sources within the University of Malta Library are located within the Main
Library, and within the Faculty of Laws and Theology Library. The latter houses resources in print and
electronic formats, to support the research requirements of the Faculty of Laws
and the Faculty of Theology. In
addition, this specialised library also contains print dissertations related to
law and theology.
RESOURCES IN THE LIBRARY
The Library Catalogue
known as OPAC, this contains a comprehensive list of the books, periodicals,
maps, and other resources found in the library. This database contains bibliographic
records describing the materials owned by the Library. OPAC is easily accessed through the Library
Library used the Library of Congress Classification System to organize books on
the shelves. This scheme is based on the alphabet, and each letter represents a
different subject. The Law is classified
under Class K, with various subclasses.
These are found on Level 2.
is the Library’s one-stop
search engine to both print and online resources. Through a search in HyDi, one
can discover books, e-books, digital media, articles, and dissertations held in
the main Library and subsidiary libraries, as well as full-text online journal
articles and other information resources.
An excellent feature of HyDi is the ability to export citations to Refworks
in the OSCOLA format used for Law publications. These references can later be
used to create bibliographies for dissertations, papers and assignments, formatted
in any bibliographic style including OSCOLA.
LOCATION OF LEGAL
University of Malta Library provides access to legal materials and sources of
legal materials, both in hard copy and electronic versions. The locations
within the Main Library where legal materials can be found are:
SOURCES OF LAW
carrying out research on law and legal topics, one must distinguish between primary and secondary sources of law.
are the laws
themselves, and are considered mandatory authority that a court must follow
within a jurisdiction. Constitutions, legislation, administrative regulations,
and cases in the same jurisdiction are all primary sources. Malta’s primary
sources of law include the following:
The Laws of Malta:
contains all the Laws of Malta from 1813 onwards.
The Laws of Malta website1
is a compilation of all the principal legislation currently in force, regularly
updated with amendments and new legislation approved by Parliament. Therefore, this is the best source for the
current laws of Malta as the website always shows the most current version,
with any amendments to existing legislation integrated within the original
Laws of Malta website includes all the subsidiary legislation currently in
force, regularly updated with new Legal Notices and amending Legal Notices as
Subsidiary legislation is also housed in the Reference Department of the Main
houses parliamentary debates from 1860 onwards. Acts of Parliament are located
in the Reference Department. The Parlament website2
also provides online access to various documents and reports by parliamentary
committees from current and previous legislatures, Acts of Parliament, Bills,
Ministerial Statements, papers laid, parliamentary questions, motions, and
rulings. It also lists agendas, motions and orders of the day for every
The Constitution of Malta:
Melitensia stores Maltese constitutions from 1921, 1936, 1947, 1959, 1961,
1964, and 1974. The most current Constitution, together with any subsidiary
legislation made under the Constitution, is accessible online at justiceservices.gov.mt.
comprises judgements given by the Malta Courts of Justice from 1944 onwards
under “Sentenzi Online”. The system also shows partial judgements (sentenzi in parte).
Melitensia also houses a collection of judgements called “Kollezzjoni ta’
De?i?jonijiet tal-Qrati Superjuri ta’ Malta”, and the “Kollezzjoni ta’ De?i?jonijiet tal-Qrati Inferjuri ta’
Reference Department contains a number of other primary sources of Maltese Law,
including (but not limited to) various “De?i?jonijiet”, “?abriet ta’ Sentenzi”, u “Indi?i”.
The Malta Government Gazette:
most up-to-date and official source of Maltese legislation is the Government
Gazette, together with Supplements A (legislation as it is carried through
Parliament), B (regulations, bylaws, legal notices, and other subsidiary
legislation), C (white papers and bills), and D (local council bylaws). Issues
from 1813 to 2012 of the Malta Government Gazette and Supplements are available
at the Melitensia Department. Issues from
June 2003 onwards are accessible online3.
interpret the law. Decisions from courts in other jurisdictions, encyclopedias,
legal dictionaries, dissertations, journal articles, law notes, and books on
legal topics are considered secondary sources.
Legal Dictionaries give definitions of words related
to law. The words are arranged alphabetically. There are various legal dictionaries
and thesauri available both in the Reference Department and in the Main Library
section K. Some reputable legal dictionaries are also available online.
o “Black’s Law Dictionary”: Located
in the Reference Department, and also in the Main Library K section, this contains
definitions for legal terms and legal maxims.
and Phrases Legally Defined”: This is a multi-volume set which organizes legal
terms as embodied in single terms and phrases in an alphabetical sequence with
cross references. The origins of the terms are explained. Words and Phrases
often provides many definitions, from a variety of jurisdictions. This set is
available in the Reference Department and in the Main Library Section K.
Legal Encyclopedias provide quick access to background
information on legal topics. They are convenient starting points when carrying
out research from a basic understanding of an area of law. Arranged alphabetically
by topic, they impart a summary of broad principles of law, covering a wide
range of legal topics. The Reference
Department houses a selection of single and multi-volume encyclopedias and
companions. Various encyclopedias of Law and law-related subjects are also
found in the Main Library Section K.
Legal Research Texts and Manuals identify, describe and explain how
to use resources for legal research, and how to write effective legal documents.
There is a selection in the Reference Department and even in the Main Library
Section K. Included in this section are constitutions of the countries of the
world, dependencies, and territories, together with European Community cases,
and various bibliographies.
Theses and Dissertations: undergraduate and postgraduate theses
and dissertations from various faculties, of interest to Law students, are
available for consultation from the Melitensia Special Collection.
Laws and Theology Library are also home to small collections of print theses
and dissertations. These theses and dissertations can easily be located by searching
there are currently over 4,000 theses and dissertations available in electronic
format. These are also accessible for download via HyDi and [email protected], the
University’s institutional repository that collects and preserves academic output
from the University.
Print Journals: Melitensia houses a number of Maltese
Law print journals, whereas the Periodicals Department houses around 22 print
journals related to law, from 2005 to the present. These are found in Section
Online Journals: A HyDi search can provide access to
numerous scholarly articles, a number of which provide free access to the full
text of articles published in journals that the University is subscribed to.
LEGAL DATABASES WHICH
CAN BE ACCESSED REMOTELY
legal research is nowadays carried out via online databases, primarily those from
Westlaw and LexisNexis, both of which are subscribed to by the University. What
follows is a description of the major databases that the University subscribes
to. A comprehensive list, together with a list of the more important websites
and resources related to Law is found in the handout “University of Malta
Library Resources: Law 2017” (Appendix A).
HeinOnline offers a series of collections of
digital facsimiles of a wide range of printed primary sources on the history of
world constitutions, Anglo-American law, and international law. It also offers coverage
of Canadian Supreme Court Reports. It has the most easily searchable version of
the English Reports Reprints series. It also offers the reports of the Supreme
Court of Israel. All texts in HeinOnline are delivered as both page images and
LexisNexis and Westlaw are the primary databases for
conducting professional legal research. Both databases contain all cases
reported from U.S. federal courts and U.S. state supreme courts, and a wide
range of UK law reports along with UK statutes and statutory instruments in
force. The LexisNexis database includes approximately 80 journals, European
Union cases and legislation, Commonwealth Law and business information. Most content
is full text instead of page images. I personally encountered difficulties when
trying to access Westlaw, both from the library terminals, and also remotely
using the installed VPN. Apparently,
there is a solution for this through the librarian at the Periodicals
The DeJure database contains case law,
abstracts and judgements pertaining to Constitutional, Civil, Criminal,
Administrative and Tribunal Courts in Italy. It also includes Italian and European
legislation, commentaries to sentences, and authoritative reviews from Italian
European Union Legal Database
provides access to the laws of the European Union. In addition to the Official
Journal back to 1952, it includes collections on Treaties, International
agreements, Legislation in force, Consolidated legislation, Preparatory acts,
Case-law, and Parliamentary questions.