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Last update: 19-08-2004
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Alternative dispute resolution - Gibraltar

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

First of all, from a general perspective, these are the different types of ADR in Gibraltar? First of all, from a general perspective, these are the different types of ADR in Gibraltar?
Ombudsmen Ombudsmen
Regulators Regulators
Arbitration Arbitration
You may in most of the situations have recourse to one or the other of these different types of ADR. To get more information, please select in the list hereafter the situation in which you find yourself: You may in most of the situations have recourse to one or the other of these different types of ADR. To get more information, please select in the list hereafter the situation in which you find yourself:
Conflicts between consumers and businesses Conflicts between consumers and businesses
Conflicts between businesses Conflicts between businesses
Conflicts between employees and employers Conflicts between employees and employers
Conflicts between landlords and tenants Conflicts between landlords and tenants
Family conflicts Family conflicts
Conflicts between individuals Conflicts between individuals
Other specific situations (eg relations with public authorities, health services, solicitors, notaries etc) Other specific situations (eg relations with public authorities, health services, solicitors, notaries etc)

 

First of all, from a general perspective, these are the different types of ADR in Gibraltar?

Ombudsmen

Ombudsmen { There is an Ombudsman scheme in existence to deal with complaints from the public about certain public bodies. The present Ombudsman scheme was created by statute.

Regulators

Arbitration { Arbitration is in many ways an alternative form of court with procedural rules which govern issues such as disclosure of documents and evidence, much like in court - the main difference is that arbitration is private rather than public.

Arbitration

Mediation { Mediation has recently been introduced to Gibraltar and gives the party or parties in dispute the opportunity to reach a settlement without a court hearing and with the assistance of an independent third party : the mediator.

You may in most of the situations have recourse to one or the other of these different types of ADR. To get more information, please select in the list hereafter the situation in which you find yourself:

Conflicts between consumers and businesses

As already explained in "Alternative Dispute Resolutions - Community law", the European Commission has published on its website the list of a large number of ADR bodies for resolving consumer disputes in all the Member States. You will find in this list the practical information you need to decide whether to have recourse to one of these ADR schemes: its structure, its domain, the kind of procedure it follows, its cost and details.

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It may well be that you need to have recourse to an ADR body established in another Member State. To know precisely which body to go to, you may consult the web pages of the EEJ-Net or of the FIN-NET in case of a conflict concerning financial services.

Consumers in Gibraltar faced with an unresolved dispute over goods or services have a range of routes they could choose to pursue. Contacting the trader or business directly is the way many complaints are resolved before they become disputes. There are sources of help and advice, particularly from the recently established Citizens Advice Bureau and the Consumer Affairs Department. Some consumer/business problems may also be referred to the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses or even the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce. Consumers may be required to use a trader's complaints procedure, where one exists, before proceeding to another form of dispute resolution.

Other sources of help and information include:
  • Consumer Affairs Department

    This new department has the power to investigate complaints about false or misleading descriptions or pricing, weights and measures, consumer credit and consumer goods. They can be contacted via email at conaffairs@gibnynex.gi.

  • Citizens Advice Bureau

    The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide consumer advice and information free of charge and is open to everyone. They can be contacted via email at info@cab.gi.

  • Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses

    This Federation may be of limited assistance to consumers. They can be contacted via email at gfsb@gfsb.gi.

  • Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce

    The Chamber of Commerce could provide assistance in relation to trading practices.

Conflicts between businesses

In Gibraltar, parties who decide to use ADR to settle their dispute can select mediation as a method of solving their dispute. While ADR is not compulsory, clauses providing for ADR in contracts are binding as long as they are specific. As in England and Wales, the Civil Procedure Rules provide for the judiciary to encourage the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in appropriate cases. However, the extra-judicial procedures are not themselves governed by law. The availability of arbitration is governed by statutory law.

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Legal advice should be sought before using alternative dispute resolution in the context of a possible mediation. It is also advisable to ensure that a proposed mediator is accredited. Any particular terms required, such as confidentiality clauses, should be agreed between the parties and the mediator at the outset.

There are currently no facilities to conduct ADR by electronic means.

ADR such as mediation, is not free of charge. Expenses are normally shared between the parties in the dispute. Currently, legal aid is not available for ADR.

If the dispute cannot be resolved, the parties can still have recourse to the Courts of Gibraltar. Limitation periods still continue to run whilst ADR is being pursued.

Resolution

This can take the form of a decision or agreement by the parties depending on the form of ADR used. In a mediation, either a formal contract can be drawn up by the parties' lawyers or a memorandum of agreement can be prepared by the mediator.

Arbitration is a binding process and parties who opt for it cannot subsequently go to court, except on very limited appeal grounds. For other ADR settlements, the parties retain the right to go to court if the other side fails to implement the agreed settlement. If the settlement is drawn up as a contractual agreement, the remedy would be to sue for breach of contract.

Conflicts between employees and employers

Some workplaces have formal grievance procedures covering all employees and employers. Grievances from employees invariably go though the relevant trade union who may act as a go-between. Grievances requiring more formal action may end up in the Industrial Tribunal, for example, in the case of an alleged unfair dismissal.

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Conflicts between landlords and tenants

ADR is suitable for disputes of this nature. However, recourse is normally to the courts of Gibraltar. Arbitration may be available if written into the lease or tenancy agreement. Seeking the assistance of a pressure group such as Action for Housing may be of limited effect. Strongly contested disputes invariably end up in court.

Family conflicts

This is not an area in which there is ADR in Gibraltar as yet. Family conflicts are invariably referred to the courts. Matters involving divorces and subsidiary matters arising from a divorce fall within the remit of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar. Other disputes not arising out of the context of a divorce may also be referred to the Magistrates' Court of Gibraltar, where the matter may also be resolved.

Conflicts between individuals

In Gibraltar, parties who decide to use ADR to settle their dispute can select mediation as a method of ADR, depending on the source of the dispute. While ADR is not compulsory, clauses providing for ADR in contracts are binding as long as they are specific. As in England and Wales, the Civil Procedure Rules provide for the judiciary to encourage the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in appropriate cases. However, the extra-judicial procedures are governed by contract law.

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Legal advice should be sought before using alternative dispute resolution in the context of a possible mediation. It is also advisable to ensure that a proposed mediator is accredited. Any particular terms required, such as confidentiality clauses, should be agreed between the parties and the mediator at the outset.

There are currently no facilities to conduct ADR by electronic means.

ADR such as mediation, is not free of charge. Expenses are normally shared between the parties in the dispute. Currently, legal aid is not available for ADR.

If the dispute cannot be resolved, the parties can still have recourse to the Courts of Gibraltar. Limitation periods still continue to run whilst ADR is being pursued. It is advisable to arrange the ADR at the same time as taking the necessary steps to comply with the court timetable. If the dispute is already in the court process, the court can suspend the court process to allow time to resolve the dispute through ADR.

Resolution

This can take the form of a decision or agreement by the parties depending on the form of ADR used. In a mediation, either a formal contract can be drawn up by the parties' lawyers or a memorandum of agreement can be prepared by the mediator.

The parties retain the right to go to court if the other side fails to implement the agreed settlement. If the settlement is drawn up as a contractual agreement, the remedy would be to sue for breach of contract.

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Other specific situations (eg relations with public authorities, health services, solicitors, notaries etc)

A number of schemes exist to help resolve disputes between individuals and authorities and professionals. A list of organisations, including their functions, follows at the end of this section. The list is not exhaustive. Where no established scheme exists, parties who decide to use ADR to settle their dispute can select a method and a provider of their own choosing, depending on the source of the dispute. While ADR is not compulsory, clauses providing for ADR in contracts are binding as long as they are specific. The Civil Procedure Rules provide for the judiciary to encourage the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in appropriate cases. However, the extra-judicial procedures are not themselves governed by law except for the Ombudsman and arbitration schemes.

Legal advice should be sought before using alternative dispute resolution in the context of a possible mediation. It is also advisable to ensure that a proposed mediator is accredited. Any particular terms required, such as confidentiality clauses, should be agreed between the parties and the mediator at the outset.

There are currently no facilities to conduct ADR by electronic means.

ADR such as mediation, is not free of charge. Expenses are normally shared between the parties in the dispute. Currently, legal aid is not available for ADR.

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If the dispute cannot be resolved, the parties can still have recourse to the Courts of Gibraltar. Limitation periods still continue to run whilst ADR is being pursued.

Resolution

This can take the form of a decision or agreement by the parties depending on the form of ADR used. In a mediation, either a formal contract can be drawn up by the parties' lawyers or a memorandum of agreement can be prepared by the mediator.

Arbitration is a binding process and parties who opt for it cannot subsequently go to court, except on very limited appeal grounds. For other ADR settlements, the parties retain the right to go to court if the other side fails to implement the agreed settlement. If the settlement is drawn up as a contractual agreement, the remedy would be to sue for breach of contract.

List of Schemes

This list is not exhaustive.

  • Office of the Ombudsman - There is currently only one Ombudsman scheme in Gibraltar for complaints regarding public services.
  • The Admissions and Disciplinary Committee - This handles complaints about the conduct of barristers and solicitors in their professional capacity. Complaints should be made in writing to the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar. The Committee consists of three members, the chairman of which is the Attorney General.
  • Police Complaints Board - This deals with complaints made towards the Royal Gibraltar Police. The office is situated at 10 Governor's Lane, Gibraltar. The report, allegation or complaint should be lodged with the secretary to the Police Complaints Board, who then passes on the complaint to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, triggering an investigation.

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Last update: 19-08-2004

 
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