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Legal Year Opening 2010

May 2011

Chairman of the Gibraltar Bar Council and a senior partner at Hassans International Law Firm, David Dumas QC delivered his address to the Court at the recent opening of the Legal Year 2010. The traditional ceremony was held on the 22nd September in the Garrison Library, an historic change of venue due to the significant works at the Supreme Court and Magistrates’ Court complex.

In fact, the very comprehensive refurbishment and rebuilding works will result in four rather than one Supreme Court room and three rather than one Magistrates’ Court. The expansion of the Supreme Court is required partly because of the very marked increase in all types of litigation including commercial litigation over the last 10-15 years or so, itself largely a by-product of Gibraltar’s stature as a finance centre.

Very importantly it provides Gibraltar’s Chief Justice and two Puisne Judges with a permanent courtroom each: the appointment of the Second Puisne Judge also being a first-time necessary and welcome addition to the judiciary, in view of the workload.

Among many topics covered in the QC’s address, was the newly structured Court Service which comes into effect on the 1st October. Both administrations of the Supreme and Magistrates’ Courts plan to work together to provide improved service and to be established jointly. Whilst the actual operation is still to be worked out and assessed, David Dumas QC said the Bar approached the new regime in a positive way.
Changes in the law were also addressed, such as reviews of the Companies Act and a review of the law relating to personal and corporate insolvency to modernise those laws.

The new prison was also highlighted with its improved capabilities to house female and juvenile inmates.

The Chairman of the Bar closed his speech with the mention of the retirement of Clive Mendez who has given long and loyal service to the courts at all levels of their administration, as well as a note of regret at the passing away of Bernard Vaughan a barrister of many years of experience.

Present at the proceedings were a number of distinguished guests including the Chief Minister, Governor Sir Adrian Johns, Bishop Heskett and the Justice Minister. The Chairman finished in the traditional way of seconding the Attorney General’s motion that the legal year be opened.


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