Human Dignity in Malta

  • David Edward ZammitEmail author
  • Mary Muscat
Living reference work entry


The concept of dignity draws upon roots diffused throughout Malta’s mixed legal system, reflecting the historical influence of the Ius Commune, as modulated through Civilian doctrine and jurisprudence and complemented by British Constitutional principles and Socialist and Liberal ideals. In the colonial period, express legislative references to dignity concerned nonhuman entities, including particular professions and institutions. After Independence in 1964, the concept of human dignity was introduced through three distinct generations of legislation comprising: (a) the Constitution as subsequently complemented by the European Convention of Human Rights Act, (b) postcolonial legislation, and (c) legislative efforts to align Maltese and EU law. Thanks to the activity of the courts and the legislator, various concepts of dignity coexist within Maltese legal discourse and the concept of human dignity has sometimes been broadly applied as synonymous with respect to the intrinsic humanity, identity and equality of all human persons. However, the treatment of informal migrants and undocumented asylum-seekers provides a clear practical counterexample, revealing how the compartmentalised approach to legal interpretation in Malta’s mixed jurisdiction places significant constraints on the possibility of further developing human dignity as a fundamental value underlying all Maltese legislation.


Malta Legal hybridity Jurisprudence Professional/institutional dignity Generation of legislation Compartmentalisation Human dignity Undocumented migrants Dignity of the worker Dignity of the spouse Dignity of the tort victim 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Law, Faculty of LawsUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta

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