The GSD has accused the Gibraltar Government of being out of touch with the Gibraltar Court Service, the Judiciary and the members of the legal professional following the decision not to renew the contract of Supreme Court judge Adrian Jack.
“Instead the Government chooses yet again to blame the GSD when this is a problem of their making,” the GSD said in a statement.
This comes after the Chief Justice Anthony Dudley, in an unprecedented move, confirmed that he was seeking to persuade the Government to appoint a fourth judge and the Bar Council said it had not been consulted over the decision not to fund a fourth judge.
The GSD said: “The Government appears fixated with the past in its attempts to tarnish the achievements of the former GSD Government and by doing so they are failing to appreciate the real working demands of our modern Court Service.”
The statement by the Chief Justice is welcomed by all, the Opposition added.
“In addition the representative body lawyers, the Bar Council have confirmed that they have not been consulted on the decision not to fund a fourth judge.”
“The importance of those two statements cannot be underestimated and evidence how out of touch the Government are with the delivery of justice,” the GSD said.
“The Chief Justice was absolutely correct in his statement that our judiciary requires flexibility to be able to deal with peaks and troughs in cases that come before it.”
The GSD added that if Government is serious about encouraging business to establish themselves in Gibraltar and make it their home, the judiciary will need the support of a company/commercial judge in order to help it attract and retain that business.
“This fact coupled with the remarks of the Chairman of the Bar Council who highlighted at last year’s Opening of the Legal Year, the serious problem with ordinary working people accessing the justice system demonstrates the clear need to retain current judicial resource levels,” it said.
According to the GSD, Gibraltar’s courts need to be agile and flexible to adapt to the peaks and troughs of litigation.
“Not having that fourth resource available will in due course become acutely felt by our Court Service, our judiciary, our legal profession and most importantly the users of this essential service, the public.”
The GSD said it was “remarkable” that Justice Minister Neil Costa had not issued a response.
“This speaks volumes and the Minister must now explain in full the change of position by the Government and the circumstances leading to the non-renewal of Mr Jack’s contract.”
“The Minister for Justice swore an oath to protect the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and provide resources to our Courts and therefore he is duty bound to explain the reduction in judicial resources.”