The Commission was set up in 1994, when Article 101A was added to the Constitution (click on Article 101A
to view this provision).
The Commission is composed of ten members: the President of Malta, as Chairman; the Chief Justice, as Deputy Chairman; the Attorney General; two members elected from among the Judges of the Superior Courts; two members elected from among the Magistrates of the Inferior Courts; one member appointed by the Prime Minister and one member appointed by the Leader of the Opposition; and the President of the Chamber of Advocates.
Since the Chairman has only a casting vote, this means that the members of the judiciary on the Commission always have a majority of votes. This is considered as essential to ensure autonomy from the executive and the legislature and to safeguard the independence of the judiciary.
Broadly speaking, the Commission has jurisdiction over the workings of the courts and the behaviour of judges, magistrates, lawyers and legal procurators. To date it has no jurisdiction over adjudicators who sit in the Small Claims Tribunal, Commissioners for Justice, mediators and arbitrators. More specifically, the functions of the Commission are:
i. to supervise the workings of all the superior and inferior courts and to make such recommendations to the Minister responsible for justice as to the remedies, which appear to it, conductive to a more efficient functioning of such courts;
ii. to advise the Minister responsible for justice on any matter relating to the organisation of the administration of justice;
iii. when so requested by the Prime Minister, to advise on any appointment to be made in terms of articles 96, 98 or 100 of this Constitution;
iv. to draw up a code or codes of ethics regulating the conduct of members of the judiciary;
v. on the advice of the Committee for Advocates and Legal Procurators to draw up a code or codes of ethics regulating the professional conduct of members of those professions: Provided that where such advice is not given within such time as the Commission may establish, the Commission may draw up such code or codes without the necessity of such advice;
vi. to draw the attention of any Judge or Magistrate on any matter, in any court in which he sits, which may not be conducive to an efficient and proper functioning of such court, and to draw the attention of any judge or magistrate to any conduct which could affect the trust conferred by their appointment or to any failure on his part to abide by any code or codes of ethics relating to him;
vii. to exercise, in accordance with any law, discipline over advocates and legal procurators practising their profession; and
viii. such other function as may be assigned to it by law.