According to the Chamber of Advocates, there are three main types of legal professionals in Malta – lawyers, notaries public and legal procurators, each with a specific role.
Lawyers in Malta are regulated by a Code of Ethics which means that the lawyer is bonded with the force of law.
Now, the question is how does one become a Lawyer in Malta?
The procedure of becoming a lawyer in Malta is time-consuming. After the required studies the person who wants to practice as an Advocate in Malta, needs to possess a Warrant which is issued only by the President of Malta under the Public Seal of Malta. The criteria for getting a Warrant according to Section 81 of the Code of Organization and Civil Procedures are:
- the applicant must be of good conduct and morals;
- a citizen of Malta, a citizen of a Member State or is otherwise permitted to work in Malta under any law;
- has obtained the academic degree in Law in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the University of Malta, or a comparable degree from such other competent authority in accordance with the principles of mutual recognition of qualifications, after having studied law in Malta or in a Member State;
- has, after fulfilling the previous step, or, in the case of persons regularly following the academic course of law in the University of Malta, at any time after the commencement of the last academic year of the said course, for a period of not less than one year regularly attended at the office of a practicing advocate of the Bar of Malta and at the sittings of the superior courts;
- possesses full knowledge of the Maltese language as being the language of the courts;
- has been duly examined and approved by two judges who shall issue, under their signature and seal, a certificate attesting that they have found the applicant to possess the qualifications above-mentioned and that the applicant is competent to exercise the profession of advocate in the courts of Malta.
The Warrant Exam
One can apply to sit for the warrant exam twice a year, usually in January or July.
This examination is held in the Maltese language and is divided in two parts: a written exam and an oral exam, both sessions are presently held at the Courts of Justice. The dates of the written exam are published in the Government Gazette. Dates of the Oral Exam will only be issued following the completion of the written exam.
For EU Legal Professionals wishing to practice in Malta
Considering that Malta is very open to expatriates that bring different skill sets and experience, a directive was set in place for non-Maltese Legal Professionals from countries in the European Union, wishing to practice their legal profession in Malta. The first step is to register with the Ministry of Justice, Equality and Governance, which will involve the recognition of academic qualifications of the foreign applicants, as well as verification of adherence to the regulation of warrant/registration to practice as a lawyer in the home country. Registration will entitle them to practice as lawyers in Malta under their home country's professional title. Should such professionals wish full integration into the legal profession of Malta, they would have to apply for a local warrant.