1 Is it possible for evidence to be taken by videoconference either with the participation of a court in the requesting Member State or directly by a court of that Member State? If yes, what are the relevant national procedures or laws that apply?
If Malta is the requesting state, videoconferencing will be used as a last resort.
2 Are there any restrictions on the type of person who can be examined by videoconference – for example, is it only witnesses or can others such as experts or parties also be examined in this way?
No there are no restrictions on the type of persons that can be examined; witnesses, experts and parties can all be examined.
3 What restrictions, if any, are there on the type of evidence that can be obtained by videoconference?
It is up to the Court to determine what is admissible as evidence.
4 Are there any restrictions on where the person should be examined by videoconference – i.e. does it have to be in a court?
If Malta is the requested state a person has to be examined in Court.
5 Is it permitted to record videoconference hearings and, if so, is the facility available?
Yes it is permitted to record videoconference hearings and the facility is available.
6 In what language should the hearing be conducted: (a) where requests are made under Articles 10 to 12; and (b) where there is direct taking of evidence under Article 17?
(a) If Malta is the requested state, hearing requests under Articles 10 to 12 are conducted in Maltese or English;
(b) If Malta is the requesting state, requests under Article 17 will be made in Maltese or English language.
7 If interpreters are required, who is responsible for providing them under both types of hearing and where should they be located?
If Malta is the requested state and therefore it is going to hear the evidence, Article 596 (1) of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta holds that 'If the court does not understand the language in which the evidence is given, it shall appoint a qualified interpreter at the provisional expense of the party producing the witness'. The interpreter in this case must be in the location where the witness is situated.
If Malta is the requesting state under Article 17 and where there is direct taking of evidence, the location of the interpreter depends on the circumstance of the case.
8 What procedure applies to the arrangements for the hearing and to notify the person to be examined about the time and place? How much time should be allowed when arranging the date of the hearing to enable the person to receive sufficient notification?
Where evidence is taken under Article 10 and 12 and if Malta is the requested state, Article 568 (1) of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure holds that 'Witnesses shall be summoned to appear by means of a subpoena to be issued on the application of the party interested'. A month should be left between one sitting and another so there will be enough time to notify the witness.
Under Article 17 when Malta is the requesting state, it is up to the Court to decide which means are to be used in order to notify the person that is to be examined about the time and place. A month should be left between one sitting and another so there will be enough time to notify the witness.
9 What costs apply to the use of videoconferencing and how should they be paid?
A €100 fee must be paid that covers up to the first two hours of the conference;
A €50 fee per hour must be paid for any subsequent hours;
An hourly technician fee of €58 is also applicable.
10 What requirements, if any, are there for ensuring that the person examined directly by the requesting court has been informed that the performance shall take place on a voluntary basis?
Before giving his or her evidence, the witness is warned by the Court that if s/he does not feel comfortable to give evidence than he should inform the requesting Court of such a fact.
11 What procedure exists for verifying the identity of the person to be examined?
The person to be examined may be requested by the Court to show his passport or identity card before giving his testimony. The witness will be notified prior to the sitting that he has to bring with him one of these documents.
12 What requirements for taking oaths apply and what information is needed from the requesting court when an oath is required during direct taking of evidence under Article 17?
According to Article 111 of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure 'A witness professing the Roman Catholic faith shall be sworn according to the custom of those who belong to that faith; and a witness not professing that faith shall be sworn in the manner which he considers most binding on his conscience.'
13 What arrangements are there for ensuring that there is a contact person at the place of the videoconference with whom the requesting court can liaise and a person who is available on the day of the hearing to operate the videoconferencing facilities and deal with any technical problems?
The following are the contact persons:
Charles Calleja, Audio Visual Senior Technical Office
This person is responsible to connect, test and assist technically during the video conference
Contact +356 25902375 - Office 4th floor in the Law Courts in Valletta
Maria Ruth Ciantar, Video Conference availability
Contact +356 25902391 - Office 4th floor in the Law Courts in Valletta
Alan J. Darmanin, Clerk
Contact +356 25902211 - Office 4th floor in the Law Courts in Valletta
14 What, if any, additional information is required from the requesting court?
Prior to the date of the hearing the following is required from the requesting court:
a. Time zone
b. Appointment for testing (date and time)
c. Fixed IP
d. Details of its technical contact person
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