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Amendments to the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure in Relation to the Rules Regulating Appeals

These amendments were enacted through Act XXXII of 2021 which came into force on 18th June, 2021. Appeals filed before the coming into force of these amendments, as well as cases adjourned sine die, shall be regulated by the law which was in force prior to these amendments.

Increased Time Limits

The time limit to file an appeal has been increased from 20 days from the date of the judgment to 30 days from the date of the judgment. The time limit for the parties against whom an appeal has been filed to file their reply has been increased from 20 days to 30 days. In the case of a cross-appeal, the time limit for the party against whom the cross appeal has been directed to file their reply, has also been increased from 20 days to 30 days.

Production of New Documents only following Court Authorisation

The production of new documents together with the application, reply or rejoinder now require the authorisation of the court for such documents to be produced in court.

Power of Court to Order Additional Pleadings

The amendments have added the power of the court, by means of a decree, to demand that parties answer any questions it might have, or to clarify issues that are deemed necessary for the court.

Default in Filing of Written Pleadings

Prior to the amendments this provision simply allowed the party in default to appear at the hearing of the cause and to produce their evidence. The amendment now expressly points out that the party may bring an application to be given the right to submit written submissions in addition to evidence thereof.

Procedure for Trials in Appellate Court

This part of the COCP, which is Section 207, has been revamped. All proceedings shall be conducted in writing, unless the court sets a sitting for hearing oral submissions or evidence from the parties. A further exception to the written proceedings general rule is that where no oral hearing took place at first instance, there shall be an oral hearing appointed before the Court of Appeal. The appellant is granted 30 days to file a rejoinder to address those points which were raised for the first time in the reply to the appeal application.

Peremptory Time for Causes to be Deemed Deserted

Causes adjourned sine die or otherwise suspended shall be deemed to be deserted unless it is re-appointed for hearing by the court within the peremptory time of 3 months (previously this was 6 months), or unless an application for its re-appointment has been filed in court within a period of 3 months (previously this was 6 months).

For more information you can contact one of our Team Members at Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates.