Legal Framework

The judicial system in Gibraltar is based on the adversarial system of law and follows the three tiers of English legal principles - statu

te, common law and rules of equity. As in most countries, the legislature, in the form of the House of Assembly, passes all laws. Most laws, which take the form of local Acts, are applied by the application of English Law Act. European Community Law is also applicable in Gibraltar. Relevant EU directives are transposed into local law.

The legal profession in Gibraltar is a fused profession, meaning that both barristers and solicitors carry out similar work, with either profession being able to deal with a matter from its inception through to a court hearing. Cases do not have to be referred to barristers by a solicitor, the former being able to obtain instructions directly from clients.

The majority of local barristers and solicitors are trained in England. The Admissions and Disciplinary Committee, appointed by the Chief Justice pursuant to the Supreme Court Act, is responsible for the discipline of both barristers and solicitors. Many law firms in Gibraltar can offer legal advice on IT, telecoms and e-commerce such as jurisdiction, data protection, copyright, consumer protection, contracts, design, hosting and domain name issues among others.

The Electronic Commerce Act 2001

The Electronic Commerce Act 2001 was passed by the House of Assembly on Monday 5th March 2001 and became law on the 22nd March 2001.

The legislation facilitates the use of electronic means for transmitting and storing information and affords legal recognition to transactions effected electronically. It also provides a framework for the accreditation of electronic signatures and determines the activities and liability of service providers. The enactment of the Act is a very important step in establishing Gibraltar as a favourable location for e-business activities and places Gibraltar as one of the few international jurisdictions to have Electronic Commerce Act legislation in place.