Gibraltar's Legal System
Gibraltar’s current legal system dates to 1740 and largely reflects that of the England and Wales.
Title and jurisdiction over the territory were vested in the British Crown by the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. It is a self-governing British Overseas Territory.
The Common Law and rules of equity apply.
The Gibraltar Parliament has full legislative powers except for foreign affairs and defence. Most enactments are modelled on UK equivalents.
Gibraltar is part of the EU, having joined the European Economic Community under the United Kingdom in 1973. Article 355(3) (ex Article 299(4)) applies the treaty to "the European territories for whose external relations a Member State is responsible", a provision which in practice only applies to Gibraltar. Although part of the EU, it is outside the customs union and VAT area and is exempted from the Common Agricultural Policy and is not form part of the Schengen Area. As a separate jurisdiction to the UK, Gibraltar's government and parliament are responsible for the transposition of EU law into local law.
Our Court system largely follows that of England and Wales. A Magistrates’ Court predominantly deals with criminal and administrative matters.
The Supreme Court is the equivalent of the High Court and Crown Court in England and Wales and deals with all civil actions as well serious criminal matters which fall out of the remit of the Magistrates’ Court. The first appellate court is the Court of Appeal which comprises retired judges of the English Court of Appeal. Further appeals can in certain circumstances be taken to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London and where appropriate, references can be made to the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.
The practice and procedure used in civil and criminal matters largely reflects the practice and procedure used in England and Wales.
The legal profession in Gibraltar is fused, barristers can act as solicitors and solicitors have full rights of audience in all local courts.
The lawyers at Charles A. Gomez & Co our barristers and solicitors have an intimate knowledge of local law and procedure and regularly represent parties in all of Gibraltar’s courts.