MCAST Legal Office
The MCAST Legal Office is managed by Dr Francesca Degabriele who advises College and MCAST Gateway to Industry officials on legal and regulatory questions associated with the College’s activities (including corporate governance, policy formulation, contract drafting and negotiations, employment and student issues, compliance and pre-litigation dispute resolution), as well as represents the College’s interests in tribunal and court actions filed against the College.
The Legal Office assists and advises Senior Management, Heads of Institutes, staff, and students across the entire institution. However, the ultimate responsibility of the Legal Office is to the College under the direction of the President of the Board of Governors and the Principal/CEO. Should a conflict of interest arise in day-to-day work with any member of the College community, the conflict will be identified and address immediately in order to be able to represent the college’s interests.
The most important thing is to seek legal advice when it is needed, so all employees are urged to contact the Legal Office with legal questions or problems so that the matter will be promptly handled in the most efficient and effective manner.
The MCAST Legal Office does not provide legal advice to individual officers, employees, or students on non-College matters.
The MCAST Legal Office handles a range of matters which include but are not limited to the following:
- Compliance & Legal Research
The Legal Office is constantly on the look-out in order to ensure that all Laws & Regulations applicable to the College are being adhered to and followed. This also includes the College’s compliance to the Education Act and the Collective Agreements drawn up from time to time with different Trade Unions.
- Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of Interest can arise at any level of the institution. The Legal Office’s role is to be able to identify and manage any potential conflict of interest as it arises, with the sole scope that the College’s interests should always surmount any personal interest.
- Contract review, drafting & negotiations
Whenever a contract or agreement is required or proposed, the MCAST Legal Office plays a crucial role in reviewing the proposed document or drafting the required document as to ensure conformity with the Laws of Malta and that the interests of the College are being safeguarded as required. The Legal Office also assists in the negotiations which lead to the finalisation of any agreement.
- Corporate Governance & Board Matters
The Legal Office assists the Board of Governors, the Office of the President and the Office of the Principal/CEO in granting legal advice and support as required in order to ensure good corporate governance and compliance with the Education Act in the workings of the said offices as well as the other Statutory Boards and Officials established by the Education Act.
- Debt Collection
The College offers a number of services to which a fee is applicable. Unfortunately, there are cases where debts are not settled in a timely manner and legal action is required. The Legal Office offers a range of services in debt collection ranging from legal letters to judicial proceedings and executive warrants.
- Disciplinary Proceedings
From time to time, disciplinary action needs to be taken vis-à-vis a member of staff of the College or a student of the College. The role of the Legal Office is to assist MCAST officials as required in order to ensure that the College’s interests are being well-represented. This includes assisting College officials during Disciplinary Board hearings.
- Employment Matters
MCAST employs approximately 1,000 employees which consist of academic and non-academic staff with diverse backgrounds, needs and expectations. The MCAST Legal Office offers a range of services in employment matters which include but are not limited to:
- Reviewing and drafting employment contracts
- Interpreting and advising College officials on Collective Agreement provisions
- Advising the College officials and drawing up of policies on the implementation and coordination of Work-Life Balance measures
- Giving advice on day-to-day employment matters and queries
- Litigation & Administrative Proceedings
The MCAST Legal Office represents the College’s interests in Litigation and Administrative Proceedings. The Office may also liaise with external lawyers for the handling of such. It is crucial that the Legal Office is informed of any potential and pending litigation at all times. This includes when a representative of the College is served with a subpoena to give evidence before the Courts or Tribunals.
- Real Estate & Land Use
The MCAST campus consists of public land granted to the College for the sole scope of the running of the College. Hence, the Legal Office assists in safeguarding it as such. The Legal Office also assists in Planning issues including representations made to the Planning Authority as may be required.
- Policies & Procedures
The Legal Office plays an advisory role when it comes to the drafting of college policies and procedures. The main aim of the role is to ensure legal compliance in all of the College’s Policies and Procedures
The Protection of Minors Act (Chapter 518 of the Laws of Malta) requires institutions like the MCAST where the staff is in contact with minors to be vetted by the Courts prior to employment. Hence the Legal Office takes care of filing the said applications in Court and getting the required clearance from Court.
- Privacy & Confidentiality Issues
All information within the College should be safeguarded. Data processed may contain personal data or commercially sensitive data. In either case, non-disclosure is essential. Issues of Personal Data are managed by the Data Protection Office which the Legal Office may assist from time to time with legal advice. Where commercially sensitive data is concerned, the Legal Office manages a system of Non-Disclosure Agreements which ideally should be entered into between MCAST and any third party to whom data of any nature may be disclosed.
- Legal Advice as required
Apart from the roles outlined above, the Legal Office provides legal advice on a range of matters as they may arise on a day-to-day basis. These matters include Media Matters, Grievances reported to the Grievance office and situations as they may arise from time to time which could potentially legally expose the MCAST.