Gibraltar: The Legal Profession
Structure and Regulation of the Legal Profession
Gibraltar has a fused legal profession so that barristers and solicitors enjoy the same rights and privileges as regards appearances in court and direct contact with clients. The profession is regulated under the Supreme Court Ordinance (the 'Ordinance'). The Chief Justice may approve admit and enrol as barristers any persons who have been admitted as barristers in England or Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland or as advocates in the Court of Session in Scotland.
Likewise in the case of solicitors any persons who have been admitted as solicitors of the Supreme Court of Judicature in England or any Court of Record in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland or a solicitor in administrative practice in Scotland may also act as barristers.
The Bar Council regulates the profession and is closely associated with its English counterpart.
In August, 2004, the government announced that it had partially transposed into local law a European Union Directive, 2001/19, on mutual recognition of professional qualifications. This was achieved through the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Ordinance (amendment) Ordinance 2003 passed in the House of Assembly on 28 July 2003.
The Ordinance provides that the rules prescribed from time to time by the Bar Council and the Law Society in England in regard to the professional conduct of barristers and solicitors apply in Gibraltar, unless modified by the Chief Justice.
In practice the English barristers' or solicitors' rules apply depending whether a Gibraltarian lawyer is deemed to be acting in a barrister's or solicitor's role.
The Ordinance gives the Chief Justice extensive powers to suspend, reprimand, fine, investigate or strike off barristers or solicitors.
The Barrister and Solicitors Rules provide for the establishment of an Admissions and Disciplinary Committee.
Rule 7 provides that:
- Any complaint of the conduct of a barrister or solicitor in his professional capacity shall be in writing and shall be addressed to the Registrar
- The Registrar shall lay the complaint before the committee; and
- Furnish the barrister or solicitor concerned with a copy of such complaint.