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MALTATODAY 26 December 2021 LOOKING BACK edition

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 DECEMBER 2021 19 THERE are circumstances which will allow the court to extend the deadlines stipulat- ed in the law. This was held in a decree delivered by the First Hall of the Civil Court presid- ed by Mr Justice Grazio Mer- cieca on 16 December 2021 in Joseph Spiteri -v- Carmen Spi- teri. The case is about an applica- tion by Carmen Spiteri asking the Court to revoke a warrant of eviction in terms of Article 281 of the Code of Organisa- tion and Civil Procedure. Arti- cle 281(3) reads: "(3) The court shall decide on the application after hearing the parties and receiving such evidence as it may deem fit, if it so considers, within a period not later than one month from the filing of the said applica- tion." The application for revoca- tion of the warrant was filed on 15 June 2021. Another ap- plication for its suspension was filed. This second appli- cation was turned down by the Court on 24 June 2021. The applicant of the application to revoke the warrant tried to notify Joseph Spiteri with the application on 1 July 2021. The court documents held that nobody opened for notifica- tion. Joseph Spiteri was later notified on 23 July 2021 and he presented a reply on the 27 July 2021. The Court appoint- ed the application to be heard for 20 September but then de- ferred it to 2 December 2021. However, on 1 December 2021, Joseph Spiteri filed an appli- cation saying that the original application could not be heard because the month had passed from it being filed. The month expired on 16 July 2021. Car- men Spiteri replied into this last application and explained that there were problems to notify Joseph Spiteri. The Ap- plicant, Carmen Spiteri quoted from a judgement of the Court of Appeal of 28 February 2014 in Dr Georgine Schembri -v- Francis Xavier Micallef where the court pointed out that there was no objection before the court of first instance and before the Court of Appeal and since the sitting was going to be held during the court re- cess, there was consent by the parties for the case to be held beyond the one month. In another case Joanna Gana- do -v- Edward Degaetano de- cided on 25 September 2020, the court held that since there was no formal plea the appli- cation could have been heard, even because of the national medical emergency that exist- ed. The Court quoted from a judgement delivered on 25 Au- gust 1870 in Vella -v- Mifsud, where the court was not to extend the deadline found in the law, if they are perempto- ry. This is not applicable today. In fact the jurist Luigi Matti- rolo these peremptory dead- lines found in the law, may not be extended if the act will be declared null. Therefore, the deadlines are peremptory only when the law imposes that the nullity. In our law there are two types of peremptory dead- lines. There are those listed in the law or else those imposed by the Court. The Court gave examples such as Article 226 when an appeal must be lodged or Article 819 when a request for a retrial may be made or else when a case is deferred sine die. The Court may im- pose time limits for experts to present their reports on com- mercial premises in cases of warrants or report on immove- able properties. Professor Victor Caruana Galizia wrote in his Notes on Civil Procedure: "as a rule, all times can be extended by the Court for a just cause, wheth- er they be legal or judicial: the only exception refers to those times which may have been declared to be peremptory (Section 249), such as those es- tablished for lodging or prose- cuting an appeal..." The Court held that the leg- islator listed those deadlines which are classified as peremp- tory where it is in the public interest that the procedure is definitively closed and other where the deadlines may be ex- tended. The deadline mentioned in Article 281(3) is not peremp- tory and therefore may be ex- tended. In this case when the reply was filed by Joseph Spi- teri, the one-month period had already expired and in that reply there was no mention of this point. This means that he wanted to continue to hear the case. The Court then moved to turn down the application for the revocation application not be heard. 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