Firm Profile > GVZH Advocates > Valletta, Malta

GVZH Advocates

Malta > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

The commercial, corporate and M&A team at GVZH Advocates advises on all aspects of Maltese corporate structures for national and international clients including private equity funds, hospitality and automobile companies. The team is jointly led by managing partner Andrew ZammitKurt Hyzler and Luca Vella. Recently, the group has worked on several cross-border restructurings in a variety of sectors and as has assisted with the acquisitions of several local listed entities.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Zammit; Kurt Hyzler; Luca Vella

Key clients

Innotorg GmbH

AIG Europe SA

Holigen Limited

Horizon Capital LLP

Corsair Investments, L.P.

Plegt Vos

HV Hospitality Limited

AMT Advanced Maritime Transports SA

IHI p.l.c – Corinthia Group of Companies

Daimler AG

Cristina Romero- LOYRA ADOGADOS

UEFA Events SA

Malta > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Led by partners Karl Briffa and Joseph J. Vella, the litigation and arbitration practice at GVZH Advocates is primarily focused on commercial issues within a variety of sectors including energy, financial services, manufacturing, construction and aviation. The firm has continued its work representing the Corinthia Group, handling its initial measures and response to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as other disputes.

Practice head(s):

Karl Briffa; Joseph J Vella


Key clients

Corinthia Group of Companies

Hili Group of Companies

Tumas Group of Companies

Malta Gaming Authority

Maltapost PLC

Malta Financial Services Authority

Gasan Mamo Insurance Limited

Toly Products Limited

Taxmal Limited

Billion Holdings Limited


Malta > Intellectual property Tier 2

Led by Michael Grech, the team at GVZH Advocates handles the full spectrum of IP services, advising clients on technology and software-related issues, as well as trade mark, copyright and patent-related work for entertainment, fashion and manufacturing clients. Highlights included advising NBC on all IP-related matters for the local filming of Jurassic World and acting for Playmobil Malta in claiming damages for a breach of IP rights.

Practice head(s):

Michael Grech


‘Our company uses the services of GVZH. During the course of the past year, GVZH advised us on counterfeit related issues in the local market.’

‘GVZH are a professional law firm, with in-depth knowledge and experience in many fields including but not limited to intellectual property.’

‘We work with a variety of persons and levels within the firm, dependant on our requirements, and are satisfied with the level of knowledge and applicability that the firm has at its disposal.’

Key clients

Witty Technologies


Just Noise

L Brands – Victoria’s Secret

Playmobil Malta

3M Company

Malta Gaming Authority

Run It Once Limited

Dr Juice

Corinthia Hotels

Malta > Real estate Tier 2

The team at GVZH Advocates assists with a full range of commercial real estate matters, from the negotiation of long-term leases to the structuring of deals. It recently assisted SmartCity Malta with matters concerning a mixed-use project spread over 360,000m2. The practice is led by Karl Briffa, who is experienced in large-scale real estate transactions and the firm's chairman, Joseph J. Vella,

Practice head(s):

Karl Briffa; Joseph J. Vella

Key clients

SmartCity Malta Limited

Ray Demicoli & Associates

Residentials Limited

Mifsud Brothers (Estates) Limited

Corinthia Group of Companies

Tumas Group of Companies

AMT Advanced Maritime Transports SA

MRX Investments Limited

Equinox Ventures Limited

Malta > Aviation Tier 3

The 'organised and friendly' team at GVZH Advocates has seen a spike in business aviation transactions and has continued its work assisting international clients with obtaining their air operator certificates. The team is led by Michael Grech and includes senior associate Katrina Abela.

Practice head(s):

Michael Grech

Other key lawyers:

Katrina Abela


‘Very personal approach. Reachable at all times via common social networks.’

‘Katrina Abela: great cooperation.’

‘ Very competent people, well organised and friendly service. Well connected in the required areas they are offering their service.’

‘ Highly responsive and always focused on the issue.’

Key clients

Galistair Trading Limited

Mediterranean Coastal Airlines

TAG Aviation Malta Ltd

Air Charter Scotland Europe

Malta > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 3

Led by Andrew Zammit, the banking and finance team at GVZH Advocates is experienced in local capital markets work. The team offers a complete service to issuers seeking admission to listing. According to one client Luca Vella and Gianluca Falzon are ‘excellent’ and ‘the quality of service is extremely high and fairly priced'.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Zammit; Kurt Hyzler; Luca Vella

Other key lawyers:

Gianluca Falzon


‘I am always supported by the firm when needed and feel Luca Vella (Senior partner) and Gianluca Falzon (Associate) are always on hand to deal with any complex issues professionally. ’

‘Luca Vella and Gianluca Falzon are both excellent. The quality of service is extremely high and fairly priced. I feel they are part of our organisation.’

Key clients

GC Partners

Praxis Group Limited

Santander Bank Polska S.A.

Mediterranean Investments Holding PLC

SP Finance PLC

Hili Finance Company PLC

Endo Finance PLC / Nicholas Frendo

6PM Group

Malta > Fintech Tier 3

The practice at GVZH Advocates is regarded for its expertise in payments and financial services. The team is led by the ‘very responsive and business-mindedAndrew Zammit, Kurt Hyzler and Luca Vella. The group has recent expertise assisting with regulatory issues in the space.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Zammit; Kurt Hyzler; Luca Vella


‘Strong expertise in payments/financial services.’

‘Andrew Zammit – very responsive; business-minded, practical advice.’

Key clients


DNXCorp SE (Listed on Euronext Paris) and SysCapital Limited


Malta > Investment funds Tier 3

The team at GVZH Advocates assists industry operators with the legal and regulatory formalities involved in setting up in Malta as well as providing on-going compliance and operational advice. Led by Kurt Hyzler, who is experienced in investment funds, financial services regulation and banking and finance transactions, the firm's clients include SEB Investment Management, TRW Phoenix Sicav and Ana Balat.

Practice head(s):

Kurt Hyzler

Key clients

SEB Investment Management AB

TRW Phoenix Sicav plc

Hottinger Group

Ana Balat Ltd

Capaneo Investments Sicav plc

Malta > Shipping Tier 3

The shipping practice at GVZH Advocates predominantly handles superyacht registration, purchasing, sale, financing and re-financing transactions. The team is led by Michael Grech  with the support of Katrina Abela.

Practice head(s):

Michael Grech

Other key lawyers:

Katrina Abela

Key clients

Sardaleasing S.p.A

Credemleasing S.p.A

Wind Service – Simone’ Saccon

Malta > Private client Tier 4

The private client practice at GVZH Advocates assists both individuals and businesses with their relocation to Malta. The firm works in collaboration with Fragomen LLP helping a number of high-net-worth individuals with their relocation. The practice is led by Andrew Zammit  and Karl Briffa.

Practice head(s):

Karl Briffa; Andrew Zammit

Key clients

Fragomen LLP

The firm: GVZH Advocates is a modern and sophisticated legal practice comprised of top-tier professionals, firmly rooted in decades of experience in the Maltese legal landscape. Built on the values of acumen, integrity and clarity, we are dedicated to providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction, making sure that legal solutions are not only soundly rooted and rigorously tested, but also meticulously implemented. The firm understands that today’s business environment requires legal advisors that have both skills and expertise geared towards effectively addressing specific and technical issues in the context of complex projects, transactions and disputes. It is through the contribution of these skills and expertise in an accurate and timely manner, that GVZH Advocates, as a forward-looking firm, looks to cement long-term and meaningful relationships with clients and partners. The firm is regularly involved in cross-border transactions, tapping into a wide network of international consultants, all experts in their respective field, ensuring seamless, timely and quality advice.

GVZH Advocates now consists of 24 lawyers, covering the following practice areas: aviation; banking and finance; citizenship and residence; competition/antitrust regulations; corporate and M&A; culture and entertainment; data protection; employment and industrial relations law; financial service regulations; hospitality; i-gaming; insolvency; intellectual property; litigation and arbitration; prevention of money laundering; projects and public procurement; real estate; shipping; tax; technology, media and telecommunications; trusts, foundations and voluntary organisations and yachting.

Areas of practice
Aviation, shipping and yachting: the firm provides solutions for aircraft, yacht and super-yacht owners, financiers and managers while representing some of the industry’s leading players.

Banking and finance: advising lenders, issuers and borrowers on leveraged and acquisition finance, corporate finance, structured finance, asset finance and leasing, aircraft finance, security trusts, capital markets, project finance, real estate finance, investment funds, asset management operations and securitisation vehicles.

Citizenship and residence: the firm provides a comprehensive advisory and administrative service in respect of residence permits, work permits and visa formalities.

Corporate and M&A: GVZH acts as lead counsel in various M&A transactions in various sectors including pharmaceuticals, financial services, telecommunications, remote gaming and payment institutions.

Employment/industrial relations: GVZH Advocates provides an array of employment-related solutions (contracts of service, dismissals, redundancies, transfers of employees between undertakings, equal treatment in the workplace and the implementation of appropriate systems and procedures for clients’ HR).

Intellectual property: the firm advises on developing legal strategies to maximise and protect the commercial potential of brands, ideas and technological advances.

Litigation and arbitration: legal services rendered to the company in connection with high-profile litigation concerning corporate governance measures, minority rights issues and related matters.

Real estate: advising on the sale and purchase of commercial and residential property, financing, real estate funds, property development, leasing and portfolio management.

Tax: GVZH Advocates has particular strength advising on novel and complex issues in the corporate finance, personal finance, structured finance, financial services and real estate sectors.

Technology, media and telecommunications: GVZH advises on all aspects in the areas of TM: intellectual property, data protection and freedom of information, licensing and regulations of various e-commerce models including remote gaming operators.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and finance Dr Luca Vella 00356 2122 8888
Citizenship and residence Dr Karl Briffa 00356 2122 8888
Competition/antitrust regulations Dr Gayle Kimberley 00356 2122 8888
Corporate and M&A Dr Andrew Zammit 00356 2122 8888
Culture and entertainment Dr Andrew Zammit 00356 2122 8888
Data protection Dr Annabel Hili 00356 2122 8888
Employment and industrial relations Dr Karl Briffa 00356 2122 8888
Financial service regulations Dr Kurt Hyzler 00356 2122 8888
Hospitality Dr Joseph J Vella 00356 2122 8888
iGaming Dr Andrew Zammit 00356 2122 8888
Insolvency Dr Andrew Zammit 00356 2122 8888
Intellectual property Dr Michael Grech 00356 2122 8888
Litigation and arbitration Dr Karl Briffa 00356 2122 8888
Prevention of money laundering Dr Andrew Zammit 00356 2122 8888
Projects and public procurement Dr Joseph J Vella 00356 2122 8888
Real estate Dr Karl Briffa 00356 2122 8888
Shipping Dr Michael Grech 00356 2122 8888
Tax Josef Cardona 00356 2122 8888
Technology media and communications (TMT) Dr Andrew Zammit 00356 2122 8888
Trusts, foundations and voluntary organisations Dr Andrew Zammit 00356 2122 8888
Yachting Dr Michael Grech 00356 2122 8888
Photo Name Position Profile
Dr Jonathan Abela  photo Dr Jonathan Abela Tax Advisor
Dr Gianluca Barbieri  photo Dr Gianluca Barbieri Tax Associate
Dr Karl Briffa  photo Dr Karl Briffa Partner
Dr Ann Bugeja  photo Dr Ann Bugeja Senior Associate
Dr Jeanelle Cachia  photo Dr Jeanelle Cachia Senior Associate
Dr Katia Cachia  photo Dr Katia Cachia Associate
Mr Josef Cardona  photo Mr Josef Cardona General Manager
Dr Danica Decesare photo Dr Danica Decesare Associate
Dr Gianluca Falzon  photo Dr Gianluca Falzon Advocate
Dr Nico Fauser  photo Dr Nico Fauser
Dr Nicola Fenech Conti  photo Dr Nicola Fenech Conti Advocate
Dr Albert Grech  photo Dr Albert Grech Senior Partner
Dr Kurt Hyzler  photo Dr Kurt Hyzler Partner
Dr Catherine Janula photo Dr Catherine Janula Associate
Dr Gayle KImberley  photo Dr Gayle KImberley Senior Associate
Dr Jackie Mallia photo Dr Jackie Mallia Consultant
Dr Aleandro Mifsud photo Dr Aleandro Mifsud Advocate
Dr Cynthia Portelli  photo Dr Cynthia Portelli Associate
Dr Luca Vella  photo Dr Luca Vella Partner
Dr Joseph J. Vella  photo Dr Joseph J. Vella Chairman & Partner
Dr Amanda Vella  photo Dr Amanda Vella Associate
Dr Andrew J Zammit  photo Dr Andrew J Zammit Managing Partner
Number of lawyers : 28
Employment Law Alliance (ELA)
LNI International
International Bar Association (IBA)
International Trade Mark Association (INTA)
International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL)

Strength in Diversity

At GVZH, diversity is an integral part of our culture and identity. Whether related to gender, ethnicity, citizenship age, sexual orientation, or any other aspect which makes individuals truly unique and individual, and mindful of people’s right to a private life, inclusion is the approach we take towards our personal differences, creating an environment where all our professionals and staff can feel comfortable being authentic and empowered to succeed. We recognise that diversity makes us a healthier organisation which contributes towards attracting outstanding talent to drive creativity and innovation and deliver the best experience for our clients.

As part of our People Strategy, we seek to create a workforce which is broadly reflective of the larger community. We are fully committed to ensure that our people are supported in capitalising on their skills and capabilities in an inclusive manner. We foster a welcoming environment which recognises and respects everyone for their unique characteristics, experiences, and skills, providing advancement opportunities to people of different backgrounds and perspectives to be represented in leadership positions within the organisation.  The organisation offers flexible working arrangements aimed at achieving a good work-life balance for our people.

We also recognise the abilities and unique talents of individuals living with a disability, and seek to identify key roles to enable them to contribute towards the organisation’s purpose and objectives.

Recognising that a diverse team makes us stronger and more effective to move forward, together, it remains a paramount commitment for GVZH to maintain an open, respectable, and inclusive workplace.

Andrew J Zammit, Managing Partner

Andrew J Zammit discusses GVZH Advocates’ on-going initiatives to modernise and streamline its operations to keep synchronised with the exigencies of today’s fast-moving business exigencies.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate GVZH from your competitors?

GVZH enjoys a legacy of almost 80 years in the Maltese legal landscape, resulting from several strategic mergers. As a leading full-service firm, the depth and breadth of our expertise places us amongst the top professional services firms in Malta.

The firm’s values are based on effective teamwork, curiosity, open communication and innovation. These values, which have recently been updated to reflect the firm’s transformation over the past 5 years, form the foundations of the deep-rooted relationships that we develop with our clients, making us true strategic partners.

Whilst working closely with business leaders and entrepreneurs places us in a privileged position, it also requires us to be tuned-in to several macro- and micro-level issues: understanding the dynamics of the industries we are active in, and keeping each client’s risk-gearing clearly in mind. The development of these skills has enabled us to garner the trust and confidence that is central to any meaningful professional relationship.


GVZH is also actively engaged by several international firms, ranging from magic circle firms to smaller boutique practices, providing them with both technical and practical insight on any Malta-facing issues. Our active participation in several worldwide networks also provide us with cross-border capabilities which significantly boosts our offering.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Mergers and acquisition transactions, leveraged financing and the public listing of debt and equity securities represent the core activities of GVZH. Whilst mergers and acquisitions and leveraged finance activity maintained a very high level of activity throughout 2020, in 2021 we have experienced a marked surge in acquisitions driven primarily by distressed asset opportunities, and also strategic consolidation in the context of the COVID pandemic. Capital market activity in Malta experienced a significant disruption in 2020, partly due to concerns caused by the pandemic, but also due to a reorganisation of the Listing

Authority. We expect this activity to pick up significantly throughout 2021, which should give our capital markets team several new mandates throughout 2021.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Over the past 5 years the firm has undergone a significant transformation. Our main investments have been focused on technology, streamlining of processes and training. In 2021 we received ISO 9001 certification for specific parts of our management processes, and this marks a significant milestone for the organisation as we continue to automate administrative tasks and workflows. The efficiencies gained from this exercise have already begun to bear fruit, enabling our professionals to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, dedicating their energies towards more value-added functions in the course of their day, ultimately to the client’s benefit.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Technology lies at the core of our strategy as an organisation. Indeed, the working from home arrangements driven by the COVID pandemic in 2020 created little disruption to our operation since our secure cloud-based systems had been rolled out in the first half of 2019. The most significant change in behaviour that we have seen is that which has been universally experienced across industries – online meetings have all but replaced face-to-face meetings with clients and correspondent firms, saving everyone significant amounts of precious time. This fundamental change in the way we communicate within the organisation and outside it has undoubtedly enabled us to respond client exigencies quicker and more effectively. Insofar as our services are concerned, the development and centralisation of our internal knowledge systems have also borne fruit with significant positive feedback being received from clients and correspondent firms.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

As an advisory firm we tend to develop a position of trust with our long-standing clients. This position enables us to take on a pro-active role in identifying risks and opportunities that, most importantly, are relevant to their specific business strategy. By way of example, we are regularly approached by clients to assist them with identifying potential strategic targets and wider investment opportunities or, on the other hand, to identify a potential purchaser for specific assets or business-line. Whilst this is not a service that we offer as a firm, and fully mindful of the correct ethical handling of such situations, we have regularly connected prospective investors with prospective target opportunities, some of which have emerged into hugely successful businesses. Our position of trust also brings a corresponding duty, and 2020 was certainly the acid test of our commitment to clients that faced some seriously distressful situations, enabling us to avoid or contain the damage to their business as a result of the adverse economic environment.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

It is evident from our dealings with clients that the stability and strategic direction of the professional organisations that they work with represent key elements to support the on-going rapport. In today’s fast-moving world, an environment where clients can find a “safe haven” to discuss their legal and regulatory challenges and seek reliable advice to guide them through their difficulties is certainly the sort of value that we strive to offer. Moreover, our culture of continuous improvement creates a constant feedback loop, enabling us to learn from each individual outcome of our collective performance.

In the next 3 years we expect to leverage off the investments that have begun over the past years, embracing deeper technological change to support our administrative processes and take further steps to broaden our approach towards mentoring and life-long learning. We are driven to continue excelling in our core areas of expertise by creating a modern, sophisticated and open platform for ambitious professionals to reach their full potential, both on a personal and on a professional level.

An Analysis of The Essential Elements Required For The Issuing of a Warrant of Prohibitory Injunction.

On the 26th July 2021, the First Hall, Civil Court, presided by Hon. Judge Audrey Demicoli, in the case “Moon Pay Limited vs. the Malta Financial Services Authority” (‘MFSA’), delivered its final decree in relation to a request filed by the applicant company for the issuing of a warrant of prohibitory injunction, to prevent the MFSA from publishing a decision which it had taken against the applicant company. In its decision, the Court delved into certain requirements which must be satisfied in order for such a warrant to be issued, as well as the manner in which these requirements are to be interpreted.

GVZH Advises Epic Communications On Tower Spin-Off

GVZH is proud to have advised Epic Communications Limited on the Maltese tax and corporate aspects of the sale of 100% of its passive telecommunications infrastructure to Phoenix Tower International (PTI), established an operator of high quality wireless infrastructure sites around the world.

Malta Gaming Authority publishes Guidance Document on Brexit Impact

The Malta Gaming Authority (“MGA”) has published a guidance note (“Guidelines”) laying out the impact that the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) exit from the European Union (“EU”) will have on regulatory affairs within the remit of the MGA. These Guidelines apply to entities established in Malta and operating in the UK, with a UK licence but without a Maltese Licence, or entities established in the UK providing services and supplies within Malta.

GVZH Advocates appoints new Partners

Dr Luca Vella and Dr Kurt Hyzler have been admitted as Partners of GVZH Advocates within the firm’s Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions, Capital Markets, Banking and Finance and Financial Services Industry practice groups.

Dr. Katrina Abela selected as an Advocacy Committee member of the European Business Aviation Associa

GVZH Advocates is delighted to announce that senior associate Katrina Abela has been selected as a member of the first Advocacy Committee of the European Business Aviation Association.

Temporary Work Permits

It has been recently announced that Identity Malta would reduce the application time of a single work permit by weeks, by allowing foreign workers to start working (on a temporary basis) as soon as their application was approved.

Introduction of new MGA Regulatory Framework moves to 1st August 2018

Further to the notification of the draft legal framework regulating gaming in Malta through the Technical Regulation Information System, a Detailed Opinion has been issued by a Member State in relation to the current draft of the Gaming Authorisations Regulations (the “Regulations”) and the European Commission and another Member State have also issued comments in relation to the various proposed legislative instruments.

Malta Ahead of the Game: Three cryptocurrency and blockchain Bills passed the second reading stage

During a conference organised by the Malta Institute of Management, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri, announced that the three crypto-related bills, namely the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill, the Innovation Technological Arrangements and Services Bill, and the Virtual Financial Assets Bill will pass through the second reading in Parliament, and in fact yesterday evening the Maltese Parliament finalised the second reading stage. The bills will now move on to the committee stage and then on to the third reading stage. Once the third reading in parliament is concluded the bills will then be presented to the President of Malta for her assent and become law.

Extension of the Special Designated Areas

By virtue of Legal Notice 181 of 2018, the list of Special Designated Areas has been extended to now include the Southridge Development in Mellieha.

In terms of Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta, the following table would need to be followed for the acquisition of immovable property in Malta:

Deduction for Transportation Cost of Employees Rules

At the end of February, the Deduction for Transportation Cost of Employees Rules were published through LN67 of 2018. These rules shall apply with respect to transportation costs incurred for the transport of employees as from the year of assessment 2018. These rules shall remain in effect up to the year of assessment 2020.

VAT Grouping Regulations

By Virtue of L.N. 162, the newly implemented VAT Grouping regulations shall come into force as of 1st June 2018. VAT Grouping will enable members of a VAT Group to avoid irrecoverable VAT due on charges made between such members. Applicants forming the VAT Group will be required to be bound by financial, economic and organisational links. Moreover, one of the applicants within the VAT Group must be a taxable person who is licensed or recognised by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) or the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

Deduction for Transportation Cost of Employees Rules

At the end of February, the Deduction for Transportation Cost of Employees Rules were published through LN67 of 2018. These rules shall apply with respect to transportation costs incurred for the transport of employees as from the year of assessment 2018. These rules shall remain in effect up to the year of assessment 2020.

Notional Interest Deduction (NID) Rules

By virtue of Legal Notice 37 of 2018, the Maltese government introduced the Notional Interest Deduction (NID) Rules. Traditionally, businesses operating in Malta finance their operation via debt, given that interest is a deductible taxable expense. On the other hand, equity funded business do not have a corresponding deduction and hence the NID aims to equate the tax treatment of debt and equity by allowing the deduction of a notional interest over equity.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) Publishes Industry Guidelines on the General Data Protection Regula

In anticipation of the coming into force of the GDPR, the MGA, in consultation with the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (“IDPC”) has issued a guidance document which intends to provide B2C licensees with guidance on the processing of personal data carried out throughout the course of their gaming service operations.