Industrial action by AG lawyers threatens ongoing high-profile criminal cases

Compilation of evidence in several high-profile criminal cases could be halted from Monday as lawyers in the attorney general’s office step up industrial action.

In an ongoing dispute with the government after collective bargaining negotiations came to a sudden halt due to the election, the UĦM workers’ voice ordered the AG’s lawyers not to continue presenting evidence in the compilation of cases where the prima facie decree has already been issued.

The directive, which will come into effect on Monday, will mean that some major criminal cases could be blocked because they cannot be reassigned to other AG lawyers who are not UĦM members.

Sources told MaltaToday that high-profile money laundering and murder cases, which cannot be easily reassigned due to their complicated nature, could be affected by the directive.

It remains to be seen how the judiciary hearing these cases will react to developments in its next session.

The union wants collective bargaining talks to continue as they have reached their final stage after more than a year of negotiations.

However, a directive issued by the Principal Permanent Secretary as soon as the election was called put an end to all collective bargaining negotiations.

The government has defended its position by saying that this is normal practice when an election is called.

AG lawyers were already obeying union directives; however, the action scheduled for Monday could result in the first major disruption to the justice system.

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