In a brief ceremony at the President’s Palace in Valletta yesterday, Magistrate Dr Edwina Grima and Dr Joanne Vella Cuschieri received their appointment as Judge of the Superior Courts and Magistrate of the Inferior Courts respectively.
Magistrate Grima graduated as Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 1993, and subsequently obtained a Diploma in Canonical Marriage Cases (Jurisprudence and Procedure) from the Archdiocese of Malta. She worked as a trial lawyer up to 2007, specializing in general civil litigation and family law. She served as a Committee member of the Chamber of Advocates, and from 2002 to 2005 served as an adjudicator on the Small Claims Tribunal. In 2006 she was also appointed as an Umpire for the purposes of the Social Security Act. Since 17 January 2007, Dr Grima has served as a Magistrate of the Inferior Courts, dealing with criminal cases in both Malta and Gozo.
Dr Joanne Vella Cuschieri obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Malta in 1998, and proceeded to graduate as Doctor of Laws in 2001. In 2002 she was awarded the degree of Magister Juris in European Law by the same University. Specializing in employment, labour and planning law, she has been in private practice for the last twelve years both as a partner in a legal firm and as an independent consultant to other legal firms and to trade unions, including the General Workers Union. She has also worked as a trial lawyer before the ordinary courts and before the Industrial Tribunal.
At yesterday’s ceremony, after taking the oath of office and oath of allegiance, the President of Malta, Dr George Abela, read the warrants by which Magistrate Grima was appointed a Judge and Dr Vella Cuschieri was appointed to the Court of Magistrates.
Yesterday’s ceremony was also attended by the Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat, the Chief Justice, Silvio Camilleri, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Justice, Dr Owen Bonnici, the Attorney General, Dr Peter Grech, and by members of the families of the appointees.
As has become customary, at the end of the ceremony the Chief Justice presented a copy of the Code of Ethics for Members of the Judiciary to both Magistrate Vella Cuschieri and Madam Justice Grima, as well as a pair of white gloves to the latter. The gloves, which form part of the ceremonial dress of Judges, is a reminder that Judges and Magistrates are expected to participate in official state functions as members of the third pillar of government.