With the setting up of the Planning Authority (now known as the Malta Environment and Planning Authority) through Act 365 of 1992, a new set of laws and regulations were created in order to regulate development within the Maltese Islands. These laws tend to evolve and update themselves continuously so much so that after eighteen years since their inception, a new Act has replaced Act 365 bringing with it numerous changes and amendments to the existing legal regime.
These changes include various obligations imposed on applicants, such as the obligation of submitting the correct application for the issue of a development permission, the right granted to third parties to object against a particular proposed development, the right to request a reconsideration in certain circumstances and the right to appeal against a refusal of a development application or even the right of a third party objector to appeal against the issue of a development permission.
These rights and obligations are exercised through the timely filing of pleadings before the competent Authority, Commission or Tribunal. The law allows and, in some instances, requires an applicant to be assisted by a lawyer. Services offered by this office in this area include:
1. Advice and research prior to submitting a development permission application;
2. Advice and follow-up of a pending development permission application;
3. Advice and submission of an objection within the time specified by law against any particular proposed development or against an existing illegal development;
4. Advice and submission of replies and comments against a negative Development Permission Report;
5. Consultation and legal representation at hearings of the Authority, Commission or Tribunal prior to the issue of a decision relative to a development permission application;
6. Advice and submission of requests for reconsideration within law-imposed time-limits and following up of the same including attendance at meetings;
7. Advice and submission of appeals to the Tribunal within the prescribed time and following up of the same including attendance at appeal hearings;
8. Advice and submission of appeals to the Court of Appeal upon a refusal or negative judgement from the Tribunal.
9. Advice as to further rights and obligations of citizens when notified with notices such as Enforcement and stop Notices and Notices of direct action possibly leading to the demolition of the development in question.
In this area of practice, it is of utmost importance to know the exact time periods set out by law for each and every kind of application, submission, objection, request or appeal as non-observance of the same brings about the nullity of act concerned. The advice of a competent lawyer in this area is therefore highly recommended.