Development and Planning Law

Development and Planning Law is a major dynamic legal field which requires thorough regulation in order to ensure the equal protection of the rights and interests of both developers and the public in general whilst safeguarding the environment.

Prior to 2016, it was the Environment and Development Planning Act (Chapter 504 of the Laws of Malta) which regulated the sphere of development and planning. The competent authority in this area was the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) which was set up by Act 365 of 1992.

In 2016, two new Acts were put into force to supplement the Environment and Development Act, namely, The Environmental Protection Act (Chapter 549 of the Laws of Malta), instituted by Act 1 of 2016, and The Development Planning Act (Chapter 552 of the Laws of Malta), instituted by Act 7 of 2016). The above Acts, together with Regulations, Planning Policies, Guidelines, and Circulars to architects which are issued under the authority of such Acts, regulate the areas of the Environment and Development Planning meticulously.

Subsequently, this led to the dissolution of MEPA and two new authorities were born from the Acts, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and the Planning Authority (PA), respectively. The ERA is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies relating to the safeguarding of the environment. Moreover, one of the vital functions of the PA is the processing and the issuing of permits which are invariably required for any property development, and which range from procedures for minor changes to applications for full developments.

Development and Planning Law imposes a number of obligations on applicants. It also affords, however, a number of rights, such as the right to request reconsideration and the right of appeal against a refusal of an application for property development. Rights are equally granted to third parties who may wish to contest a development permit or a request thereof, the contestation of which may be made before the Courts of Justice or the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal.

Vincent Micallef and Associates assists various clients in connection with Planning Law issues – which are at the heart of the ever-growing real estate scene in Malta. The Firm has also contributed significantly to issues relating to land reclamation, in that it has consulted the Government of Malta on the International Land Reclamation initiative.

The legal services provided by the Firm in this area vary from legal advice to consultation, such as:

  • Submission of development permission applications and the subsequent follow-up of pending applications;
  • Submission, representation and procedures before the PA, the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal and the Courts of Justice;
  • Submission of objections against a proposed or an existing development;
  • Submission of requests for reconsideration, submission of appeals to the Tribunal, and submission of appeals to the Court of Appeal;

In order to provide the best possible advice, at Vincent Micallef and Associates we strive to keep abreast with the legal developments in this continuous and ever-evolving legal regime.