Maltese Law To Extend Notary Practice, Apply Code Of Ethics
After urging from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Malta has agreed to extend the Notary profession to non-Maltese citizens and has created a code of ethics that will protect the integrity of document transactions within the island nation.
The move, which impacts one of Malta’s oldest professions, was spurred by last year’s ruling by the ECJ requiring EU member states to open the Notary practice to all European citizens. The commission maintained that limiting the Notary practice to a nation’s own citizens would be deemed discriminatory.
In addition to filing infringement claims against Malta, the ECJ also filed hearings against Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg — all of which have since changed their laws to extend the Notary practice to citizens of all EU nations.
While the new law in Malta allows for non-Maltese Notaries to practice on the island, it requires that they be conversant with Maltese law and that any “foreign” notaries must possess a good knowledge of both English and the Maltese language in order to understand the wording on most of the deeds requiring notarization.
The newly established code of ethics helps ensure higher standards and better notarial services for foreign businesses and investors, as Malta continues to be a small, but important, trade partner to the United States.