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In Motor vehicle collisions, where the claim arises under the Motor Vehicle Insurance (Third Party Risk) Ordinance, the judicial letter shall also be notified to the authorised insurance.

When a motor vehicle claim arises under the Motor Vehicle Insurance (Third Party Risk) Ordinance, the judicial letter must also be notified to the authorized insurance. This was stipulated by the Court of Magistrates on the 30th May 2022 in the judgement Mike Service Station Limited vs Sam Charles Aquilina.

The Court was presided over by Magistrate Victor G. Axiak.

The defendant provides towing services to cars with his recovery truck as his occupation. On the 27th November 2019, he received a phone call from an employee of Mike Service Station Limited asking him to provide a towing service because there was a truck broken down obstructing the road. Upon arrival, Mr Aquilina discovered that this broken-down truck could not move backwards. He asked the employee whether it had any brakes and the employee replied in the affirmative. The employee advised him to tow it with a rope around the block, while he would sit in inside it and grip the steering. While the defendant was towing the truck, it crashed into the back of his tow truck. As a result, the broken-down truck suffered a number of damages, but the defendant’s tow truck did not suffer any damage.

Following this accident, the defendant was faced with a bill of expenses, half of which the plaintiff company wanted him to pay. However, the defendant claimed that he was not to be held responsible for the accident because the plaintiff’s company employee had failed to make use of the brakes in the truck. He advised the plaintiff company that he would be seeking advice from a lawyer but the company did not hear from him again.

Therefore, the plaintiff company decided to file a judicial letter under Article 166A of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure (COCP) against the defendant to recover their expenses. The Judicial Letter was delivered to the defendant, and he was notified, but he failed to contest it, claiming that he could not speak in Maltese. Moreover, the defendant pleaded that the plaintiff company failed to send the judicial letter to the his insurance company which is a requirement in Article 166A(3)(e) of the COCP.

According to Article 166A(3)(e) of the COCP, where the claim arises under the Motor Insurance (Third Party Risk) Ordinance, the judicial letter shall under pain of nullity be also notified to the authorized motor insurance which shall have the same rights as though it was the debtor. The intention of the legislator when drafting this article was to provide double protection to the debtor. If the judicial letter is not served upon the debtor’s authorized motor insurance company, the creditor may request the revocation of the judicial letter, even if the judicial letter was served upon him.

Additionally, the legislator’s intention was to protect the motor insurance company’s interests by placing them in the same shoes as the debtor, granting them the same rights. In fact, any motor insurance company that is faced with a claim based on an executive title launched against its client according to Article 166A, has the right to request for the revocation of the judicial letter, if it is not notified.

With this reasoning, the Court of Magistrates accepted the defendant’s plea and declared the judicial letter to be null and without effect.

The plaintiff company have appealed this decision and the judgement is currently at Appeal stage.

Av. Ian Barbara


Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates

This article may also be accessed on Malta Today.

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