Practice Areas

The legal services offered by Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates address a wide range of practice areas including corporate and tax advisory services, yacht, shipping and aircraft registration, occupational health & safety legal services with relative risk assessments, airport safety & security including applicable emergency plan, legal issues in aviation and maritime cyberterrorism, personal separations, divorces, annulments and adoptions, debt collecting, employment and industrial relations, competition law, intellectual property registration and rights, film industry, real estate, travel and tourism, mediation as alternative dispute resolution as well as litigation before the local Courts of Law and Administrative Tribunals, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission.

With the advent of the Aircraft Registration Act on October 1st, 2010, Malta is now deemed to be a highly competitive jurisdiction for aircraft registration having established itself as the first Member State to accede to the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol following accession by the EU.

The Aircraft Registration Act provides for a National Aircraft Register although there is no separate register for aircraft engines. However, its legal and fiscal framework is intended to attract aircraft owners and lessors who would want to register their commercial and private aircrafts in Malta, subject to certain restrictions, allowing them also the possibility to register an aircraft still under construction. The definition of an aircraft includes air balloons, gliders, seaplanes and helicopters.

Indeed, aircraft registration in Malta compliments the long established registration within the shipping and yachting industry which indisputably, has been a successful milestone making Malta a maritime Mediterranean hub of international repute.

In the aviation sector, Tanti-Dougall & Associates, Advocates can provide services in connection with aircraft registration, dry and/or wet lease agreements, aircraft financing and advice on tax applicability as well as on Health & Safety and aircraft security issues, including Airport Safety & Security and Airport Emergency Plan in line with the International Civil Aviation Orgnaisation (ICAO) and relative European regulations.

Tanti-Dougall & Associates, Advocates’s team includes an IATA Diploma graduate on Aviation Law.

Civil Law mostly deals with Family Law and Property Law. Information on Family Law features in a separate practice area. With regards to Civil Law issues pertaining to Property, such would include rights over Property, Inheritance as well as Challenging of Title thereof which normally necessitate litigation.

Our Law Firm prides itself on its counselling ability so that clients can avoid costly litigation through preventive counselling. Issues pertaining to competition law and control of concentrations matters are a case in point. Our clients routinely rely on our advice in a wide variety of contexts, including in the formulation and implementation of distribution and/or purchasing agreements, in the structuring of licensing arrangements in particular franchise agreements, and in the planning of complex business combinations which could easily give rise to competition issues.

Sound competition law guidance not only avoids the consequences of a breach of the competition rules with increasingly heavy fines and unenforceable agreements following relative proceedings before the Competition Authorities and the Commission for Fair Trading on the local scenario, but it can also prove to be a forceful and useful vehicle in the event that a company’s ability to penetrate a market is being unfairly restricted as a result of activities of any undertaking or group of undertakings. Governments of each Member State are also subject to competition rules and principles before the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates experience and regular representation includes:

  • Advising companies on the compatibility of agreements or commercial actions (including distribution, licensing, pricing) with EU and national competition laws;
  • Notifying the European Commission and National Competition Authorities on merger transactions;
  • Defending companies accused of breaching the competition rules including cartels and abuse of dominant positions;
  • Drafting and filing of complaints with the National Competition Authorities and the European Commission to protect a clients’ position from anti-competitive behaviour on the relative market by third parties or by government of a Member State;
  • Preparing corporate compliance programs; and
  • Advising trade organisations.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates also has considerable expertise in advising clients on competition issues relating to international trade law such as anti-dumping.

Dr. Michael Tanti-Dougall, Senior Partner of Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates is the co-author of the Malta Chapter of a three volume publication entitled European Competition Law: A guide to the EC and its Members States, by Prof. Frank Fine, General Editor, published by LexisNexis. The publication is an excellent point of reference which is updated every year by expert lawyers practising in the field of competition, mergers and acquisitions from each and every Member State. The Malta Chapter makes reference to the various judgments given over the past fifteen years by the Commission for Fair Trading and to its interpretation of the Competition Act which was originally drafted by Dr Tanti-Dougall in 1994. Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall who has addressed many seminars and conferences both locally and abroad, as well as lectured on competition law, has also assisted in the setting up of the Office for Fair Competition as well as the Commission of Fair Trading.

Tax structuring is a key element of today’s business requirements.  Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates provides its clients with comprehensive professional advice on Maltese Corporate Tax particularly in connection with investment-related business as well as indirect tax advice.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates also advises its corporate clients on International Tax Practices on matters relating to:

  • The effective use of Double Tax Treaties given the fact that Malta enjoys more than sixty (60) such treaties;
  • Corporate structuring for international business operations, specifically multinationals;
  • Obtaining the maximum benefit from the Maltese corporate tax regulatory framework including the Maltese tax refund system.

In addition, our firm also offers personal tax planning for international clients working with the assistance of our network of lawyers and tax specialists cross nationally.

Out team at Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates can advise on all direct and indirect tax matters including, but not limited to, the registration of cruise liner or super yacht companies, private jet companies, remote gaming companies, mergers and acquisitions, international franchise companies, the film industry and with respect to the redomiciliation of companies to Malta.  Our tax advisory team can help you start your business in Malta with a tailor made corporate structure which best suits your international tax planning needs.

We have also successfully assisted individuals seeking to relocate to Malta.  The Permanent Residence Scheme also known as the Permanent Residence Permit is available to non-EU and EU citizens and is the most attractive residence scheme available in Europe.  Individuals benefit from a low annual tax liability and no minimum stay requirements.

Cybercrime is the abuse of the Internet to carry out illicit activities against computer systems of critical infrastructures within industries, such as health, financial, banking and transport including aviation, maritime and railway systems, with the aim of deliberately disrupting the industries by means of tools such as computer viruses, computer worms and phishing, and other malicious software. Cybercrime is one form of cyber attacks against such critical infrastructures, as one may also mention cyber terrorism and hacking.

Tanti-Dougall and Associates provides legal advice to companies who have been subject to a cyber attack as well as providing training for personnel working in critical industries in order to foster awareness.

Employment law in Malta is mainly regulated by the Employment and Industrial Relations Act of 2002 and a number of subsidiary legislations which practically brought Malta in line with EU legislation including the Contracts of Service for a Fixed Term Regulations, the Collective Redundancies (Protection of Employment) Regulations, the Part-time Employees Regulations, the Transfer of Business (Protection of Employees) Regulations and the Organization of Working Time Regulations.

The Employment and Industrial Relations Act also governs Industrial Relations in Malta, together with subsidiary legislation, as for instance, the Industrial Tribunal Procedure Rules and the Trade Union Regulations.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates provides its clients with assistance on a number of key employment law issues, including advice on employment contracts, in particular the use of restrictive covenants and confidentiality clauses, redundancy, maternity and paternity leave, working hours and overtime, health and safety, promotions and wages. Advice is provided during negotiations’ process for collective agreements.

We also assist clients seeking to relocate staff to Malta assisting them throughout the process to obtain work permits for both EU and non-EU individuals.

It is to its credit that Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates provides legal services to the Confederation of Malta Trade Unions (CMTU) and a number of unions amongst them the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT), and the Union Ħaddiema Universita’ ta’ Malta (UHUM) which represents the library employees at the University of Malta.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates represents clients in industrial cases in particular about unfair dismissal and harassment as well as before Disciplinary Boards.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates enjoys a long experience on family law and therefore, can provide all services required to address the many and varied issues involved, by assisting clients, with their personal separation, division and liquidation of the community of assets, care and custody of minor children, access rights, maintenance and enforcement thereof.

Our team is committed first and foremost to assist clients if so required, with trying to save their marriage. However, should reconciliation would not be at all possible, then clients are provided with a strong representation to facilitate the legal procedure required for a consensual separation, during the mediation process or throughout the litigation process if circumstances so necessitate.

We enjoy a good reputation in legal matters associated with child care where the best interests of the minor child are our prime consideration. The services provided also involve procedures for adoption, cases for paternity, filiation and repudiation of children whether born in marriage or outside wedlock as the case may be, as well as proceedings in connection with child’s abduction.

The family law team at Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates also provides services for the registration of foreign marriages and of foreign divorces.  We also provide assistance to clients in pursuance of a marriage divorce as well as in marriage nullity proceedings both before the Civil Courts and the Ecclesiastical Tribunals.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates further provides services in connection with betrothal issues by seeking payment of damages caused by a breach of a promise of marriage, either through negotiation or through litigation. The firm also drafts agreements establishing the community of residue under separate administration and the separation of estates.

Occupational Health and Safety issues are indisputably a reality which cannot be ignored as otherwise serious incidents at the place of work including loss of life could happen with the obvious consequences, giving rise to possible civil damages and criminal negligence. Employers are obliged by law to provide at least a minimum healthy and safe working environment both for their employees and for any person, including guests, gaining access to their premises whether it is a factory, a hotel, a restaurant, an office, a hospital, a constructing site or a tarmac plant. Indeed, said regulations also apply to all means of transport like cruise liners, ferries and buses.

Malta has adopted EU Health & Safety legislation including Council Directive 89/391/EEC “On the Introduction of Measures to Encourage Improvements in the Safety and Health of Workers at Work”, Council Directive 89/656/EEC on the “Minimum Health and Safety Requirements for the Use of workers of Personal Protective Equipment at the Workplace” and Council Directive 98/24/EC on the “Protection of the Health and Safety of Workers from Risk Related to Chemical Agents at Work”. [http://osha.europa.eu]

The services provided by Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates include the compilation and carrying out of the various Risk Assessments as would be required in line with the above-mentioned Council Directive 89/391/EEC, the carrying out of Health & Safety Audits, advising and making recommendations to address Health & Safety issues which would be deemed in breach of the relative legislation.

Tanti-Dougall & Associates, Advocates not only assists clients to comply with risk assessments and the audits, but takes on a preventive approach and hence, strives to avoid legal proceedings. We also represent clients’ interests in court and with the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA)

Malta’s unique geographical location, beautiful and reliable weather, unique scenery with historical backdrops and a guaranteed supply of extras, make it an ideal location for a variety of film productions. The disposition of the local authorities to make available as much as possible the local scenario for the film industry together with an on going investment in the existing film facilities, have attracted film producers of international repute to Malta. Indeed, in the recent past, films which were great  blockbusters with Oscar nominations and awards to their credit such as Troy, Gladiator, Alexander, Munich, U-571, Clash of The Titans and the Da Vinci Code to mention a few, apart from a good number of commercials for top branded products, have been shot in Malta for the said reasons.

However, in addition to the above, film producers have also been attracted to Malta because of the many incentives provided by the local authorities for the film industry including favourable tax treatment.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates can on request provide detailed information on the existing incentives for the film industry on the local scenario together with our comprehensive services thereon which include advice on applicable contracts and on all necessary permits required for the venture, from temporary import licenses, custom clearance and ATA Carnet for importation of film production equipment to clearance from the Maltese Health Authorities, C.I.T.E.S. and veterinary services in case of animal importation for the film production; from employment of extras including minors, social security contributions for local and foreign employees, visas and work permits, employment costs, film set construction to tax incentives applications including for tax refunds were applicable.

Tanti-Dougall & Associates, Advocates can also provide ‘back office services’ before and during the production stages, including on site accountants.

Intellectual Property (IP) rights are of fundamental importance for whosoever wants to safeguard and protect trademarks, patents, designs and copyright. Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates Intellectual Property practice provides comprehensive assistance within the Malta scenario as well as within the European scenario and world wide, through our network of trusted associates. We also advice on the protection of Intellectual Property rights at cross boarder level as contemplated under EU legislation.

Intellectual Property services provided by Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates include:

  • Advising clients on how best to identify, register and protect their Intellectual Property rights;
  • Carrying out of Intellectual Property related due diligence;
  • Preparing, filing and following-up of Intellectual Property applications;
  • Drafting of and filing for Intellectual Property rights litigation;
  • Enforcement of judgments concerned with Intellectual Property rights; and
  • Counselling clients on Intellectual Property portfolio development.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates is also uniquely positioned to assist clients on their investment in ideas, analysing the value of existing Intellectual Property and royalty portfolios and tailoring the portfolios to match the client’s business needs, benefitting from the best possible tax framework. This often includes targeting future areas of interest, protecting existing areas from competitors and preparing for market changes.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates is a member of MARQUES, the Association of European Trade Mark Owners which incorporates both trade mark owners and professional legal practitioners.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates comprise professionals all of whom have been admitted to the Bar and thus enjoy a strong litigation team complimented by a legal procurator and a paralegals which renders an efficient and effective service to our clients on a variety of legal issues ranging from civil, commercial and criminal matters to more specialised fields including human rights, competition law issues, intellectual property rights, labour disputes and family matters including separations, adoptions, civil and ecclesiastical annulment cases.

Besides serving clients in litigation before all the Courts both in Malta and in Gozo of inferior and superior jurisdictions, including the Courts of Appeal and the Constitutional Court, Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates also provide for litigation before administrative tribunals, the Commission for Fair Trading, the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates seek to foster mediation before the Malta Mediation Centre, arbitration before the Malta International Arbitration Centre and through Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms as an alternative to litigation which proceedings are usually much expedient and less costly than litigation, benefiting our clients.

It is possible, subject to certain terms and conditions, that a company within the European Union (EU) would be able to seek redomiciliation thereof with certain benefits to the islands of Malta.

The conditions for a successful redomiciliation of a company from a foreign jurisdiction to the Malta jurisdiction include that the law of the foreign jurisdiction must permit a company to migrate and this must be proved to the Maltese authorities normally in the form of a declaration from the foreign authority where the company would be registered; that the company’s Memorandum & Articles or statute must allow the company to migrate; that the authority in the foreign jurisdiction would have been formally informed that the company wishes to migrate to Malta; that the shareholders, debenture holders and creditors of the company have consented to the migration as required by the foreign jurisdiction’s law and that there is documentary evidence for full corporate migration from the foreign jurisdiction.

For further information for the redomiciliation of a company for Malta, kindly contact this Law Firm on mtd@tdlegal.com.

Travel and Tourism practice area encompasses a good number of laws. More often than not, it addresses complex issues which persons encounter whilst traveling, irrespective whether for business, for health reasons as a patient, for religious faith as a pilgrim, for sporting events as an athletic or as a tourist on holiday.

Problems could arise about the e-ticket after placing a booking through a web site, a delay, rescheduling or even a cancellation of a flight, a personal injury sustained in the hotel or even on a cruise liner as a result of a slippery pool area or from food poisoning. Council Directive 90/314/EEC on package travel, package holidays and package tours has given rise to many an issue and still does till today for tour operators.

Needless to say, such problems would normally lead to an obvious question: who would be liable in the prevailing circumstances, leading to a multitude of claims for compensation from the insurance company or against the airline company, the tour operator, the travel agent, the hotel, the company providing the car hire or even the coach, the train, the cruise liner. In some cases, claims for compensation would be in the form of class actions.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates provides legal assistance to clients, irrespective whether a traveler, a travel agent, a tour operator, an airline, a hotel owner or a cruise liner company, in addressing the claims so raised, first by trying for an out-of-court settlement through arbitration, mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution, and should such process fail, through litigation.

It is interesting to point out that under EC Regulation 1348/2000, subsequently succeeded by EC Regulation 1393/2007 on the ‘Service in the Member States of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters’ a person who would like to raise a claim against a third party to seek compensation, like for example against the hotel, the airline, the car hire companies in a given country, could do so in that person’s national court and then, should the outcome of the judicial proceedings be successful, the judgment could be enforced in the country where the relative company would be so registered and this as provided under EC Regulation 44/2000 on the ‘Jurisdiction Recognition and Enforcement on Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters’.  The above-mentioned Directives are only applicable inter Member States for persons residing within the European Union.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates actively participates in the International Forum for Travel and Tourism Advocates (IFTTA) which comprises practising and academic lawyers from all over the globe.

Historically speaking, it is an indisputable fact that throughout the centuries Malta has enjoyed an excellent reputation for its maritime related services especially with its hard-working labour force. In the distant past, the geographical location of the Maltese islands with their natural harbours in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, played a key role and was sought after by private, commercial and military vessels; the British Navy, for example, having made use of our ports and dockyards for over 180 years.

Today, Malta is equally if not more attractive especially for the tax benefits offered under the Malta Flag which is deemed as an irresistible choice for yacht and ship owners, benefiting from tax exemption on income derived from shipping activities and extremely competitive registration fees … and this apart from having excellent marine related services for super yachts and cruise liners.

Private yacht owners enjoy an advantageous package when opting to register under the Malta Flag including low registration costs. Commercial yachts, as was previously applicable to ships, also pay an annual tax calculated on net registered tonnage.

Indeed, thanks to such tax benefits, Malta has managed to establish itself as one of the leading shipping registers not only in Europe but also world wide. It is a success story … with the ever increasing number of all types of vessels, from yachts, to super-yachts, to cruise liners including those still under construction, to be so registered in Malta.

Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates is proud to partake in the above-mentioned historical reputation and provides services relating to incorporation of shipping companies, yacht and ship registration, contracts for yacht berthing and for super-yachts mooring.