Malta Legal Network on Asylum

The Malta Legal Network on Asylum is the national group of the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA). This is a forum of legal practitioners promoting the highest human rights standards for the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and other persons in need of international protection.

The Malta Network gathers practitioners based in Malta, with a view to supporting the exchange and improvement of legal knowledge and practice. We do this with the aim to constantly improve standards in Malta’s refugee protection regimes. aditus foundation coordinates the Malta Network, and aditus’ Director (Neil Falzon) is Malta’s National ELENA Coordinator.

As coordinator, aditus foundation provides the Network with regular legal and jurisprudence updates, shares invites to learning opportunities and organises workshops and other forms of exchange.

If you are based in Malta and offer legal information and/or services to asylum-seekers or refugees, the Network is here to support you:

  • Join the Malta Network! You will be added to a mailing list with all other Malta Network members;
  • Subscribe to the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The ELENA Weekly Legal Update (WLU) provides information about important recent developments in international and European asylum law. The update covers the asylum-related judgments of the European Courts and domestic case law as well as asylum legal news from across Europe. Relevant training courses, calls for papers, and other important announcements are also advertised;
  • Get listed in the ELENA Index, the main Europe-wide compilation of practitioners assisting asylum-seeker and refugees. Once you join the Malta Network, we will ask you if you wish to be added to the ELENA Index and, if yes, we’ll handle the registration;
  • Check out our Fact Sheets on various aspects of relevant legal and policy frameworks.

What elements are needed for a subsequent application? Where do I find information on Bangladeshi political activists? How do I challenge the fact that my client was not permitted to file an asylum appeal? My client is from a ‘safe country of origin’, but she will not be safe if returned…how can this be? How can I tell if my client is being genuine about his claim to be a gay man? For how long will my client be detained, and what legal measures may I use to have him release? My client is claiming to be a minor…what should I do?

Maltese and EU asylum law is neither simple nor straightforward. There are several dimensions to understanding our clients’ situations: evolving jurisprudence at the national and European levels; the interplay with complex migration law; a challenging national reality.

aditus foundation has been active in this field ever since our establishment, back in 2011. We have assisted hundreds of asylum-seekers and refugees, delivered dozens of information sessions, submitted volumes of legal submissions and participated in/delivered several training sessions. We are experts in EU asylum law and its transposition and implementation in Malta.

The networks we are members of, including ECRE, PICUM and ENS, give us the opportunity to remain constantly updated on developments, to network with practitioners across the EU and to attend high-level seminars and trainings.

The Malta Network will allow you to share your queries, challenges, discoveries and victories with your colleagues in Malta. You will be able to post a client issue, update us on your successes and discuss technicalities with like-minded colleagues.

Importantly, whilst you might be doing this on an occasional basis, our lawyers handle the legal issues of asylum-seekers and refugees on a daily basis. It’s what we do.

We are interested in all legal issues involving asylum-seekers and refugees, including the following:

  • access to territory and the asylum procedure;
  • the asylum procedure (First Instance, Appeals, Subsequent Applications, Dublin Appeals);
  • administrative detention, including appeals against Detention Orders, Habeas Corpus applications and detention reviews by the Immigration Appeals Board;
  • the procedural and substantive rights of unaccompanied minors;
  • living conditions in detention and open centres;
  • access to socio-economic rights (employment, education, social security, etc.);
  • access to naturalisation;
  • procedures before the International Protection Agency, the International Protection Appeals Tribunal, the Immigration Appeals Board, national Courts, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Human Rights, the EU Commission and other European/international human rights bodies.

Together with the hundreds of clients we see on an annual basis, there are some key clients that we are proud to have represented.

  • Defence of Claus-Peter Reisch, captain of the NGO rescue vessel Lifeline. Following the rescue of over 200 migrants and days out at sea awaiting permission to enter Maltese ports, the Lifeline was allowed to disemark the migrants but the captain was immediately charged, signalling a dramatic worsening of the situation of migrants in distress in the Mediterranean. Together with legal partners, we took on the captain’s defence and won!
  • The case Suso Musa vs Malta before the European Court of Human Rights, challenging the legality of Mr. Musa’s immigration detention. The Court judged in favor of Mr. Musa, finding a violation of ECHR Article 5. Importantly, the Court chose to make some very strong statements regarding Malta’s administrative detention policy.
  • In March 2019 we intervened to defend the three teenagers charged with terrorist activities after a group of rescued migrants aboard the merchant vessel El Hiblu 1 protested at their prospective return to Libya. The case is on-going and the subject of an important international campaign
  • We published Malta’s only compendium on jurisprudence in the area of asylum, to be updated on a regular basis.
  • An EU Commission complaint we filed against the unfair imposition of a 5-year entry ban on a young mother.
  • In 2021, 32 asylum-seekers held illegally aboard private ships just outside Malta’s territorial waters for over 4 weeks filed a human rights complaint against Malta. We represent them, together with JRS Malta and Mifsud and Mifsud Advocates.

Just get in touch with us! In your communication send us your contact details so we can get back to you with details.

The Malta Network subscribes to the Code of Conduct of the Malta Refugee Council, making sure that all our clients are treated with respect for their dignity and rights.

Nothing else is required.