European Commission > EJN > Procedural time limits > Gibraltar

Last update: 21-03-2007
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Procedural time limits - Gibraltar

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in civil matters. 1.
2. List of the various days envisaged as non-working days pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971. 2.
3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures? 3.
4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out within a given period, what is the starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality? 4.
4.a) Can the starting point from which the period runs be affected or modified by the method of transmission or service of documents (personal service by a huissier or postal service? 4.a)
5. From when does this period begin to run: 5.
5.a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation which begins it count? 5.a)
5.b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days? 5.b)
5.c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years?; 5.c)
5.d) When do such deadlines expire? 5.d)
6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event? 6.
7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the mainland territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have geographically separate entities1), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those which live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long ? 7.
8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the mainland, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad? 8.
9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters? 9.
10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended? 10.
11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit ? 11.
12. What are the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods? 12.
13. If the deadline expires, what remedies are available to defaulting parties? 13.

 

1. Various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in civil matters.

The main types of deadlines are as follows:

Time for responding to a claim - On receipt of a claim form or the particulars of claim if served separately, the defendant has 14 days to either respond to the claim or to file an acknowledgement of service. Upon filing an acknowledgement of service, the defendant then has 14 further days to prepare a defence. That means that the defendant can have up to 28 days to respond to the claim but if he or she files the acknowledgement of service the day after receipt of the particulars of claim, the defendant only has 15 days to file a defence.

Time to enforce a judgment – Under Section 4(4) of the Limitation Ordinance an action cannot be brought upon any judgment after twelve years from the date on which the judgment became enforceable.

Limitation periods – In general, a limitation period of six years applies and is applicable for:
  • the time limit for actions on tort (Section 4(1)(a) Limitation Ordinance)
  • the time limit in case of successive conversions and extinction of title of owner and converted goods (Section 11(1) Limitation Ordinance)
  • the time limit for actions for sums recoverable by statue (Section 4(1)(d) Limitation Ordinance)

The limitation periods vary for other types of cases. For example:

  • the time limit for actions on a specialty is twelve years (Section 4(3) Limitation Ordinance) – for example specialty debts such as mortgages.
  • the time limit for actions in respect of personal injuries is three years (Section 4(1) Limitation Ordinance).

2. List of the various days envisaged as non-working days pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971.

Parts 2.8 to 2.10 of the Civil Procedure Rules deal with the application and interpretation of the rules in terms of the calculation of time periods and can be found at: http://www.dca.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/contents/parts/part02.htm

Apart from Saturday and Sunday, non-working days in Gibraltar include the following public holidays:

New Year’s Day1 January
Commonwealth DaySecond Monday in March
Good FridayFriday befor Easter
Easter Monday Monday after Easter
Early May Bank HolidayFirst Monday in May
Spring Bank HolidayLast Monday in May
Summer Bank HolidayLast Monday in August
National Day10 September
Christmas Day25 December
Boxing Day26 December

Where Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day or the National Day falls on a weekend the next weekday becomes a public holiday. For example if 25 and 26 December are Saturday and Sunday respectively the following Monday and Tuesday are public holidays.

In addition all courts are closed for the afternoon of Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) and the afternoons of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve where these fall on a weekday.

3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures?

Limitation Ordinance – This stipulates several time limits for the initiation of proceedings and sets out other periods within which, for example, a judgment has to be enforced and other actions have to be taken by the parties. Further information is given in the answer to question 1 above.

The Civil Procedure Rules – These are the procedural rules for the civil courts in England and Wales and include time limits for different actions. The full Rules can be found at:

http://www.dca.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/menus/rules.htm

4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out within a given period, what is the starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality?

The starting date from which the period runs is usually the date of the relevant event. For example, the starting time for the 14-day period for responding to a claim is the day of the receipt of the claim form or particulars of claim if served separately (subject to the rules on deemed service – see below). In addition the starting time for the 12-year-period to enforce a judgment is the date on which the judgment became enforceable. 

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4.a) Can the starting point from which the period runs be affected or modified by the method of transmission or service of documents (personal service by a huissier or postal service?

The normal method of service used in Gibraltar for the transmission of documents is personal service. Where service is effected by post, Section 8 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance provides that service is deemed to have been effected “at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.”

Further information on the deemed service dates for other methods of non-personal service, e.g. delivering the document to or leaving it at the permitted address, fax or other electronic methods can be found at:

 http://www.dca.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/contents/parts/part06.htm#rule6_7

Where a document is served personally it is treated as being served the next business day if it is served after 17.00 on a business day or served at any time on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.

5. From when does this period begin to run:

5.a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation which begins it count?

Where a period of time is expressed as a number of days it is computed as clear days. In computing the number of ‘clear days’ the day on which the period begins and if the end of the period is defined by reference to an event, the day on which that event occurs, are not included. Examples of how to calculate these days can be found at:

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http://www.dca.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/contents/parts/part02.htm#rule2_9
5.b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days?

Where the court gives a judgment, order or direction which imposes a time limit for doing any act, the last date for compliance must, wherever practicable be expressed as a calendar date; and include the time of day by which the act must be done. Where the date by which an act must be done is inserted in any document, the date must, wherever practicable, be expressed as a calendar date.

For example, if a person is served a document on 4 April and he or she is requested to answer within 14 days from service he or she should answer before18 April.

However, if the specified period is less than 5 days Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays are not counted.

5.c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years?;

Where ‘month’ occurs in any judgment, order, direction or other document, it means a calendar month.

When a period is expressed in years, although there is no explicit rule, Part 2.10 of the Civil Procedure Rules has to be applied analogously. Thus, if a “year” is used in any judgment, order, direction or other document, a calendar year is meant.

5.d) When do such deadlines expire?
If the end of the period is defined by reference to an event, the day on which that event occurs is not included. See also the answer to 5a) above.

6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event?

When the period specified by the Civil Procedure Rules, a practice direction, any judgment or court order for doing any act at the court office ends on a day on which the office is closed, that act shall be in time if done on the next day on which the court office is open. This rule applies whenever there is an expiration period.
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7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the mainland territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have geographically separate entities1), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those which live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long ?

This does not apply in Gibraltar in the way the question suggests. However where the claim form is served out of the jurisdiction, special rules apply. For example, where service is to an EU Member State or a Contracting State to the 1965 Hague Convention on the service abroad of judicial and extra-judicial documents in civil or commercial matters the period for filing an acknowledgement is 21 days after the date of service of the claim form or particulars of claim. The period for filing a defence is 21 days after the date of service of the particulars of claim or, if the defendant files an acknowledgement of service, 35 days after service of the particulars of claim.

If service is to any other territory of a Contracting State to the 1965 Hague Convention the period for filing an acknowledgement is 31 days after the date of service of the claim form or particulars of claim. The period for filing a defence is 31 days after the date of service of the particulars of claim or, if the defendant files an acknowledgement of service, 45 days after service of the particulars of claim.

Further details can be found in the Civil Procedure Rules at:

http://www.dca.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/contents/parts/part06.htm

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Where service is to any other country the period for filing an acknowledgement of service or for filing a defence is the number of days listed in the table (given in the link below) after service of the particulars of claim or, where the defendant has filed an acknowledgment of service, the number of days listed in the table plus an additional 14 days after the service of the particulars of claim. The table can be found at:

http://www.dca.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/contents/practice_directions/pd_part06b.htm#IDA0LKTG

8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the mainland, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad?

See the answer to question 7 above.

9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters?

The time limit for appeals against judgments is 14 days. Time limits for applying for a judge to review the decision of a body if you are entitled to do so are three months after the grounds to make the claim first arose.

10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended?

If the claimant thinks there are exceptional reasons, he or she may ask the court to consider an application immediately and without the respondent being served with any documents, i.e. ‘ex parte’ or ‘without notice’. If an ’ex parte’ or ‘without notice’-order is made by the judge the claimant will be given a further appointment to attend at the court. The respondent will be entitled to be present at this appointment so that the judge can then listen to both before deciding whether to make another order.

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Further possibilities of extending a period are provided in the Limitation Ordinance. For example there can be an extension of the limitation period in cases where the claimant is disabled (Section 28 of the Limitation Ordinance).

Unless the Civil Procedure Rules or a practice direction provide otherwise or the court orders otherwise, the time specified by a rule or by the court for a person to do any act may be varied by the written agreement of the parties. Furthermore, judges have extensive case management powers to alter time periods.

11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit ?

No. The party does not lose the benefit of such foreign legislation.

12. What are the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods?

If a defendant fails to defend or acknowledge the claim in the required time, a claimant can file a request or application for judgment in default. However, the defendant has still the possibility to appeal against that decision or a court may set aside the judgment.

Other case management-related sanctions are also available. For example where a party is required to submit something, i.e. an expert’s report, by a certain time and fails to do so, the court may order that report inadmissible.

The court also has recourse to sanctions such as contempt.

13. If the deadline expires, what remedies are available to defaulting parties?

The defaulting parties can go to the court and ask them to extend the deadline. If the expiry of the deadline has resulted in a default judgment, they can appeal or ask for decision to be set aside.

Further information

[1] For example: The Azores or Madeira for Portugal, the Departments and territories overseas for France, the Canary Islands for Spain etc....)

« Procedural time limits - General information | United Kingdom - General information »

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Last update: 21-03-2007

 
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