On the initiative of the then Chief Justice, Vincent De Gaeatno, and the Director General (Courts Division), Mr Kevin Mahoney, a programme of organised school visits to the Courts of Justice in Valletta was launched in October 2008. The idea behind the programme, which received the full support and encouragement of the Ministry of Education, was to familiarise secondary school children from state, church and private schools with the function and work of the courts. Although the first official organised visit took place on the 17 October 2008 (click here to see photograph) a trial run had been conducted earlier that year with a visit by children from the Bahrija Primary School.
Each visit, which lasts for just over an hour and is held in the early afternoon on a Friday, consists of a short introductory presentation by a member of the judiciary which is followed by a tour of the court building in Valletta conducted by a Registrar or an Assistant Registrar. The highlight of the tour is generally the visit to the court room where trials by jury are held, where the children are allowed to take over for a time the dock, the jury box and the bench.
A small booklet (click here), containing most of the slides used during the introductory presentation by the member of the judiciary, is also distributed to the visitors.
The attached document (click here) shows the number of visits organised in 2010 and in the first half of 2011. School children from Gozo usually visit the Court House in Victoria, and video-link with Malta for the purpose of the introductory presentation.