Latest updates

Brexit's impact on Malta as a choice of maritime flag
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 12 May 2021

Brexit has given rise to a new opportunity for the Malta Ship Registry to consolidate its prominent global maritime flag position and may have a lasting positive impact in this respect. However, the uncertainties caused by Brexit are not the only reason why Malta is a popular flag choice; this article outlines some of the additional benefits.

Eligibility to register under Malta maritime flag
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 28 April 2021

The Malta maritime flag is chosen by corporate entities and individual owners alike for both commercial and pleasure crafts of all types and sizes. Owners have various options when it comes to deciding the ownership structure for a vessel that is to be registered under the Malta flag. However, non-Maltese owners must appoint a resident agent that is habitually resident in Malta for the purposes of acting as a channel of communication between the Maltese authorities and the non-Maltese owner.

Court affirms scope and effect of Section 37 injunctions where security has been placed
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 21 April 2021

A creditor recently obtained a Section 37 order on a provisional basis from the Maltese courts as security for a claim arising from a dispute under a charterparty. The purpose of the order was to prohibit the sale, transfer or deregistration of the vessel while the merits of the case were being determined. While the law allows owners to opt to deposit security, the legislature has catered for these instances to ensure that creditors' rights are not prejudiced.

Ship management companies and Tonnage Tax Rules
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 10 March 2021

The Malta flag is often considered a flag of choice for shipowners, charterers and financiers alike. Among the various aspects which make the Malta flag an attractive option are the Tonnage Tax Rules. Legal Notice 128/2018 has significantly contributed to the further enhancement of the Maltese legal framework, and the response by management companies to this new scheme has been positive.

Court orders extension of effects of flag injunction to security deposited by debtor
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 17 February 2021

A Section 37 injunction allows creditors, in circumstances which give rise to a maritime claim attracting the jurisdiction of the Maltese courts in rem, to obtain a court order which prohibits the vessel from being sold or entering any further mortgages until the merits of the case have been decided in the appropriate jurisdiction. This has proven to be a useful and effective tool for protecting maritime claims.

Compensation at Industrial Tribunal in 2020 and 2021
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 03 February 2021

In recent years, there has been an apparent upwards trend in the Industrial Tribunal granting compensation to successful plaintiffs, thereby significantly increasing the risks for employers, and 2020 was no exception. How the hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic will affect compensation awarded by the tribunal is yet to be seen. However, the tribunal will likely not go easy on employers that are perceived to have dishonestly exploited the pandemic to the detriment of employees.

Recent amendments to employment law
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 27 January 2021

This article highlights recent amendments to employment law, including with regard to increases to the cost of living, amendments to the minimum wage, confirmation of public holidays and vacation leave in 2021 and clarification of the Industrial Tribunal's jurisdiction, particularly with respect to fixed-term contracts.

Revised COVID-19 Wage Supplement Scheme launched
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 20 January 2021

In a recent press conference, the government announced details of a revision of the Wage Supplement Scheme, under which COVID-19 business aid will no longer be calculated on the basis of an entity's Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community classification code, but rather on loss of turnover. This is a key change in approach and will likely affect many businesses.

Maritime Labour Convention amendments incorporated into Maltese law
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 20 January 2021

Malta recently implemented the amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 into domestic law. As one of the largest ship registries in the world, these changes will have a significant impact on the world's shipping workforce. The new amendments can be divided into two parts introduced in the form of standards: one on seafarers' employment agreements and one on wages. A third amendment, which refers to specific entitlements, was introduced in the form of a guideline.

'Reasonable accommodation' of persons with disabilities – employers' perspective
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 09 December 2020

Maltese law sets out various obligations for employers regarding disability within employment. The employment of persons with disabilities is currently regulated by the Persons with Disability Employment Act and the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act, according to which employers are, among other things, prevented from discriminating against persons with disabilities.

Refinancing Malta-flagged cruise liners
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 04 November 2020

COVID-19 lockdown measures have significantly disrupted cruise ship operations and the financing arrangements in place between financiers and cruise liner companies. Anxious to maintain the good standing of cruise liner companies during the suspension of operations, financiers have been quick to offer debt restructuring solutions to borrowers to fill the liquidity void. At the local level, the most common refinancing exercise involving Malta-flagged vessels is the renegotiation of debt holidays.

Impact of ECJ case regarding temporary agency workers on Maltese law
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 04 November 2020

Pursuant to a recent European Court of Justice judgment, recourse to a series of successive temporary agency contracts must be justified, as the assignment of a temporary agency worker is, by its very nature, intended to be temporary. This article summarises the judgment and answers FAQs with regard to its impact on Maltese employment law.

Extension of paid leave for IVF
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 07 October 2020

In 2017, by means of Subsidiary Legislation 452.114, the legislature set out the minimum requirements to grant paid leave to employees who undergo medically assisted procreation processes, also known as 'in vitro fertilisation'. By means of Legal Notice 263/2020, the legislature has amended the national standard order and further extended the limits of this law to include more beneficiaries.

Update on yachting procedures
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 02 September 2020

Malta has always been at the forefront of offering solid, reliable solutions to yacht owners depending on their individual requirements and the intended use of their yacht. The first half of 2020 has seen the introduction of updated rules affecting operating leases and streamlined importation procedures, offering owners the possibility of availing themselves of a number of solutions and procedures catering to their individual requirements.

Termination of pregnant employees during probation period
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 26 August 2020

Under Maltese law, employers and employees can terminate an employment agreement during the probation period without giving a valid reason. This is subject to certain exceptions brought about by lex specialis introduced to Maltese legislation over the years to protect pregnant employees. In a recent decision, the Industrial Tribunal awarded €10,000 in compensation to a pregnant employee who was terminated during her probation period.

Abandonment of employment and maternity leave
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 01 July 2020

The Court of Magistrates recently decided a case wherein an employer claimed that a former employee had abandoned work within six months of returning from statutory maternity leave and, as such, claimed back all of the wage payments that it had made to her during that time pursuant to Maltese law. The defendant rejected the claim, arguing that she had not willingly resigned or abandoned her employment.

Dispute resolution regulations for bunkering operations
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 01 July 2020

Transport Malta's Ports and Yachting Directorate recently issued a port notice to remind recipients about the Dispute Resolution (Procedures) Regulation. The regulation applies to bunkering operations where a dispute has arisen between the bunkering fuel operator and provider and the receiving vessel. The procedure provides for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that aims to be swift, economical, transparent and simple.

Department of Citizenship and Expatriates issues new measures in light of COVID-19
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 15 April 2020

In light of COVID-19, Identity Malta's Department of Citizenship and Expatriates has released a number of measures which seek to assist third-country nationals and EU, EEA and Swiss nationals currently residing in Malta with their respective obligations in terms of the Immigration Act and its subsidiary legislation. In addition to these changes, the Central Visa Unit has implemented more rigid measures in light of the travel restrictions imposed. This article provides an overview of the salient changes.

Work-life balance: breath of fresh air for employees, but could more be done?
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 08 April 2020

One year has now passed since the European Parliament passed the EU Work-Life Balance Directive for parents and carers, but what did it really achieve? In Malta, this directive has been a breath of fresh air for employees, who are now able to better balance their work and family responsibilities. In turn, employers should benefit from more motivated and productive workers. However, the question remains: is the directive's impact on Malta significant or too small?

Special paid leave for mandatory quarantine in Malta in view of COVID-19 pandemic
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 01 April 2020

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the superintendent of public health has published the Minimum Special Leave Entitlements (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These regulations amend the Minimum Special Leave Entitlement Regulations, introducing a new paid quarantine leave for all employees, payable by their employer.

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