Practice Areas:

Government and Church Property

The ownership and administration of State and Church property in Malta go back a number of years, and whilst it is interesting to note the line of events from a historic perspective, such development has impacted the legislative evolution in regulating the title and administration of such properties.

It is relevant to note that during the British Rule in Malta, a manuscript was compiled named the Crown Properties in Malta in order to record and describe all the property held by the Monarchy of the United Kingdom and which was passed over by the Knights of St. John after their reign ended in 1798. On the 21st September 1964, the Monarchy of the United Kingdom was no longer responsible for the property held in Malta. Therefore, by means of an Act XIII of 1966, it was established that all property held in Malta and which were under the responsibility of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, were transferred to the Government of Malta.

The administration of Government property or the rights held by the Government on a particular property, is primarily vested in the Lands Authority. The scope and functions of the Lands Authority is heavily regulated and are widespread, and are to be interpreted against the evolution of historic events inorder to grasp a better understanding of any current case or instance.

On the other, in 1992 Church property held in Malta was also transferred to the Government of Malta and this saving to a number of exceptions. The main understanding of the 1992 Santa Sede was to use the property transferred for the “development of agriculture, and to meet the Country’s most pressing social requirements, such as social housing and public utilities, as well as for humanitarian, educational and cultural purposes”. In order to facilitate this transfer, an office was established known as the Joint Office.

The footprint of these areas of laws is largely considered as a common subject in Maltese property Law, especially upon the transfer and acquisition of immoveable property in Malta.