New Title: Maltese Administrative Law

The Times of Malta

Maltese Administrative Law, by Tonio Borg, published by Kite Group, 2021 

Public law academics tend to devote most of their energy, research and output to delving deeply into constitutional law, thereby side-lining the very fast-growing subject of administrative law. Ivan Mifsud and Tonio Borg are two Maltese publicists who have proved to be the exception to the rule and have also stressed the importance of administrative law to the governance of the state and society.

Mifsud, dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta, has published two monographs in the realm of administrative law – one on judicial review of administrative action, the other on ombudsman legislation.

Borg has, so far (not counting his three other books on constitutional law), published three monographs on Maltese administrative law: one on leading court cases in Maltese administrative law, another on judicial review of administrative action and, lately, a monograph on Maltese administrative law.

The latest Borg monograph fills an enormous crevice in Maltese administrative law that has been crying for attention since British colonial times.

Although there have been a handful of books on Maltese administrative law, these tended to be extremely limited in scope. They analysed one branch or a few branches of Maltese administrative law but never attempted to study administrative law in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

Thank God that this gap in legal literature has been filled to the benefit of law, government and public policy students, the judiciary, the legal profession, public administrators, non-governmental organisations that deal with the public sector and others who share a keen interest in the development of public administrative law in Malta.

As to the book’s contents, the monograph is spread over 24 chapters that deal with a plethora of subjects such as the structure of the Maltese public administration, the powers of government, the administrative review tribunal, governmental liability, privileges and immunities enjoyed by the government, inquiries and tribunals, the police, the Armed Forces of Malta, the Attorney General, the State Advocate, local government, the ombudsman, the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life and, last but not the least, judicial review of administrative action.

This is, therefore, an exceptional book in so far as it (a) is a pioneering effort at bringing together in one monograph practically all pertinent branches of Maltese administrative law, (b) is fully up to date with references to leading forensic cases, and (c) traces how these branches of administrative law manage to interact together.

For the Faculty of Laws and the University of Malta, it has been a blessing in disguise that Borg has given up totally a political and forensic career in favour of an academic one. From the side-lines of academia, he has now moved to centre stage.

My message to The Sunday Times of Malta readers is to read and cherish this book and make the best use of it as it masterly discusses the foundations of the Maltese state. My message to Borg is to keep the pace he has shaped upon himself on assumption of a full-time academic engagement to regale us with at least one book on Maltese law every year!

Kevin Aquilina is a professor of law at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta.