A 15-judge panel of the European Court of Justice heard today arguments from NGO Repubblika in its case arguing that appointments to the judiciary in April 2019 were not in conformity with the Treaty of European Union that requires judicial independence.

Three judges and three magistrates were appointed by Joseph Muscat’s government in spite of a warning from the Venice Commission the previous December that found that Malta’s manner of appointing judges was not in conformity with contemporary standards of democracy.

Repubblika opened a case in the Maltese courts that was referred to the European Court of Justice.

Repubblika was today represented in court in Luxembourg by lawyer Jason Azzopardi who made his arguments in the Maltese language. However, the Maltese government-appointed Spanish lawyers to speak on its behalf. The case for Malta’s government was argued in English.

The court had some questions to lawyers for the Maltese government about Malta’s constitution which lawyers for Malta were unable to answer.

The court also heard arguments from the European Commission and a number of member states.

The European Court tweeted, in Maltese, that the EU’s Advocate General Gerard Hogan will be delivering his opinion on the case on 17 December. A decision is expected in 2021.