Date: 14 September 2012 at 10:27
The speakers at this year’s Opening of the Legal Year have highlighted the completion of the Law Court project as one of the highlights of the year and an important development for Gibraltar’s legal system. Tribute was also paid to the Sir Alfred Vasquez and J E Triay QC, two senior members of the legal community who passed away this year.
The new law courts project represent a significant evolution of Gibraltar’s justice system, which was marked by the President of the Law Courts, Sir Paul Kennedy, as well as the Attornery General, Ricky Rhoda QC, and the Chairman of the Bar, Melo Triay. Sir Paul paid tribute to his predecessor, Sir Murray Stuart Smith, and his contribution to Gibraltar’s justice system. However, he lamented Sir Murray’s current situation which will now see him facing the issues raised by the disclosure of the Hillsborough disaster.
Congratulations were also in order for the new QCs appointed this year, although the newly appointed Chairman of the Bar said the appointment process had raised a number of controversial issues which were now being explored by the profession.
For his part, The Attorney General warned of the rising danger of identity theft, which could hit our shores as a result of the increase in the use of Facebook and internet banking. Speaking at the Opening of the Legal Year, Ricky Rhoda QC said this is a growing trend in the U.S.
Earlier in the morning, the opportunity was taken to officially open the completed Law Courts building. This was carried out by the Minister for Justice, Gilbert Licudi QC, in the presence of the Chief Minister and the President of the Gibraltar Courts, Sir Paul Kennedy.
The completed Law Courts now provide four Supreme Courts, two Magistrates’ Courts and a Coroners Court. Opening the new building, the Justice Minister said the facilities had allowed the Government to introduce a number of improvements to the Court service.
Earlier on, the annual Red Mass was held at the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned (see photo). Gibraltar's judges, many of our lawyers and Government officials working in the legal system gathered in a traditional ceremony that asked for guidance from the holy spirit for all seeking justice.