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Operation Pedestal – 80th Anniversary Celebrations

Operation Pedestal 1942 is an historic – and heroic – World War II Allied operation that is
commemorated yearly in Malta, to remember the bravery of all those merchant seafarers, and naval
as well as other military and civilian personnel who successfully delivered much-needed supplies to
the tiny island of Malta.

Dr Geraldine Spiteri holds a wreath on behalf of the Nautical Institute

In Malta, it is known as Il-Konvoj ta’ Santa Maria (Santa Maria Convoy), because it coincides with the
feast of the Blessed Virgin, on the 15 th of August. The Italians, who at that time were part of the Axis
forces, refer to it as the “Mid-August Battle” (Battaglia di Mezz’Agosto). The most crucial cargo
during Operation Pedestal was fuel, carried by SS Ohio, an American tanker, manned bya British
crew. The convoy sailed from Britain on the 3 August 1942 and passed through the Strait of
Gibraltar into the Mediterranean on the night of 9/10 August. The Axis forces pursued the convoy,
causing tremendous losses to the Allied fleet with an estimated loss of over 500 seamen. Many
losses were incurred and only five of fourteen merchant ships that originally set sail on the convoy
actually reached Malta.

A patrol boat of the Armed Forces of Malta Maritime Squadron sits at berth in preparation for Operation Pedestal

Despite being costly for the Allies, it was a great victory, specifically because of Malta’s strategic
location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, allowing the Allied forces to eventually take
control of North Africa and prepare for the invasion of Sicily.
Every year, the Royal Navy Association (Malta GC Branch) carries out a commemorative service with
the the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) and the Royal Navy Officers’
Association (Malta), Representatives from the British High Commission in Malta as well as other
embassies and dignitaries representing other organisations participate in this yearly event. This year
the President of Malta made an address to those present and this was followed by prayers by the
Chancellor of the Anglican Church in Malta as well as by one of the representative Chaplains of the
Catholic Church in Malta. A ceremony, during which wreaths were laid at the sea in Grand Harbour,
Valletta, followed.

The laying of wreaths by the various organisations represented in the ceremony, this year, was
carried out, from the bow of the P23, a patrol vessel of the Maritime Squadron of the AFM.
Members of the Armed Forces of Malta played the bagpipes and a gun salute was given as a sign of
respect to the fallen. Members of the Royal Navy Officers Association (Malta) and the RNA Malta
(GC Branch) attended carrying their Association flags and wearing their medals, while the family
members of the last surviving crew member of the SS Ohio were also in attendance.

Dr Geraldine Spiteri throws a wreath into the Grand Harbour during Operation Pedestal

The Nautical Institute (Malta Branch), represented by the Branch Chairperson, Dr Geraldine Spiteri,
was present at this ceremony celebrated on the 11 th of August. The event was held at Pinto 3
Terminal, at the Valletta Grand Harbour Waterfront. This year, alongside the 80 th Anniversary of
Operation Pedestal, the Nautical Institute celebrates its 50 th Anniversary.

The wreaths prepared to be laid in Grand Harbour for Operation Pedestal 80

Geraldine currently works with Acumum Legal & Advisory, a role she has taken on in November 2021, in order to head up the Maritime & Yachting and the Aviation portfolios.

Armed Forces of Malta - Maritime Squadron standing to salute with their bayonets at Operation Pedestal - 80th Anniversary.

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MBR Publishes Regulatory Amendments

Act LX of 2021 introduces various amendments to the Companies Act, in order to take into account the Digitalisation Directive (which deals with electronic filings). Furthermore, additional duties are imposed in the Registrar and certain additional requirements are put into place. This has created the need for additional forms to be established as well as provisions on the appointment of directors and disqualification provisions for company directors.

A person applying to be appointed as director of a company is required to sign the Memorandum of the company or to submit a declaration in writing to show explicit consent to be appointed director and to declare whether they are aware of any circumstances that could lead to his or her disqualification, both in terms of Maltese law and in terms of any of the requirements of the laws of other EU Member States.

Therefore, Form K has now been revamped, so that includes a second part which a director uses to signify his or her consent to the appointment. Form K(1) is used for that declaration to be made when a director is being appointed for newly-formed companies.

These forms shall be accepted as of the 01 February 2022.

More on this link: Legislative amendments introduced by Act LX of 2021 – Malta Business Registry (mbr.mt)

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Condominium Services

The condominium is any group of four or more tenements, in one building where the common parts are shared. This would include the common entrance, stairways, lifts servicing the entire block and other shared areas.

Keeping the condominium in good shape, including regular cleaning and maintenance, is essential to the value of your property. A very beautiful apartment will only be worth the investment if the block it is housed in, is also well maintained.

The administration of a condominium requires coordination of the needs of all the owners of properties in that building. The work involves collecting all contributions, ensuring that all bills are paid, and of course coordinating all the works necessary. Naturally, where issues arise, the person charged with the administration needs to ensure a proper balance between the interests of all, keeping the block well-maintained and balancing the expenses with the means of the owners. Where legal issues arise concerning the block, knowing the proper avenues to obtain remedy is also key.

Our offices have the right structure to give you the comfort of a personalised approach, with the back-up of over 15 years of experience in the field of administration – including of blocks of apartments, ranging from smaller blocks where the service is tailored, to larger blocks where a wider approach needs to be coordinated. We also have staff who is able to handle queries and back-office administration in a timely fashion, as well as the appropriate registration of the administrator in accordance with the Condominium Act.

The appointment of an administrator is required by law where a block has 4 or more apartments, but it is always a good idea to appoint an external party where the issues require handling by someone independent. Having a legal professional onboard ensures that decisions are taken according to law. Guidance can be provided in terms of any legal action that might become necessary for any serviced condominium.

We are happy to help – just contact us should you require a quote.

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Are You Coping?

COVID-19 has hit the world a few weeks ago; in Malta it’s been nearly 3 weeks since we all started working from home. The world has been thrown into utter confusion but do we join ranks?

At Asteria, we decided to take our equipment home (to the extent we could), and work from our desks, particularly because we are a mix of vulnerable people, those who commute only using buses, and because therefore it makes more sense.

The law firm (SAGA Juris) has shut its doors to clientele, to protect its members and the employees. The courts are closed anyway – acts cannot be filed except using the emergency procedure to open the court registry using extraordinary means. There are, underway, a number of discussions with the Chamber of Advocates that might enable proceedings to resume if they are urgent or if they can expediently be dealt with online (such as sittings of certain cases). This might cause trouble with prescription (time-barring) and the current legal notice that suspends all prescription from running until further notice.

One uses this kind of down-time to advantage: catch up on compliance work, catch up on know-your-client procedures, finalise onboarding procedures, reviewing client work (in some cases, with a view to cleaning out the cupboard).

Another useful suggestion is to use this time to embark on habit-building activities: working some nice new habits into one’s routine. Decluttering of one’s desk is a good example, or using the morning hour on a fixed day to carry out spot-checks on client files.

For most, work has ground to a halt. If this is your case, there are many free online courses to build on existing skills. If recognised and accredited, so much the better as one increases the employability; if not, the certificate of attendance will show an interest in self-development, which indirectly also improves employability. It is also a creative way of keeping the brain active.

On the other hand, those who are busy must take this time to learn to balance work and life. A healthy work-life balance is key to delivering a good service, one that the client looks forward to receiving. This is key, and this time in our lives should be made the most of, specifically for this purpose – much needed down-time if you weren’t getting it, and to recreate new, positive habits slowly, one step at a time.

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Europe celebrates Justice Day!

The 25th October saw Europe celebrate European Day of Justice, an annual day to mark Europe’s commitment to the delivery of justice in its work.

The aim behind it is to bring justice closer to citizens, to inform them on their rights and to to promote the work of the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the field of justice, through simulation of procedures and information sessions

16 Member States have mobilised by organising various events such as free legal aid to citizens on their rights, open doors of courts, notarial chambers, information sessions, the provision of social platforms to ask questions, publications of books, films, etc.

Training and information sessions for justice professionals and students have also been organised across Europe. Competitions for law school students have gathered a high number of students.

The Maltese courts have marked this day by bringing to the citizens’ attention easy access to the progress of cases through the E-Courts system, which is now also accessible on a smartphone platform. This platform allows citizens to monitor the progress of their cases, including sitting dates, through an online system.

The online services also includes the Insolvency Register, payment of fines, searches on judicial sales being held and hall usage, which allows citizens to know which hall their sitting is being heard in.

It is also possible to get mobile notifications of court matters relevant to the person applying, and to pay court registry fees.

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