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Antitrust, Competition and TradeCOVID19 Measures

COVID-19 Update – State Aid and the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article was written by Dr Annalies Muscat and Dr Laura Spiteri"State aid" is a form of an advantage given to an undertaking by a national public authority. State aid is generally prohibited by EU State Aid rules, save in certain limited circumstances. One of the exceptions to the general prohibition with respect to granting of aid by States is contained in Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU") which provides that State aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the EU's economy is aid that may be considered compatible with the internal market. To this…
Annalies Muscat
23rd March 2020
Corporate and M&A

Consumer Legislation: Revamp of Consumer Law Directives

This article was written by​ Dr Annalies Muscat and Dr Laura SpiteriOn the 7 January 2020, Directive 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules (the 'Directive') came into force. It amends various Directives related to consumer law in the light of the various technological developments that have taken place on the online marketplace. This article lists the salient amendments which will be brought about by the Directive.Unfair Terms Directive1The Directive amends the Unfair Terms Directive, which now requires Member States to lay down rules on penalties…
Annalies Muscat
9th January 2020
Corporate and M&A

The Right to a Fair Hearing in Consumer Law Proceedings

This article is written by Dr. Annalies Muscat On the 31 October 2019, the First Hall in its Constitutional Jurisdiction handed down judgement in Digisec Media Limited v Director General (Consumer Affairs) and Advocate General. It affirmed that public enforcement proceedings in relation to consumer law are criminal in nature and therefore are protected by the constitutional guarantee to a fair hearing as applicable to criminal offences.On the 18th of May 2018, in line with the provisions of the Consumer Affairs Act ("the Act") and the Consumer Rights Regulations ("the Regulations"), the Director General (Consumer Affairs) issued an administrative decision…
Annalies Muscat
18th December 2019
Planning & Environment

The Single-Use Plastics Products Strategy for Malta 2020-2030

This article was written by​ Dr Annalies Muscat and Dr Laura Spiteri.​The Maltese Government issued the Single-Use Plastic Products Strategy for Malta 2020-2030 (the 'Strategy') in May 2019, just before the Directive 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (the 'Directive') was brought into force. The Strategy's stated aim is to aid Malta's move towards a more circular economy in the light of the work carried out by the European Commission towards this end. It highlights measures to be taken to eliminate…
Annalies Muscat
28th October 2019
Antitrust, Competition and Trade

Antitrust Investigations are not Criminal in Nature

On the 12 July 2019, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in Falzon Group Holdings Limited et v Director General (Competition). Plaintiffs were seeking to have competition proceedings struck out on the basis that the investigation conducted by the Director General (Competition) under the dispositions of the Competition Act (Cap 379 of the laws of Malta and hereinafter the 'Act') breached their right to a fair hearing under article 39(1) of the Constitution and article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This case was filed in the wake of Federation of Estate Agents v Director General (Competition), by…
Annalies Muscat
21st August 2019
Corporate and M&A

Amendments to the Consumer Affairs Act – new procedural safeguards for traders in public enforcement proceedings

This article was written by Dr Annalies Muscat and Dr Laura SpiteriOn the 31 May 2019, Parliament enacted the Competition Act and Consumer Affairs Act and other Laws (Amendment) Act ("the Amendment Act").As the name implies, the Amendment Act amends not only the Competition Act (read more here), but also the Consumer Affairs Act ("the Act"). It is clear that following the Constitutional Court judgments in Federation of Estate Agents v Direttur Generali (Kompetizzjoni) et of 3 May 2016 and Thake et vs Electoral Commission of 8 October 2018 the need to amend the Consumer Affairs Act was felt. These…
Annalies Muscat
9th July 2019