Sir Arturo Mercieca

1878 -1969

Chief Justice 1924-1940



Arturo Mercieca was born in Rabat, Gozo, Malta, on June 14, 1878. He was educated at the Gozo Seminary and at the University of Malta, graduating MA (1897) and LLD (1901). He pursued further studies in London and Rome (1902–1903).


Personal life


He was very active as a University student and through his initiative (principalmente per mia initiativa, he wrote many years later) he founded the COMITATO PERMANENTE UNIVERSITARIO "with a complete autonomous and independent character to provide it with full liberty of action". This eventually metamorphosed into the Kunsill Studenti Universitarji. This probably took place early in 1899.


Mercieca was called to the Bar in 1903 and practiced his profession between 1915 and 1919 when he was appointed assistant Crown Advocate. At the same time he was also appointed Professor of Commercial Law and History of Legislation. He was then appointed Crown Advocate and legal advisor to Her Majesty’s Forces (1919–21), Judge (1921-24), and Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal (1924–40). Because he was a member of the Maltese Italians community and strongly supported a pro-Italian stance, in 1940 he was forced to resign. Later, at the peak of the second World War, he was interned and deported to Uganda together with his wife Giuseppina, his daughter Lilian, and more than 60 other Maltese nationals.


Before his appointment as Assistant Crown Advocate, Mercieca had a full life of social and political activities. He was president of the Corda Fratres, the International Student Association (1894–1900); co-founder and president of the Giovine Malta (1895-1905); founder and editor of Malta Letteraria (1896–1907); secretary of the Partito Nazionale (1907–10); and secretary of the Associazione Politica Maltese (1904–1910).


Mercieca was elected member of the Council of Government from the Gozo district in 1907 and he represented the island on the Council between 1907 and 1910. He was counsel for the prosecution in courts martial; Chairman of the Control Board (1915–18); and President of the Special Tribunal (1939–40).


Mercieca was nominated Knight Bachelor (1926) and Knight of Magistral Grace, Sovereign Military Order of Malta (1920). He was president of the Historical Society (1920–25); member of the Accademia Storica Araldica of Athens (1957); Honorary President of the Società Dante Alighieri; and president Society of St Vincent de Paule (1919–62). In 1961 he was awarded the Medaglia d’Oro of the Italian Republic.


Mercieca married Giuseppina Tabone in 1908 and they had eight children: Albert, Tancred, Victor, Arturo, Anton, Adrian, Mari, and Lilian.


Mercieca is the only chief justice who wrote and published his autobiography, Le Mie Vicende (1964). His publications includes Sir Adrian Dingli in Italia, in Archivum Melitcnse X/3 (1938); Sir Adriano Dingli; sornmo statista, legislatore, magistrate, in Melita Histonca I/3, (1954); Stato e Chiesa in Malta, in Archivio Storico di Malta VII/1 (1935); Mons. Mifsud e il Matrimoni misti; due lettere inedite, in Lucema II/8 (1938); Canti dell'Esilio (undated); The Awakening (undated); Views and Reviews (undated); Canti dell'esilio (undated) and several other articles in local journals.