The Malta Maritime Law Association (MMLA) is a non-profit making, voluntary organisation which was set up in 1994 with the aim to promote the study and advancement of Maritime Law and its administration. With its expertise the MMLA plays a key role in ensuring that the Maltese maritime legislative and regulatory infrastructure is constantly updated, revised, amended and improved in a pro-active and well researched manner, in order to enhance qualitative standards as well as to further consolidate Malta’s pre-eminent position as an international maritime services centre.
Even though a law association, the MMLA is composed of members from the various sectors in the maritime environment and the Sub-committees provide a forum for discussion of arising issues and the drafting of national legislation or international legal instruments. At present the MMLA has 140 members.
In 2002 an agreement was signed with the then Malta Maritime Authority (today Transport Malta (TM)) establishing that the MMLA shall act as a consultant and advisor to the Merchant Shipping Directorate within TM and foster channels of communication between the authority and the industry.
The MMLA reflects a high degree of maritime legal expertise, also through its affiliation with the Comité Maritime International (CMI). CMI is the oldest international organisation in the maritime field, and was formally established in 1897 in Antwerp. Through the participation of the MMLA, Malta is represented at high profile CMI meetings and can make its voice heard at the negotiating and drafting table of very important international legal instruments.
In 2014, MMLA President Dr Ann Fenech was nominated and elected to the CMI Executive Council. This was the first time that a Maltese person has been elected to this highly prestigious international body. Dr Fenech has been reelected to the CMI Executive Council in 2017 and was elected Vice President of the CMI by the General Assembly in November 2018 in London after having been suggested for nomination by Ireland and Sweden (For more information please read our article here). Dr Fenech was re-elected unanimously by the member national maritime law associations of CMI during the CMI Assembly held virtually on 30 September 2021.
Dr Fenech co-chairs the International Working Group on Judicial Sales and is the CMI co-ordinator for this project at the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The 55th session of the Commission deliberated the draft convention on the international effects of judicial sales of ships for four days and approved the text of the Convention on June 30, 2022. It agreed to submit the text to the General Assembly of the United Nations recommending to the same General Assembly the adoption of the convention at its 77th session, the authorisation of a signing ceremony to be held as soon as practicable in 2023 in Beijing, upon which the Convention would be open for signature, and recommending that the Convention be known as the Beijing Convention on the judicial sales of ships.
Over the past years the MMLA has focused substantially on the organisation of seminars on topical issues, some of them addressed by international most prominent persons associated with the subject. (Please see more details on our most recent event under our Events page and further events organised by the MMLA under our Past Events page)
The MMLA is a member of the Malta Maritime Forum (MMF) with Dr Ann Fenech sitting on its Board of Directors. The MMF was founded in 2015 as a common platform intended to represent the local maritime industry. The first Chairman was former European Commissioner Dr Joe Borg who handed over the chairmanship to Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon in May 2021.
Last updated: August 2022
See also: MMLA Statute