THE LEGAL SERVICES ACT 2017
The Legal Services Act 2017 came fully into force on 30th December 2022, with one remaining limited exception1. The LSRA assumed all its remaining functions and acquired its remaining powers under the Act on that day. It also became Supervisory Authority for the legal profession under the Proceeds of Crimes Act on 3rd March 2023.
The Act requires persons who provide legal services to be authorised to do so. This requires them to apply to the LSRA to be registered and, where appropriate, for the issue of a practising certificate, and renew registration and the practising certificate annually.
A person who carries on a “reserved legal activity” or provides or holds himself out as entitled “to provide a legal service” whilst neither being an Authorised Person or exempt, commits a criminal offence, subject to the defence of all reasonable precautions and due diligence (s. 8).
Persons who are not “Authorised Persons” who seek approval to act as a director of a law firm or Authorisation to hold equity in a law firm must also apply to the LSRA annually.
By way of basic outline and not by way of advice your attention is drawn to the following key provisions to ensure that you comply with law and not find yourself in breach
what providing legal services means
what are the reserved legal activities
which persons are registrable in order to be authorised to carry out the relevant reserved legal activity(ies) which correspond to each Part of the Register.
- A person “provides legal services” if he (s. 3):
- carries on or provides or holds himself out as able to carry on or provide, whether or not for profit or reward, a reserved legal activity in or from within Gibraltar;
- as a partner, director, consultant to or associate or employee of another person provides or holds himself out as able to provide, whether or not for reward or profit, on behalf of himself or that person a reserved legal activity in or from within Gibraltar;
- is employed by the Government or any statutory authority to provide any type of reserved legal activity to Government or statutory authority or in respect of any other person;
- is employed by any person as that person’s employee to provide any reserved legal activity to that person in or from within Gibraltar;
- carries on any other activity prescribed by the Minister for Justice.
1the Act does not apply to in-house lawyers only insofar as they undertake reserved legal activities internally for their employer or a company in the group of companies of which their employer forms part.
- ‘Reserved legal activity’ is prescribed by 4 as meaning “the exercise of, or the holding himself out as able to exercise by any person:
- a right of audience before any court or tribunal in Gibraltar;
- the conduct of litigation;
- reserved instrument activities;
- probate activities;
- the provision of legal advice or representation.”
- The following persons are registrable in order to be authorised to carry out the relevant permitted reserved legal activities
Parts of the Register
Legal Services Act, 2017 s.6 (3)
person approved, admitted and enrolled as a Barrister or Solicitor in Gibraltar
person who is admitted as a Barrister in Gibraltar as Counsel in particular Gibraltar proceedings
person approved, admitted and enrolled as a Barrister or Solicitor in Gibraltar employed by the Government of Gibraltar or a statutory authority or employed by the former and seconded to the latter
person who is a Legal Executive employed by a Law Firm registered in Part 9 of the Register or by the Government or a statutory authority
person who is either–
(i) a Lawyer or a Foreign Lawyer employed in an in-house or other capacity for the purpose of or otherwise providing legal services to his employer
(ii) a Lawyer employed in an in-house or other capacity for the purpose of or otherwise providing legal services to his employer who has complied with certain admission requirements under the Supreme Court Act;
(iii) a Foreign Lawyer employed by a Law Firm registered under Part 9
person employed by a person as a Legal Executive in an in-house or other capacity for the purpose of or otherwise providing legal services to the employer
person who is a Law Costs Draftsman with an accredited recognised qualification offering service on an employed or self-employed services
person who is an EEA lawyer or a registered European lawyer
The expressions “Barrister”, “Solicitor”, “Legal Executive”, “Lawyer”, “Foreign Lawyer”, “Law Costs Draftsman”, “EEA lawyer”, “Registered European Lawyer” and “Law Firm”. amongst others in the Act (including “Designated Countries” which in particular is relevant to the status of “Foreign Lawyer” and of LCD accreditation), have specific meanings provided by the Act.
Needless to say the Act says much more of all that is contained in this Notice, in particular, elaboration as to the “reserved legal activities” and what is and is not in scope, which reserved legal activities can be carried out by each of categories 1 – 8, practising certificates, the exempt provisions, the Code of Conduct prescribed pursuant to the Act and LSRA functions.
There is also comprehensive provision for the lodging and handling of complaints about lawyers or law firms, the LSRAs own investigatory and disciplinary powers and structure.
The LSRA website www.lsra.gi provides information which includes that which is relevant to application of the Act including links to the Act and to subsidiary legislation, circulars and other publications. All forms whether for registration and issue of practising certificate, approval and authorisation are also available for download with dedicated guidance on how to fill in the form and submit it, and of the relevant fee.
The website also provides an Introduction to the LSRA, its statutory functions and investigatory, supervisory and disciplinary powers, and as to its Disciplinary Tribunal.
Any communications and queries should be directed to email@example.com for general matters and firstname.lastname@example.org for registration issues. General Office number 22250490, where messages can be left if necessary.
Legal Services Regulatory Authority
Suite 841 Europort
Gibraltar GX11 1AA