International Law

The GLO advises HMGoG on all aspects of international law. There are two main components to this work.

The first concerns the provision of advice on international rules that apply to various spheres of government departmental activity. While the UK is responsible for Gibraltar’s external relations, many of the areas for which HMGoG is competent under the 2006 Constitution are inherently transnational.

The provision of services across borders, trade, the protection of the environment and transport are some examples of areas where international legal rules are of fundamental importance. Many of these activities are currently subject to EU law, but once Gibraltar’s participation in the EU ceases, other rules of public international law – whether treaty-based or customary – will acquire new importance.

The second component of the GLO’s international law work relates to the provision of advice on Gibraltar’s international legal status. As well as being a British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar has been designated a Non-Self-Governing Territory under Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter. Successive governments of Gibraltar have committed themselves to achieving full decolonization in the eyes of the United Nations. One of the roles of the GLO is to advise HMGoG on the legal framework that governs the decolonization process.

Another aspect of the GLO’s work is to advise on questions of international law that arise in the context of the government’s dealings with various States and international bodies.

Given the central importance of international law advice for the activities of HMGoG, the Attorney General has close personal involvement in this area of the GLO’s work, together with GLO lawyers who are specialised in various aspects of international law, and external experts.