By virtue of the ‘Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Regulations’, published on 5th June 2015, the legislator took into account various factors which, once amended, leave a valuable impact on the island of Malta. The below mentioned amendments will surely bring about the necessary improvements within Malta’s transport infrastructure. Moreover, where an aggrieved individual is unsatisfied with the actions taken by the Authority or the Executive Police, the legislator introduces certain remedies which may be resorted to.
Enforcing road regulations has proved quite challenging for the executive police, in particular due to the large amount of foreign vehicles coming into Malta from various foreign states. Hence, the amendments will directly affect those individuals who plan to relocate to Malta from any EU or non EU member state or for any film making company going through its pre-production stage.
Attaining a temporary licensing disc
With the coming into effect of the recent amendments, particularly article 6A, an individual residing in Malta will be able to drive his car, which was imported from abroad, upon applying for a temporary license valid for 30 days. The validation period commences when the vehicle arrives in Malta. This license shall remain valid until the official registration is approved.
According to this provision, an application must be submitted within one working day upon the arrival of the vehicle in Malta and the following shall be presented to the Authority for Transport in Malta: An administrative fee of €20 and a valid motor insurance policy and any other ancillary documents.
Once the Authority accedes to the application, the applicant would receive a temporary licensing disc which must then be fixed on the vehicle’s windscreen or on the left side of the motor cycle/motor tricycle/quad bike. Such disc shall contain all the necessary details, particularly relating to the period within which the vehicle first arrived in Malta and it shall also indicate the expiry date which may not exceed the 30 day time limit.
Vehicles brought to Malta under a contract of lease or hire
By virtue of article 6B, the Maltese legislator also took into consideration the vehicles which are brought into the country from other Member States under a contract of lease or hire by residents and non-residents, who are not entitled to benefit from any of the exemptions provided for by the Motor Vehicles Registration and Licensing Act (“The Act”). Thus if such a contract of lease or hire goes beyond the period of 30 days, said vehicle would have to be registered with the Authority and a registration tax would be due in accordance with the same Act.
On the other hand, if an individual does qualify under any of the exemptions listed in the Act and the enjoyment of the vehicle extends beyond the specified expiry period, it shall also be registered accordingly with the Authority and a registration tax would be payable in conformity with the Act.
M1 motor vehicles with CO2 emission levels equal to or higher than 221g/km and motor cycles with an engine capacity equal to or higher than 801cc – which have not already been registered with the Authority in terms of the Act – may be registered for use on the road in Malta solely and exclusively on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays and other public holidays.
With regards to vintage vehicles, these vehicles (which must be older than thirty years) may apply to the vintage vehicle classification committee to be classified as a vintage vehicle, whether it has already been registered in Malta or whether it has been imported into Malta but not as yet registered in Malta.
Rejection of an Application by the Authority
The Authority is empowered to reject the registration of a vehicle under a contract of lease or hire. Consequently, the vehicle may not be driven on the Maltese roads upon the lapse of the 30 day time limit. Nonetheless, the legislator sought to provide a suitable remedy, by giving the aggrieved applicant the opportunity to appeal the Authority’s decision in front of the Administrative Review Tribunal and in conformity with the rules provided for by the Administrative Justice Act. The Authority shall continue to enforce this rule by calling for the Commissioner of Police to proceed with criminal proceedings against the individual who has hired or leased the vehicle and against the individual in whose custody the vehicle was found.
Taking into account the Maltese Film Industry
By virtue of the new article 36A, the legislator made provision for Malta’s flourishing film industry within the promulgation of the amendments. Indeed, the Authority may issue temporary special number plates which shall be valid for 6 months upon the payment of €200 and the presentation of the requisite documents to the Authority. The six month validity period shall apply for those vehicles which have not yet been registered or which are not licensed for use on the road in Malta for the purposes of exhibition, filming or other unique purposes. If the special plates are not returned within a timely manner a €100 fee shall be due to the Authority for each plate.