Solicitors governing body: Chamber of Advocates Malta
Competition authority: Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority
Financial regulator: Malta Financial Services Authority
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Malta has a mixed legal system, though its basis is civil law, the country’s historical connections to Britain means that it also contains elements of common law.
Law firms are registered with the Maltese Chamber of Advocates. As a member of the EU the country allows EU, EEA and Swiss lawyers relatively free access to practice though the country has no foreign law firms present in its market. There is no system in place for registering firms from outside the above stated countries.
Like all EU states much of the country’s legislation is in line with EU regulations and directives.
The country has developed a vibrant economy in the areas of financial services and gaming and most of the island’s commercial law firms are structured around catering for work in these areas. Investment fund work and company registration are also key areas of business for lawyers.
Advocates Primei is a commercial firm that advises foreign and domestic financial institutions, corporations, trustees and investment firms on the Maltese law element of deals.
The firm has recently advised Maltese entities on restructurings and insolvency procedures. It has also provided local law advice to local entities on cross border and domestic acquisitions.
Camilleri Preziosi is one of the leading transactional firms in the country.
Strong in banking, the firm advises international commercial and development banks on lending to domestic corporates for general purposes and acquisitions. It also advises borrowers on cross border financings.
Capital markets is another strong practice area for the firm. In the debt space, the firm has recently acted as issuer’ counsel on several bond issues on the Maltese Stock Exchange. In equity work it is often counsel to issuers when there is a rare IPO on the local exchange.
The firm has strong M&A capabilities and acts for a mix of local companies and private equity firms on domestic and cross border acquisitions.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Exalco Finance €15 million 4% bond issue
•Main Street Complex Malta Stock Exchange IPO
•Melite Finance €9.25 million 4.85% bond issue
"Highly professional and knowledgeable; they were able to help both parties reach an agreement." – Banking
"Highly professional, knowledgeable, prompt in their work and provide excellent advice." – Banking
"Excellent in terms of knowledge, approach and responsiveness." – Banking
"The firm provided truly exceptional service: its guidance was prompt but never rushed; in-depth but always keenly practical." – Capital markets: equity
CDF Advocates specialises in work in the funds area and advises Maltese funds on management, governance, regulatory and compliance issues. Knowledgeable across wide range of structures including UCITs, AIFMs and hedge funds, the firm advised on the establishment of two new funds in 2018.
"Top class professionals." – Investment funds
Chetcuti Cauchi has a strong regulatory practice and often advises financial institutions and newly established companies on licensing requirements in Malta.
The firm is also experienced in the fintech sector. It has acted on the licensing and launch of crypto exchanges and on the preparation of token issues under Maltese law.
David Zahra & Associates Advocates is a boutique firm that has a very strong corporate offering.
The firm advises a mix of international and domestic clients on local and cross border M&A transactions across various sectors. It also advises local companies on corporate restructurings and local share listings.
"Very knowledgeable about the regulation and guidelines." – Banking
"The firm managed the whole process of this transaction, including documentation, advisory and hand-holding throughout the process." – Banking
"Good understanding of our business and respectful of confidentiality." – Banking
"Top quality service and approach." – Banking
"Professional, responsive to emails and queries and efficient." – Banking
"Thorough, positive and always trying to be responsive." – Banking
"They made sure we covered all angles of the transaction." – M&A
"DZA understands the needs of our organisation and our balanced approach as a purchaser, making it easier to achieve the goal of acquisition." – M&A
"Firm goes into very high level of detail, and the service given is always timely and efficient." – M&A
"Dr David Zahra has always provided his services in a professional and timely manner." – M&A
"Very fast and efficient." – M&A
"Very practical approach showing an in-depth understanding of our needs and innovative structuring to address the specific challenges." – Project development
"I have found this law firm to be very efficient. They are also very well organised by providing detailed step plans of the work and document bibles of work performed. Another strong point is that it is easy to reach the individuals working on the project and it is easy to communicate with the team." – Restructuring and insolvency
"The firm was both accurate and timely in the preparation of the documents. We were thus very satisfied with the service." – Restructuring and insolvency
Fenech & Fenech Advocates is a strong corporate firm that specialises in gaming law, working on acquisitions and financing involving companies in the sector.
The firm is also experienced in the shipping sector having worked on domestic and cross border acquisitions of ships and shipping companies.
The firm also has notable presence in the funds space and provides full scope of services to clients in this area.
"The firm was excellent, providing professional and timely advice and turnaround of documents." – Banking
"Fenech & Fenech are our go-to firm in Malta. They are always responsive and provide clear and pragmatic advice." – Banking
"They review the cases in detail and are largely available for discussions." – Banking
"An extremely capable Maltese law firm with market leading legal knowledge." – M&A
"We are very satisfied with the attentive level of service, eye for detail and timely advice and action on matters. The various teams are highly experienced and knowledgeable of the ever-changing global regulatory scenario. They took their time to get to know the business, which is something special in today's hectic environment." – M&A
"The strength and depth of knowledge within the team was excellent. They were all extremely efficient and continuously delivered high quality advice within tight time frames. Joseph Ghio is an excellent lawyer with a strong commercial acumen." – M&A
"They provided legal advice on all stages of the investment, including on diligence, transaction documentation and implementation of the transaction. Their knowledge and understanding of the legal issues were excellent, and they showed a keen awareness of the commercial aspects of the deal. In short, they provided top class service from inception to conclusion." – M&A
"We have been utilising this firm since we entered the Maltese market, so they effectively operate as an extension of our own organisation. When required, they are extremely flexible and accommodating." – M&A
"They are very professional and knowledgeable and always set out the options available at each stage of a transaction. They offer a robust challenge to our management team to ensure that the outcomes of a process are met." – Project development
"Josianne was incredibly efficient, knowledgeable and practical. She was available on short notice at all times during what was a difficult transaction."
"Josianne's advice is clear and to the point."
"Joseph was exceptional. He was flexible and responsive. His advice was clear, concise and commercial. At all times, he impressed with his knowledge and understanding not just of the legal issues but the commercial realities of the deal too. A true professional and a market leader in Malta."
Nicolai Vella Falzon
"A highly capable and articulate lawyer who provides concise but highly commercial advice."
"Extremely responsive and dedicated; he attended a matter as a matter of urgency notwithstanding being on paternity leave."
"Dr Bonnici is incredibly knowledgeable and approachable. She takes time out of her schedule to get to know the business, which then reflects the level of accuracy and effectiveness of the advice given. Her practical approach clearly sets her apart from other competitors."
"Rosanne takes the time to understand our business and what we want to achieve. She highlights the opportunities and challenges of our plans in an easily understandable way."
Ganado Advocates is one of the strongest corporate firms in Malta.
The firm is strong in shipping and aviation and advises on cross border acquisitions, financing and restructuring work in these sectors.
The firm has a dedicated banking and finance team and works for international and domestic financial institutions, funds and insurers on financings, regulatory matters and restructurings.
Cryptocurrency is another area where the firm has been active recently, advising clients on licensing requirements.
Mamo TCV is a strong transactional firm.
In banking and finance the firm acts for a mix of local and international lenders and borrowers on cross border acquisition or corporate finance deals.
In the funds space the firm advises Maltese investment managers on fund restructurings and local regulations.
International law firms also mandate the firm to provide Maltese law support in relation to transaction or – recently – in relation to planning for Brexit.
"Very high quality and efficient in areas with demonstrated partner and of counsel experience." – Banking
"Very competent from a technical legal perspective, reliable and good value for money." – Banking
"Strength is in their depth of knowledge." – Banking
"Excellent throughout. The firm aspires to high standards and employs only very good lawyers." – Banking
"Prof Andrew Muscat is the authority on corporate law in Malta. His advice is always so logical and clear." – M&A
"Attorneys are very knowledgeable on Malta laws, specifically real estate and foreign ownership of real estate laws. Attorneys are reliable, meticulous in their work, and provide sound advice." – M&A
"Highly professional and produces excellent and well-studied advice/reports." – M&A
"They are very responsive to emails and turn around work quickly. They are professional, knowledgeable and great to work with." – Project development
"The firm provided an excellent review of the situation, taking into consideration the interpretation of the commercial and civil law and adopting the highest academic standards." – Restructuring and insolvency
WH Partners specialises in gaming and fintech sector.
Perhaps the strongest firm in Malta in the gaming the sector, it advises gaming and gambling companies on large financing and M&A in Malta.
In the fintech sector the firm has developed a strong blockchain practice and often advises clients on the establishment of fintech structures and the launch of ICOs under Maltese law.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Stars Group $4.7 billion acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming
•Stars Group $6.9 billion financing