Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Fourth Report


JUDICIAL COOPERATION

58. A high level of co-operation between law enforcement agencies in Spain and Gibraltar would help deal with allegations of wrong doing efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, Spain refuses to recognise any of the institutions set up under the 1969 Gibraltar Constitution, including the Supreme Court and the office of Attorney General—institutions which in no way offend the Treaty of Utrecht. It similarly refuses to recognise Gibraltar's separate legal jurisdiction, or to address letters of request in criminal or civil matters to the Gibraltarian judicial authorities.[131] The Gibraltar Government produced evidence showing how non-recognition of Gibraltarian judicial authorities and refusal of extradition was hampering the fight against drug trafficking.[132] There is some evidence that this campaign is being intensified: on 1 October 1998, Spain lodged an objection to a British declaration made on 31 July which had the effect of extending to Gibraltar the Brussels and Lugano Conventions on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgements in Civil and Commercial Matters. On 1 September 1997, Spain declared that it would not recognise the Supreme Court of Gibraltar under the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial Documents and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters, though it had ratified the convention in 1987 without objecting to the designation under it of the Gibraltarian Supreme Court (which had been made in 1970). In both these cases, the United Kingdom is contesting the Spanish position with the Swiss and Dutch depository authorities respectively.[133] Spain cannot logically complain about non-enforcement of the law in Gibraltar if it refuses to show the level of judicial co-operation which is the norm within Europe.


131   Ev. p. 8, paras. 71-2. Back

132   Ev. p. 37, para. 48. Back

133   Ev. p. 38, paras. 49-50; p. 8, para. 73. Back


 
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Prepared 22 June 1999