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12 January 2010
The principle of precedent

In his weekly column on Maltatoday last Sunday Robert Musumeci sticks to his guns and insists on the legal principle of ‘stare decisis’  (maintain what has been decided and do not alter that which has been established) as a sound reason why planning decisions are taken by MEPA. He also goes as far back as 1996 and quotes the appeals board (of MEPA) stating  that  ‘Dak li thalla jsir fil-kaz ta’ wiehed ghandu jithalla jsir fil-kaz ta’ kulhadd’. Little does he notice that between 1996-1998 the shortlived Labour government allowed MEPA to pursue policies enacted by previous nationalist governments.

This shows the sorry state that our country is today in so far as planning and environment are concerned. If all the permits granted by MEPA were all correct and unflawed then Malta would not be in the shabby state it is in now and also  prime minister Gonzi would not have took it upon himself as an electoral promise in the last electoral campaign  to take  MEPA into his remit. Therefore something was and still is going wrong in MEPA and this problem is carried on and on by the ‘principle of precedent’, which of course can be applied whenever a permit needs to be sanctioned and not applied when a permit is ‘deemed’ to be refused.


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