The Local Enforcement System scheme groups together up a number of participants including statutory bodies and private agencies. Key Players
Local Enforcement can be divided into two main divisions:
- Regional Committees
- Local Councils
- Local Tribunals
Ministry of Justice and Local Councils
The Ministry for Justice and Local Councils is the Ministry to which the Central Government assigned, amongst other responsibilities, the implementation of the policy of Local Government. As a Ministry it established the general policies and objectives that provided the backbone of the system - a system the implementation of which safeguards the best interest of the public. Local Enforcement was launched in February 2000 in terms of Legal Notice 32 of 2000, following the enactment of the PRIVATE GUARDS AND LOCAL WARDENS ACT (CAP. 389) in 1996.
In terms of the LOCAL ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM COMMITTEE REGULATIONS (S.L. 291.06) "There shall be a Management Committee for the Local Enforcement System that shall be responsible to provide guidelines, the general policy and the local enforcement system function, and there shall also be a Stakeholders Committee that shall be responsible to give recommendations to the Management Committee." Reg. 3 (1).
The Management Committee is composed of a Chairperson and four members who shall be appointed by the Minister (Reg.3 (2)).
The Stakeholders Committee is composed of representatives of Trade Unions, the electronic local enforcement system service provider, Authorized Officers, Local Warden Agencies, the Police and the five Regional Committees, which shall be chaired by the President of the Local Councils Association. (Reg. 3 (5))
LESA responsibilities are determined by the Public Administration Act by virtue of Legal Notice 153 of 2015. They are generally responsible:
- To provide the enforcement of any law, regulation or bye-law, the enforcement of which has been delegated to regional committees, local councils or to such other local or regional authorities as are designated by the Local Councils
- To collect penalties, including additional penalties and expenses which may be due to the regional committees or local councils in terms of the Local Councils Act;
- To administer and apportion between the local councils constituting the regional committees any net surpluses resulting from enforcement operations in accordance with a formula established by agreement following consultations between the regional committees, the local councils association and the Minister;
- To review the workings of local enforcement;
- To ensure co-ordination of local enforcement activities;
- And to attend to such other matters which are ancillary, incidental or consequential to the matters stipulated in paragraphs (a) to (e)as the Minister may from time to time determine;
Department of Local Councils
The Department of Local Councils is the central point of reference for Local Enforcement queries. It is also responsible for the development of policy options within the framework set by the Minister responsible for Local Councils.
The Department of Local Councils exercises a general administrative supervision over the activities of Local Councils and ensures that Local Councils have the legislative authority required to respond to local needs. It reviews and develops legislation, regulations, operating guidelines and policies.
The Department of Local Councils also has a customer-care branch. If offers a solution to any member from the general public who has any query about Local Enforcement. The Local Council's Help desk may be contacted on email@example.com
Local Councils functional responsibilities are determined by the Local Councils Act which sets them up. They are generally responsible:
- to provide and maintain proper road signs and road markings in conformity with national and international standards,
- to maintain parking areas,
- to propose to, and where applicable be consulted by, any competent authority prior to the competent authority making any changes in traffic schemes directly affecting the locality,
- assist citizens by providing information relating to their rights,
- advice any authority empowered to take any decisions which effect the residents it is responsible for.
Local Councils may also enact Bye-Laws. These bye-laws are also enforced as part of the Local Enforcement System. However, they are only enforceable within the locality which falls under the jurisdiction of the Local Council which drew them up. As an example one can mention Advertisements on Street Furniture, Hamrun Local Council Bye-Laws and Skips Regulations, Birkirkara Local Councils. Local Councils have been delegated this power in order to suppress particular nuisances which may be characteristic to particular Local Councils.
Local Councils Association
The Local Councils Association was statutorily constituted in November 1994 by virtue of Legal Notice 153 of 1994. The role of the Local Councils Association is to protect and promote the common interests of all the Local Councils. It is the body that has been involved from the outset in the setting up of the Local Enforcement system. Apart from coordinating all the activities of the Local Councils it also coordinates ongoing discussions to improve the system.
The Regional Committees responsibilities are determined by the Local Councils Act by virtue of Legal Notice 320 of 2011. They are generally responsible:
- to provide for the proper upkeep and maintenance of street lighting in accordance with national and international standards,
- for the enforcement of laws delegated to the Committees and the provision of warden services for all localities for which the Committee is responsible, including those functions as are necessary so as to prosecute following enforcement,
- to organise cultural activities that promote the locality in every possible way,
- to protect the natural and urban environment of the locality and take all necessary measures to ensure the more efficient use of energy, good waste management and climate change initiatives,
- to enter into agreements with any public body or government department for the delegation to the Committee of any of the functions of that public body or department: Provided that any such delegation shall only come into effect after the Minister has made the relevant order in the Gazette,
- to perform any other function which shall be delegated to it by the Government through the Minister by means of an order published in the Gazette,
- to provide for all such other works, things, matters and services which are not excluded from a Council's competence by any law for the time being in force nor assigned to any other authority
Region Executive Secretary
The Executive Secretary is appointed by the Region Committee to administer the said Committee and act as a Financial Head. His/Her duties are:
- issue all notices and prepare the agenda in consultation with the Chairman and attend all meetings,
- draw up the minutes of meetings of the Committee, and if no Secretary is appointed for a Sub- Committee in accordance with regulation 22(3), draw up also the minutes of that Sub-Committee,
- submit a detailed annual administrative report to the Chairman,
- cause to be submitted to the Committee and to the Director estimates of the income and expenditure of the Committee during the next following financial year,
- carry out any other duties that may be detailed or delegated to him by the Chairman or by the Committee
The Prosecutor is a person who is appointed by the LESA to prosecute on their behalf against those offenders who have been accused of having committed a contravention.
The Prosecutor prosecutes all the offences that are brought before the Local Tribunal. He or she prepares each case and makes sure that he or she has all the necessary evidence at hand. All prosecutions are carried out with fairness and all the people who are summoned to appear before the Local Tribunal are given equal treatment.
The Prosecutor may also lodge an appeal before the Court of Magistrates as a Court of Appeal in those instances where the Prosecutor is dissatisfied with the Tribunal judgment.
Before the introduction of Local Enforcement, enforcement fell exclusively within the competence of the Malta Police Force. However, Local Enforcement saw the introduction of other Enforcement Officers - the Local Wardens through the Warden Agencies. The logic behind this increase in the number of Enforcement Officers is to ensure that every district in Malta is constantly being patrolled by these Officers.
The Local Tribunal is an extension of the Courts of Law. It is that building where the Commissioner for Justice holds the sittings to consider any charge brought before him in terms of the Commissioners for Justice Act.
The Local Tribunal was set up to ensure that the fundamental right to a fair hearing is given to every person who has been booked for a contravention. For this reason the Local Tribunal has been entrusted with a specialized competence - it adjudicates only in respect of delegated contraventions. Furthermore appointment of cases takes place within a relatively short period and there are no lengthy proceedings involved. The cases are dealt with summarily.
In all there are eight Local Tribunals. There is at least a Local Tribunal for every Regional Committee. Therefore all the cases in respect of contraventions which have been committed within the boundaries of a particular Regional Committee will be brought before the Local Tribunal of that group of localities.
Commissioners for Justice
The role of the Commissioner for Justice is to consider and deliver judgment on every charge that is brought before him for hearing. He or she hears any statements that both the offender and the prosecuting party might wish to make. He or she also hears any witnesses that either party might have brought. After also taking into consideration any documentary evidence, He or she will proceed to deliver the judgment.
The Tribunal Clerk
The Tribunal Clerk is the person chosen to act as a deputy registrar of the Local Tribunal. The person appointed to this position is responsible to take down in writing all the instructions handed down by the Commissioner for Justice. He or she is also responsible to note down the judgment as delivered by the Commissioner for Justice in respect of every case brought before the Tribunal.