Thirteen months after its establishment the Office for the State Attorney is to be housed in a new building which was inaugurated by the Minister for Justice, Dr Edward Zammit Lewis. This Office, led by lawyer Chris Soler, began its operations in December, 2019 when the Attorney General’s Office was split into two and the role of the Attorney General no longer included being a high Consultant to the Government, this now being the responsibility of the State Attorney. This separation of roles formed part of the fulfillment of the Rule of Law in the country.
The new office is at Casa Scaglia in Valletta, which up to a few months ago housed the Malta Arts Council.
During the inauguration, State Attorney Dr Chris Soler, who was appointed to this role last October, said the fact that this office is now distinct from the Attorney General’s Office, is a reflection of the Constitutional independence of the Office he is now leading. He explained that in his role he is obliged to safeguard the legality of State legal actions and to work in the interests of the general public.
He said the Office works in the civil sector as well as the Constitutional and administrative spheres based on the continental rights of EU Law, the international sector and other sectors, excluding the criminal sector.
Dr Soler told TVM said the Office is currently handling about 1,500 contestations and pending cases, the majority of which are before Maltese Courts, but also in foreign Courts such as the EU Court in Strasbourg.
The Office employs 30 persons, half of whom are lawyers, and increases are planned as the time has come to consolidate greater efficiency and effectiveness in the performance of its duties.
The Minister for Justice, Edward Zammit Lewis, said this Office began operations in December of 2019 when the Attorney General’s Office was split with the Attorney General assuming the role of Public Prosecutor.
The AG will continue gaining more power from the Police Executive in its Prosecution role. The State Attorney is the Government’s lawyer but also that of the citizens and besides the legislation of its powers, dignity has also been given to its employees.
The Minister said that every Law and every Regulation made by Ministries and Agencies will first have to pass before the Legislation Section in the Office before being published.
In just over a year since its establishment, the State Attorney’s Office represented the Government in 648 cases and presented 5,444 Acts in Courts. Dr Chris Soler is the second lawyer to occupy this position after his predecessor, Dr Victoria Buttigieg was appointed as Attorney General.