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Introduction

The information contained on this page represents the situation as of 1 January 2013  and is a summary of the country report produced by the country expert from the network. The summary can be downloaded here as well.

Contact:
Tonio Ellul
E-mail: tellul@emd.com.mt

Country context

At the end of 2012, the Maltese population was estimated at 421,364 of which 209,880 (49.80%) were males and 211,484 (50.20%) were females.[1] The Labour Force Survey published in January 2014 indicates that the number of employed persons in Malta between July – September 2013 was estimated at 179,476 of which 112,401 were male and 67,075 were female.

 

Main principles and definitions

Definitions

All the grounds of discrimination mentioned in the Directives are prohibited under Maltese law. The only ground which is however specifically defined under Maltese law is that of disability under the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act, 2000.[1]

Enforcing the law

Maltese legislation lays down various courses of action that one may follow should an individual believe that they were subjected to discriminatory treatment. Apart from recourse to action before the courts, there exist other bodies where an alleged victim can address his or her complaint. These include the Industrial Tribunal (under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, 2002), the National Commission for Persons with Disability (under the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act), the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women (under the Equality for Men and Women Act), the Public Service Commission (under the Constitution of Malta), the Ombudsman (under the Ombudsman Act), the Broadcasting Authority (under the Constitution of Malta), and the Employment Commission (under the Constitution of Malta).[1]

Main legislation

The principles of equality of treatment and non-discrimination were first introduced into the Maltese Constitution of 1964.[1] In 1987, the European Convention Act was enacted.  Through this Act,[2] 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 generally available to all.  Persons who do not have adequate financial means to institute legal proceedings in Malta can apply for legal aid. Where this is not granted, costs can be seen as a deterrent. Delays in proceedings, which do occur, can also be seen as a deterrent.

Material scope

Protection against discriminatory treatment under Maltese law is provided for under both general and specific laws.  The Constitution of Malta and the European Convention Act contain a general prohibition against discrimination that could be taken to include all the fields of application listed in Article 3 of both Directives.

Equality bodies

The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women (NCPE) has been designated as the body in Malta to promote equality of treatment for all persons without discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin. The Commission seeks to ensure that Maltese society is a society free from any form of discrimination in all sectors and at all levels with respect of training and employment, and the provision of services and benefits. 

Go to the European Commission - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities This initiative is financed by the EC Programme Progress. But the views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.