Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Maltese Constitutional and Legal History

[Whitelocke Publications Limited has alerted us to their publication of three works of Maltese legal and constitutional history.]

Raymond Mangion's Constitutions and Legislation in Malta 1914-1964 (Vols. 1 & 2).  Professor Raymond Mangion, Head of the Department of Legal History and Methodology at the University of Malta, studied at the University of Malta (MA History, LLD) and at the University of Oxford (DPhil). He has been lecturing in legal and legislative history at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta, since 1993.

He undertakes the unprecedented task in this book of drawing the constitutional and legislative landscape of Malta between the years 1914 and 1964. This he does with attention to detail, rigour and precision. He brings the story to life by interweaving social developments with the evolution of the constitutions and legislation of Malta.

Professor Mangion provides the reader with a dazzling tapestry, full of detail and connections. Themes include the influence of outstanding personalities in law-making, the changing structure of the government, questions of language and the free trade issue. He analyses the role of the local Church, the adoption of public, private and criminal laws, the tension between pro-Italian and pro-British feelings and the need to reconcile Imperial defence strategies with the wish of the Maltese for more autonomy. He masterfully demonstrates that the history of pre-Independence British Malta cannot be fully grasped without a clear understanding of the role played by its constitutions and legislation.

Hilda Lee's Constitutional History of Malta 1800-1914, with an introductory essay by Barry Hough & Howard Davis.  Hilda I. Lee, MA, was Lecturer in International History at the London School of Economics and Political ScienceBarry Hough, LLM LLB, is Associate Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth School of Law. Dr Howard Davis is Reader in Public Law at Bournemouth University.

This book provides a detailed constitutional history of Malta during the first part of British rule, from initial occupation in 1800 to 1914, with an Epilogue bringing the story to Independence in 1964. The first part consists of an essay written by Barry Hough and Dr Howard Davis discussing the nature of the legal authority exercised in Malta by British officials prior to 1813, the date of the first appointment of a British official with the title of ‘governor’. The second, and majority, part of the book consists of an edited reprint of the acclaimed work by Hilda I. Lee, Malta 1813-1914: A Study in Constitutional and Strategic Development, published in 1973. Here, the many typographical errors originally found in Lee’s book have been corrected and the text conformed. This is the first time Lee’s book has appeared in print in over 30 years. This book is the first volume in the Whitelocke Series of Commonwealth Constitutions.

Mark A. Sammut's Essays in Maltese Legal History and Comparative Law, Vol. 1.  Mark A. Sammut, a member of the Royal Historical Society, the European Society for Comparative Legal History, and of the Malta Historical Society, studied law and translation studies at the University of Malta (LL.D., M.Jur. (summa cum laude), M.A.), Western European legal history at the University of London (LL.M.), and historical sociology at the London School of Economics.

This book contains four essays:
  1. Judicial Importation into Maltese Law of Italian Private Law Solutions and Its Implications
  2. Historical Facts and Myths surrounding the Criminal Code of Malta
  3. Medieval (Legal) Beasts in our Midst? A Terminological Ad Fontes Look at the Dissolution of Contracts under Maltese Law
  4. Latin Wine Decanted into a Semitic Carafe: The Obscure Term “Midheb” in Vassalli’s Lexicon and its Possible Usefulness for the Legal Historian
It is of interest not only to those analysing Maltese law, but also to those interested in Scots (Criminal) Law, British Imperialism, the translation of the Code Napoleon, Islamic Law, Jewish Law, and Maltese History.