Paul Gonzi

Lawyer biography

Paul Gonzi is a partner at Fenech & Fenech Advocates specialising in Employment Law, Data Protection and TMT Law.
 
After graduating with a Bachelor of Laws, Diploma of Notary Public and Doctor of Laws at the University of Malta in 2006 he earned his Master of Laws (LLM) in the subject grouping ‘Computer and Communications Law’ at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.
 
He has over a decade of hands-on experience advising clients on litigious and non-litigious matters. Paul is also a litigant in various fora, including before the Courts, the Industrial Tribunal, in Arbitration and also before the Appeal Tribunals in matters of employment law, industrial relations, public procurement and telecoms. 
 
Paul is also a contributor in various publications and also contributes towards several conferences and training sessions in his areas of specialisation.
 
In the employment field, Paul has extensive experience advising clients on contractual issues, drafting of policies and procedures, employment conditions, collective bargaining and negotiations with unions and advising on industrial disputes; transfer of business; collective redundancies; transfer of personal data; disputes on recognition of unions; handling disciplinary hearings and grievance procedures; disputes relating to dismissals and termination; handling administrative complaints with the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations (‘DIER’); challenging disputes before the Industrial Tribunal, Civil Court and Appeal Court.
 
Paul also specialises in the field of engagement of crew and seafarers on commercial and non-commercial vessels registered under the Malta Flag with a focus on the 2013 Rules which transpose the provisions of the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) into the Laws of Malta; including on issues of drafting of Seafarer Employment Contracts (SEAs); conditions of work; ship-owner liability for injury and sickness and personal injury;
 
Recent and current cases in which he was involved include acting for Malta’s public transport service provider against the General Workers Union in which the Courts provisionally upheld a precautionary warrant of injunction filed in September 2015 to stop a strike beyond the minimum service requirements established at law; acting for Malta Freeport Limited in an industrial dispute on the recognition of unions before the Industrial Tribunal; in representing a major employer in conciliation meetings mediated by the Director of Labour on the interpretation of the EU Organisation of Working Time Directive and the local regulations transposing same in the context of mobile workers; assisting senior level employees with redundancy proceedings and successfully impeding the termination of an employment based on redundancy by means of a warrant of prohibitory injunction upheld by the Civil Court; acting for an international super yacht owner in the context of an unfair dismissal claim filed by a sea captain before the Industrial Tribunal and a complaint filed by a seafarer with the Transport Malta Shipping Directorate;
 
In the field of Data Protection Law, Paul advises data protection and privacy policies and procedures; on notification of data controllers and data processing, engaging of data processors and sub-contractors, local and international data transfers; EU Commission Standard Contractual Clauses (‘SCCs’) and Binding Corporate Rules (‘BCRs’) and handling complaints with Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (‘IDPC’); Recent and current cases include acting for TUI Cruises in a complaint filed before the Information and Data Protection Commissioner; advising an international money transfer organisation to set up and obtain IDPC approval of a regulated international transfer of  personal data; Paul is an expert in GDPR and manages various Legal Audits for clients geared towards legal compliance.
 
In matters of ICT Paul has experience in contract drafting and advising on software development contracts; software licence agreements; IT and hardware development contracts; outsourcing agreements; website terms and conditions; website privacy policies, end-user agreements; protection of intellectual property and confidential data; litigating and instituting measures to protect data from unlawful disclosures; 
 
In matters of Telecoms Law Paul has experience in advising a major telecoms operator on matters relating to telecoms law including on regulation of telecoms markets, consumer legislation and the review of end-user terms, competition law; data protection and other related matters such as the powers and competences of the local industry regulator; Recent and current cases in which he was involved include acting for Vodafone Malta Limited to defend a complaint alleging the application of unfair terms and commercial practices in terms of consumer legislation; 
 
Paul also forms part of the International Practice at Fenech & Fenech Advocates and is often involved in transactional work and legal due diligence exercises, advising clients on the applicable legal framework and the rights, obligations and risks arising out of proposed commercial transactions or restructuring; He also advises in commercial disputes handled by the International Practice, such as on matters of public procurement (before the relevant Appeals Board or Court of Appeal) and on general commercial matters;
 

Updates

Employment & Benefits

No warnings, no damages, no due process: one-off mistake validates employee's dismissal
Malta | 17 April 2019

The Court of Appeal recently upheld an Industrial Tribunal decision and confirmed that a company operating in the iGaming industry had been entitled to dismiss an employee who had, on one occasion, forgotten to upload games to the company's platform. Nonetheless, this is a contentious judgment which, at face value, seems to diminish the burden that an employer must prove continuous or repetitive misconduct or underperformance substantiated by valid warnings.

Temporary Agency Workers Regulations: changes on the horizon?
Malta | 19 September 2018

If enacted, a recently published legal notice will introduce amendments to the Temporary Agency Workers Regulations, including expanding the concept of assigned temporary workers, redefining 'pay' and removing the equal pay rule exception. This article summarises the proposed amendments to the regulations and raises some pertinent questions.

New (now suspended) legal notices
Malta | 19 September 2018

Four new legal notices affecting employment laws were recently published in the Government Gazette. Whether the notices must be considered as law and enforceable before the Maltese tribunals and courts is now the subject of debate. However, it is clear that the government intends to introduce some piecemeal changes that will affect employers significantly, including new rules on payslips that all employers – irrespective of size – must issue and new limitations on holiday leave arrangements.

Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media

Beyond GDPR – new data protection act and subsidiary laws
Malta | 31 July 2018

The long-awaited General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) finally entered into force on 25 May 2018. The GDPR allows member states some flexibility to regulate certain areas of the law within specific parameters. Accordingly, Malta recently enacted a new Data Protection Act, together with a set of subsidiary laws which regulate sector-specific data protection issues. All organisations must be aware of this comprehensive regulatory regime and not simply rely on the GDPR.