Dr. Peter Carbonaro - Notary

Although Dr. Carbonaro lives in Sliema, his family is deep rooted in Valletta. His office on Old Treasury street in Valletta has been used by his family for 3 generations. His grandfather died in 1929 when there was very little social services around.  “It was a time of great hardship just before the crash,” he proclaims.  He left a widow and 3 very young children.  In 1954, his father graduated from University and succeeded in the legal business up until he died suddenly in 1990 which is when Peter took over the office.

A notary in Malta is different from the type of Notary found in the US and Canada. Here a notary is a general lawyer that can do anything such as the involvement in selling a property, liquidation of estates – essentially everything that does not require an appearance in the courts for litigation purposes. Dr. Carbonaro didn’t want to enter the legal field. He wanted to do everything except the law. At the time when he was in university, there were not a whole lot of options to him so he was “generally” pushed in this direction. He got set in his ways to he stayed put.

On the wall, there are transfers dating back to 1910.  He has even had requests that he needed to pull from a bound book from 1923. To my eyes, it’s lovely nostalgia but is a complete working office with all the visible elements. The original transfer records were all kept at Government Archives in Valletta but unfortunately the archives received a direct hit by an enemy bomb and most of the records were destroyed. So the records he has pre WWII are the only ones that exist. Marriage contracts, sale of a boat, – everything was done by Notaries in those days.  “The Notaries of Malta are the most trusted branch of the legal profession”.

Pictures on the wall are from Valletta in 1890.  There is one picture of the parish church of Zejtun on his wall.  He says he does a lot of work there and when people from Zejtun come to his office in Valletta, they find the picture comforting.  He also has a picture of a graduating class from 1910.  In the photo is his grandfather as well as his wife’s grandfather.

During his youth, he fondly remembers the Independence Riots, Easter devotions and running around to various offices with his day. He loves working in Valletta.  It’s “the buzz” as he puts it. He has his favourite places for coffee such as Caffe Cordina where they get his drink ready as soon as they see him.  For lunch, it’s whatever strikes his fancy. He sees himself doing this until he dies.

Excerpt from: “Valletta – A Personal City Guide by 8 tourist guides from Malta” Midsea books


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