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Judge Maurice Caruana Curran passes away

Judge Maurice Caruana Curran. Photo courtesy of Raymond Mangion

Judge Maurice Caruana Curran. Photo courtesy of Raymond Mangion

Judge Maurice Caruana Curran has passed away, three years short of his 100th birthday.

He will be remembered for his long career on the Bench as well as for having set up Din l-Art Helwa and been a pioneer in promoting environmental awareness in Malta. 

Writing about him in Times of Malta on December 15, Prof. Raymond Mangion said Judge Caruana Curran had left “an indelible mark as a legal luminary endowed with unrivalled acumen in the role of prosecutor in the well-remembered trial by juries Regina v Terreni (1956) and Regina v Camilleri (1961)”.

2005 file photo of then President Eddie Fenech Adami presenting the Europa Nostra award to Judge Maurice Caruana Curran. Photo: Jason Borg2005 file photo of then President Eddie Fenech Adami presenting the Europa Nostra award to Judge Maurice Caruana Curran. Photo: Jason Borg

Born in Valletta on June 11, 1918, Judge Caruana Curran was appointed one of Her Majesty’s judges in 1963, at the age of 45. From 1974 served as senior judge and as acting Chief Justice on many occasions. He retired in 1983.

During his term, he delivered a number of landmark judgments in criminal, civil and administrative law and came to be considered an icon by the Maltese legal community.

Before becoming judge, he was considered one of Malta’s most distinguished lawyers specialising in criminal law.

He pioneered the law of judicial review of the administration in Maltese law to the extent of inducing the State to legislate for the first time on the matter. He formulated a solid mechanism for the quantification of damages in tort cases under civil law.

As a young lawyer in 1943, he turned down a Rhodes scholarship at the University of Oxford, to assist his family and Valletta recover from the ravages of war.

Between 1944 and 1946, he was a leading member of the second Malta National Assembly that made proposals for the restoration of responsible government in Malta by virtue of the grant of a new Letters Patent Constitution.

2002 file photo of then President Guido de Marco and Judge Maurice Caruana Curran following the presentation to Din l-Art Helwa of the Europa Nostra silver medal of honour.2002 file photo of then President Guido de Marco and Judge Maurice Caruana Curran following the presentation to Din l-Art Helwa of the Europa Nostra silver medal of honour.

He joined the Attorney General’s Office, was appointed deputy Attorney General and figured as one of the leading State advocates. Meanwhile, he furthered his studies in legal and civic matters in the US.

President Emeritus Ugo Mifsud Bonnici had described Judge Caruana Curran as “the islands’ bastion of liberty”.

He was awarded for “academic excellence by the university's Faculty of Law last December.

Judge Caruana Curran founded Malta’s national trust Din l-Art Ħelwa and was an outspoken fearless leader in the field of environmental and heritage conservation.

In 2005, he was given the Europa Nostra award for 40 years of untiring work to uphold the cause of cultural heritage.

The trust is currently headed by his daughter Simone Mizzi.

Besides being a man of culture in the widest sense of the term, he was also an active sportsman and served as president of the Malta Football Association and of the Malta Amateur Athletic Association.

He was also an actor and played leading roles for the Malta Amateur Dramatic Company and British Council Players.

In 1993, he was appointed Officer of the Order of Merit of Malta.

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