Through this Act, Article 14 of the said European Convention can be invoked before and enforced by the Maltese Courts in the event that a person is hindered in the enjoyment of the fundamental rights and freedoms provided for in the Convention on grounds of discrimination. Access to the courts in cases of alleged breach of either of these two instruments is unhindered and available to all.
Persons who do not have adequate financial means to institute legal proceedings in Malta can apply for legal aid by the State. In addition to this, Malta has introduced a number of specific legislative acts to implement Council Directives 2000/78/EC and 2000/43/EC, in particular the Employment and Industrial Relations Act 2002, which relates to employment; the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act, 2000; the Equality for Men and Women Act, 2003; and Article 82A of the Criminal Code which criminalizes incitement to racial hatred. In 2004, Legal Notice 461 was published to fill the lacunae under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act 2002 with regards to discrimination on the grounds of religion or religious belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, and racial or ethnic origin in the field of employment. The latter regulations were amended by Legal Notice 53 of 2007 which refer, in particular, to the provision of reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities and the defence of rights in line with the provisions of Directive 2000/78. In virtue of Legal Notice 54 of 2007 the Equal Treatment in Employment regulations were extended to employees in the public sector. It is to be noted that there are no provisions in Maltese law which are in material breach of the Directives.
Legal Notice 85 of 2007, the Equal Treatment of Persons Order, further implemented the provisions of Directive 2000/43/EC. In terms of this legal notice the Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women was designated as the body responsible for the promotion of equal treatment of all persons without discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin. In addition this Order prohibits discrimination on the ground of race or ethnic origin in relation to (i) social protection, including social security and healthcare, (ii) social advantages, (iii) education, (iv) access to and supply of goods and services which are available to the public, and (v) housing. Malta is also a party to various international human rights instruments that provide for the protection against discrimination.
As a general comment, sparse reference to local practice on the subject areas is made because there is little case-law or publicly available material and only sparse practice exists.
This provides that the substantive Articles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms have become and are enforceable as part of the Laws of Malta.