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The Supreme Court of Gibraltar situated at 277 Main Street. It consists of an older building built in 1820 and a newer annexe completed in 2012.  The new purpose-built building and extension now houses seven courts, one for a coroner, two for magistrates and four courtrooms for the Supreme Court.

Excavations on the site of the new annexe in 2009 revealed three skeletons dating back to the early 14th Century. This suggests that the area of present Town Range may well have been a Moorish burial ground during the construction of the first city in Gibraltar - Medina-al-Fath – in around 1160. It appears unlikely that these could have been the remains of a Spanish cemetery since their burial ground was situated much further to the South. This burial ground known as St. Jago’s cemetery extended down to the site of Ince’s Hall. Likewise, Bravo de Acuña’s 1627 map of the Rock show that by the 17th Century, the entire area of the present court grounds had been developed into houses and gardens – a desecration that would not have occurred had it been in fact a Christian cemetery.

Furthermore, Bravo’s map show that the streets and building boundaries along the present Main Street, Town Range and Convent Place have changed little since the Spanish period. Residential buildings, some at least two storeys high, probably owned by the more influential inhabitants of the place were located right along the edge of Main Street with private gardens located in the rear.

Original edifices on the location of the present Courthouse according to Luis Bravo de Acuña (1627). The boundaries of Town Range to the East, Main Street to the West and Convent Place to the South is clearly defined.

The original premises, like most others in the town likely belonged to a prominent figure during the Spanish period.1

When Gibraltar was taken in 1704, most of the Spanish population left the city and most of these abandoned town houses were quickly appropriated by the British as billets for their own Officers. Gabriel Montresor’s 1753 Particular Survey of the City of Gibraltar indicates that this was so, since all the buildings and gardens within the footprint now designated as court grounds were in fact registered as British Officer Quarters.

Montresor’s survey specifically reveals the size and location of the courtroom together with the boundaries of the Judge Advocate’s garden that extended all the way to Town Range. The survey shows that the original courthouse stood where the present garden is now located, whilst the present courthouse built in 1820, was part of the Judge Advocate’s garden.2

This makes sense, as the original court buildings would have been located in line with other buildings on either side of the property with their respective gardens to the rear up to Town Range.

Before the grounds of the Supreme Court was extended in 1820, the survey shows that Judge Advocate’s original property boundary in relation to the present Main Street frontage was tightly wedged between two other Officers Quarters Nos. 4 & 6. Property No. 4. The Judge Advocate’s courtroom was accessed via this street, which directly led to a courtyard. The courtroom stood directly in front of this yard with the Judge Advocate’s residence accessed by a much larger yard to the right of this entrance. 3

The entire property consisted of nine rooms according to Montresor’s survey key, excluding four rooms for one Captain on the ground floor of the Judge Advocates house. This house, therefore, was at least two storeys high and adjacent to the actual building designated as the courthouse. The Judge Advocate’s residence and courthouse included an extensive garden to the rear of the buildings. Montresor further reveals that the entire property had formerly been an Officer’s Quarter for a Field Officer and one Subaltern prior to its conversion into the Judge Advocates court according to the details provided in the Survey. Montresor, however, refers to the property as ‘formerly 6’ in the map in error – it should have been listed as ‘formerly 5’ instead.4

Judge Advocat's Court Room as illustrated in Gabriel Montresor's Particular Survey of the City of Gibraltar, 1753.

All of these buildings would have suffered considerable damage during the Great Siege and may no longer have been fit for purpose, as indeed were the vast majority of the residential properties, even by the time Governor Don arrived in Gibraltar in 1815. 

Don almost immediately set to work, initiating a huge reconstruction programme, which began with an effective sanitation system in the territory, including a clean water supply, a new hospital and the Alameda Botanic Gardens for use by off duty British soldiers and the general public.

In 1820, a new Courthouse was constructed on the site of the former Judge Advocates garden behind the original courts. Once finished, the old courthouse together with properties No. 4 & 6 were demolished and converted into the present gardens revealing the present court façade. This new courthouse became the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, following the proclamation of the Charter of Justice of 1st September 1830, during the reign of King William IV.

Gibraltar law Courts, late 19th Century, with the old Guiseppe Codali landscaped gardens in the foreground.

The courthouse would be restored and extended in 1886 during the term of office of Governor Sir Arthur Hardinge and Sir Henry Burford-Hancock Chief Justice. The gardens were vastly improved following its re-design by the Italian landscape artist Giuseppe Codali commissioned with landscaping the Alameda Gardens. The Law Court grounds was again fully restored in the late 1980’s and have been maintained ever since.5

In referendum held in November 2006, the people of Gibraltar affirmed the text of a more modern constitution, namely the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006. The text of the 2006 Constitution encapsulated the doctrine of the separation of powers, viz: – the division of power between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Under the new portfolio of Minister for Justice, Daniel Feetham KC MP, new plans were drawn up for extending the Gibraltar Law Courts with the addition of a new building complex on the Town Range side. The new extension cost in the region of £7m 

The new Gibraltar Law Courts were re-opened on the 10th March 2011 by the then Chief Minister of Gibraltar, the Hon. P. R. Caruana QC MP, together with the Minister for Justice, Daniel Feetham KC MP in the presence of Rt. Hon. Sir Murray Stuart-Smith, the first President of the Courts of Gibraltar. The new complex now houses two additional Magistrate’s courts, a Coroners court and four Supreme courts.

Gibraltar Law Courts restoration & extension plaque, 1886.

Gibraltar Law Courts restoration & extension plaque, 2011.

The development of the Five Charters of Justice in Gibraltar 1704-present

Following the seizure of Gibraltar in 1704, Spanish law continued to apply in Gibraltar with Prince George of Hesse appointing Don Alonzo de la Capela to act as Judge. Gibraltar had been taken to support the claim of the Austrian Habsburg candidate to the Spanish throne, the Archduke Charles, known to his supporters as Charles III of Spain and would have remained in Spanish hands had his pretensions to the Spanish throne been successful. It was only after the Treaty of Utrecht when Gibraltar came under full British control was dismissed Don Alonzo from his civil post, with all judicial power now transferred to the Governor and all criminal cases (including civilian) being tried by court martial. Peculiarly, however, even under the court’s martial system, civilians were still tried under Spanish Law as before.6

The dependence on military courts early on obviously resulted in the application of an unsatisfactory system of justice in particular in respect to commercial cases. Even as the British authorities tried to encourage the establishment of a free trade port for Gibraltar, the absence of a commercial court became a major hindrance to fair trade with traders relying instead on appropriate national consuls to sort disputes depending on the origin of shipments.7

It is no surprise, therefore, that the first civil court in Gibraltar was a purely commercial court created by Letters Patent on the 4th November 1720 and generally referred to as the First Charter of Justice.8

This “Court of Civil Pleas” as it became known stemmed from an urgent need to keep commercial law separate from military law.

The catalyst for such a court stemmed from the case of the merchant vessel Europa in which three local merchants appealed to the British Government to intervene in a commercial dispute given that they had not been paid following a shipment of merchandise to Gianbattista Sturla, the Genoese Consul to Gibraltar at the time.9

In the absence of an appropriate court, no legal action could be made against him. The petition presented by the aggrieved merchants proposed the creation of a commercial court, which would consist of a Judge Advocate assisted by two independent merchants selected from the freemen of the city. The Governor would then heed their recommendations when presiding over all commercial cases. The proposal was referred to the Commission of Trade in London, which resulted in the creation of a “Privy Council” in 1720.10

This court lacked judicial independence and remained under Spanish law. Nevertheless, hearings of arguments for the Europa case did take place during the fall of that year, with the merchants winning the case11

As expected, as trade increased, so did disputes and the Lord Commissioners of Trade and Plantation growing weary of the increasing complexities of mercantile trade in Gibraltar proposed the creation of a fully functioning court “concerned civil action, law applicable contracts, debts, trespasses and personal matters”. This commission was passed, but objections were received from the fact that the Judge Advocate having the powers to appoint the two merchants to assist him would wield far too much power, especially as a military officer and subject to the military command of the Governor.12

In July 1722, the leading English inhabitants of Gibraltar again petitioned the crown to establish a civil judicature. The petition set forth “that the petitioners concerned in trade were greatly prejudiced already, and greatly discouraged to continue the same for the want of a form of civil government established there, it being at present under a military one, whereby the petitioners are not secure in their properties. That His Majesty had been pleased to grant his royal letters patent for the purpose, yet it is notwithstanding in the hands of military magistrates.”  The letter further complained that the Spaniards, French, Genoese and Dutch inhabitants of the colony enjoyed both a consul and lawyer of their own nation to decide their disputes. This petition was advocated by a Mr Hayles, who seems to have acted in the capacity of agent for the petitioners, and by Mr. Godfrey, then one of the members of parliament for the city of London.13

The proposal asked for amongst other things specifically for the appointment of a mayor, aldermen and common-council, to be annually chosen out of the English residing there; two sheriffs, to be chosen out of the common-council ; two bailiffs, to be appointed by the sheriffs; a town-clerk ; a judge of the admiralty. The very self-serving petition also specifically requested that no consuls of any nation or Jews to reside in Gibraltar. This proposal was sent to the Governor and the Commission of Trade and Plantations on the 11th of December 1728.14

Nothing came from these proposals. This was likely because the Governor found ruling over the civilian and commercial affairs of Gibraltar a lucrative occupation. He and his secretary received all the money surrendered during commercial and civil disputes. These reforms would have required payments of legal costs to go the Privy Council and out of the Governors pocket. Nevertheless, England would continue to be concerned by Gibraltar’s use of Spanish Law, due to cases like that of Solomon Namis.15

Mr Namis was an England based third-party trader that had left property in the care of Samuel Levy Bensus in Gibraltar before being unfortunately killed in Morocco. The English merchants who owned this property applied separately to the Government of Gibraltar and the Supreme Court of Canterbury to recover their merchandise. These courts gave different decisions, referring the case to the Solicitor General Dudley Ryder.16

 Here it was discovered that English law had never been extended to Gibraltar, meaning the city was out of the Supreme Court of Canterbury`s (and every other British court`s) jurisdiction.  This concerned the Colonial Office greatly, and was only compounded by the large jurisdiction the military had over Gibraltar, with the right to appeal laying with the Governor and all Judges within Gibraltar only practicing military law. The mounting pressure to solidify British jurisdiction over the Rock led to calls for the First Charter of Justice being revised, bringing English civilian laws to Gibraltar, as well as the first case of a court having independent civil jurisdiction.

The old Royal coat of arms as used during the reign of the House of Hanover above the Gibraltar Law Courts.

Illustrations from the notebook of Major General Henry Sandlham. circa 1820, titled ' Court House'.

It was not until 1738, however, that legislators attempted to extend civil jurisdiction to criminal prosecutions. This was caused by the case of Conning v Sabine (1732).17

In this, Steven Conning, after finding his wife in bed with a British officer was, to add insult to injury, accused himself of pushing the British officer and subsequently being charged with assault resulting receiving a sentence of twenty days imprisonment, 300 lashes and deportation for his pains. Conning, as a British subject, wrote to the King complaining on the treatment received at the hands of the prejudiced military tribunal, irritating Governor Sabine and forcing him to counter such accusations by writing a report on the situation. In a further measure, Conning was banished from Gibraltar, with appeals made to the Privy Council being rejected. Conning then decided to sue Governor Sabine directly, with the case eventually being heard by the Lord Chief Justice, resulting in Sabine defaulting. The courts in England decreed that civilians could not be tried by martial law and it was made clear to both the Colonial Office and Courts of Gibraltar that:

 “a great many inconveniences have arisen and hereafter arise within said town for the want of jurisdiction for the trial of criminal cases.18

This incident was important, not only because it gave Conning some sense of justice to paper over his personal humiliation, but because the outcome led directly to the establishment of the Second Charter of Justice of Gibraltar in 1739.19

The Court of Civil Pleas was now restructured to include a criminal court consisting of one person ‘learned in the laws of England’ and two other ‘inhabitants of Gibraltar’. Under this charter, the court`s jurisdiction was expanded greatly, covering real property disputes and criminal cases within the civil population (distinct from ‘Court Martial’ proceedings). This was now led by a Chief Judge who presided over, and was appointed by other judges of the new Court of Criminal Jurisdiction. This new court was charged to:

“… hear and determine according to the Laws of England, all Murders, Felonies, Trespasses and other Crimes of what nature and kind soever (treason excepted) arising within the Town of Gibraltar.20

Moreover, English law now became the law of the land, incorporated by the inclusion within the Charter of the declaration “we will that the laws of England be the measure of Justice between the Parties.21

  Following the adoption of this new Charter, Robert Robinson was appointed as the first Chief Judge of Gibraltar. The Governor and Chief Justice`s leave was still required for capital cases, with the Privy Council settling any disagreements. A “Court of Appeals” consisting of the Chief Judge of the Court of Civil Pleas and four other appointments was also confirmed.22

All of these courts were all to be housed within the same building.

However, these plans came to naught because of the bizarre conduct of the newly appointed Chief Justice himself. For some reason, possibly due to outstanding debts, Robinson prevaricated in making the journey to Gibraltar.23

In 1744, four years after his appointed, Robinson was still in London but enjoying a Chief Judge`s salary of £500 a year in lieu of his appointment. When the Treasury exasperated by his prevarication retained his salary, Robinson reacted by publishing a book ‘The Case of the Chief Justice of Gibraltar, Truly and impartially stated.24

Incredibly, Robinson defended his actions by inferring that the fact that he had not travelled to Gibraltar was just an excuse not to pay his salary, claiming that the Treasury’s conduct suggested they did not want the commission of the court to come into effect.

After much contention, the Secretary of the Treasury proposed that Robinson`s salary would be paid on the Chief Judges arrival to Gibraltar. Robinson, however, never had the intention of taking up his post as he never ever made the effort to travel to Gibraltar. With no new judges appointed, the new courts (with their expanded jurisdiction) could not be activated and the old system continued as before, with the Judge Advocate running the Court of Civil Pleas. As such, the Rock continued to be ruled by the impractical articles of war, with civilians not having proper status or representation, allowing Gibraltar’s military Governors to continue running Gibraltar as a fortress.25

For example, no one was allowed to leave the garrison without written permission from the Governor nor was there a proper system to own land, all of which was held on sufferance by the Governor.

This improper state of affairs continued until 1749, when the home office finally grew impatient over the distinct lack of civil magistrates in Gibraltar. Doubtful that judicial responsibility was falling on overworked and untrained Governors (and in light of allegations that the Governor had repossessed property unlawfully), Lieutenant-General Bland was charged to carry out an investigation into the housing situation in Gibraltar.26


Bland`s inquiry suggested that the authority of the courts of Gibraltar should be extended to allow Civil Justices to preside over “Frauds, Pilfery, Personal Assaults and Abuses and other branches of the peace, not extending to life and member.”27

This proposal was debated by the Privy Council of Gibraltar and the Solicitor General. These discussions formed the basis the 3rd Charter of Justice granted in 1752.28

This created the ‘Court of Common Pleas’, vested with the power to deal with criminal cases and disputes concerning ‘real property’.  It included “houses, lands, testaments and all other real pleas within the town of Gibraltar and the territories belonging, and all kinds of terms, leases, estimates and interests there in.29 The court was also given control over Grants of Probate and the administration of estates. However, protection from wrongful deprivation of property and inheritance was still only provided to protestant inhabitants and not to Jews or Catholics.

Nevertheless, the second charter created the first civil courts with criminal jurisdiction in Gibraltar, as well as the first jury system. This gave Justices in Gibraltar the same power as those in England. For the first time private citizens were involved in the enforcement of the law. However, this also brought new powers to the Governor. For the first time “Sessions of the Pease” (a pre-curser to the ‘Magistrate`s Court’) would be conducted by ‘Justices of the Peace’, of which the Governor was one.

From 1753 onwards the court`s workload naturally increased as the population of Gibraltar continued to expand during the later eighteenth century.30

By 1810, the population numbered around 14,000 civilians. This growing population required a much more effective judicial system. The lack of judicial independence from the military also remained a big concern.  This reared its head in 1811 when one of the civilian judges, Richard Jepson, protested the Governors authority, believing that accepting the Governor`s overriding executive authority (especially in cases concerning civilians) trespassed on his responsibilities as an impartial judge.31

Subsequently, reforms were recommended to placate this problem and the burgeoning population. These reforms (known as the Fourth Charter of Justice of Gibraltar) were granted on the 11th of May 1817. This charter revoked the previous three charters and re-established the ‘Court of Civil Pleas’ but with a civilian judge and not the Governor presiding over it. The first Judge appointed was William Toye.

Gibraltar Law Courts by Rudecindo Mannia, circa 1960's.

Edward Jocelyn Baumgartner Registrar, 1867-1891.

In 1814, Judge Advocate Larpent was sworn in as Assessor of the Superior Court, after having served as Advocate-General to the armies of Spain from 1812 to 1814.32

In total, the fourth charter revoked all previous charters, reaffirming the jurisdiction of English law and setting up no less than six courts.33

This even included a “Small Debts Court” which was thought to “contribute greatly to the supporting and encouraging of useful credit.”34 Criminal courts were also established in the shape of the Court of General Sessions with unlimited jurisdiction, although soldiers were still liable for court martial.35 Nevertheless, members of the Garrison could also be tried in the civil court (including being “arrested, imprisoned and deciding in execution”) with the consent of the Governor or Commander in Chief. Finally, a new Court of Appeals was established whose judgements where final except in cases exceeding £500. This new system created the need for extra courts, leading to the construction of the modern-day Courthouse behind the original building in 1820.36The principles of the fourth charter are reflected today in Chapter VI of the Gibraltar Constitution (2006).37

However, the legal system created proved too complicated and only thirteen years after its establishment, the Fourth Charter was replaced by the Fifth Charter of Justice of Gibraltar through the Letters Patent dated 1st September 1830.38

This charter consolidated all previous courts (save the ‘Admiralty Sessions’) into what is today known as the Supreme Court. The new Supreme Court had civil and criminal jurisdiction as well as the ability to hear appeals from all inferior courts. The Supreme Courts (as well as all other courts) were housed in the new Courthouse created 10 years earlier for this purpose. Barron Field was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on the 25th of October 1830. Sir James Cochrane also became Gibraltar’s first Attorney General, replacing the role of the Judge Advocate.39 With this new appointment, the Governor was relieved of all of his civil judicial duties and Gibraltar now became a crown colony as opposed to a military Garrison.

With the Fifth Charter of Justice, the Gibraltar Courts were finally independent from the executive power of a Governor, a major milestone in the maturity of Gibraltar’s legal system. Legally though, the Governor remained nominally as a legislator, with every law being “drawn up by the Attorney General, under your [the overnor`s] instruction, with appropriate titles and marginal abbreviations.”40

However, the fundamental difference was that now the Governor had to confine himself to “a strictly local nature”, with no laws being able to encroach on the prerogative of the Crown, Acts of Parliament or Orders in Council “… such that they might affect the external trade of the town and territory of Gibraltar.41

Opening of Legal year, October 1955.

Between 1832 and 1969, new courts were gradually added to cover a wide range of jurisdictions as and when required, including Probate, Bankruptcy, the Coroners Court, Admiralty, Court of Protection, and a separate Magistrates Court. Subsequent extensions have allowed them all to be held in the same building, including the last extension completed in 2012.

As for the modern building, it was only following the creation of the Gibraltar Constitution in 2006 (and the Ministry of Justice) that the final re-structuring to separate Gibraltar`s Courts from colonial rule took place.42

Necessary refurbishments and developments to the Courthouse took place between 2010 and 2011 to facilitate these changes. The final restorations included major improvements to the basic facilities of the Courthouse, restoration of the original building facade, additions to and extensions of Supreme Court courtrooms, as well as the creation of a Magistrates` Court and a separate Coroner`s Court.

Ceremonial Opening Of The Legal Year, Oct 2015.


A number of famous celebrities have married in Gibraltar`s Courthouse. Lawrence Harvey and Margaret Leighton were one of the first high-profile couples to be married here. They were followed by the marriage of Sean Connery of James Bond fame and Diane Cliento in 1962. This marriage did not last long, but nevertheless Connery`s affection with Gibraltar continued as he returned in 1975 to marry his second wife, Micheline Boglio Roquebrune. The biggest media sensation of the time, however, was the shock marriage of Beetle John Lennon to Yoko Ono in 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono showing their marriage certificate following their marriage in Gibraltar.

Famous Historical Cases


The trial of the pirate Benito de Soto

Benito de Soto Aboalas captain of the pirate ship Defensor de Pedro, sometimes incorrectly named as the Burla Negra ("Black Joke"), that was responsible for several piracies in the Atlantic in 1828, in a period of increased piracy following the independence of the new states of South America.

The most notable attacks were on the British Indiaman Morning Star and the American ship Topaz, which involved great violence.43

All told, De Soto destroyed nearly a dozen ships including the Topaz, the Cassnock, the New Prospect, Melinda, and the Simbry. He was also responsible for injuring and killing well over 100 people.

Sailing near the Ascension Islands, he captured a British vessel the Morning Star, slaughtering most of the crew and raping all the women. This would prove de Soto’s undoing for not everyone was butchered on this occasion – the women were instead locked in the cabin whilst lumber was heaped on the hatches to trap the surviving men sheltering in the hold. Holes were then bored in the hull beneath the waterline, intended to provide for slow drowning of the survivors. After damaging masts and rigging, Barbazon, his right-hand man and his murdering thugs then returned to the Defensor de Pedro leaving the sinking ship to its fate.

This course of action was however to save the ship, for the women managed to force their way out of the cabin and release the men in the hold. By now, Benito de Soto’s ship was far off, with all sails set and by the time de Soto realised the blunder, the Morning Star was nowhere to be found. By chance, a passing vessel found the derelict the following day and those on board were taken safely to Britain, stopping at Gibraltar first, where a few disembarked and remained.

Meanwhile the Burla Negra was caught in a heavy gale and de Soto and his men were forced to abandon ship. They made their way ashore near Cadiz and attempted to pass themselves off as legitimately shipwrecked seamen by suspicions quickly grew and his crew was arrested. De Soto, however, had managed to evade the authorities and made his way to Gibraltar entering the Garrison by using a false pass, and settled in at “a low tavern”.

The pirate ship Defensor de Pedro chasing the Britsih vessel the Morning Star.

It was whilst at Gibraltar that de Soto was recognised by one of the survivors of the Morning Star who alerted the British authorities.

Charles Ellms a British officer described the dingy tavern where De Soto stayed and his demeanour at his subsequent trial:44

“The appearance of this was in grim harmony with the worthy Benito’s life. I have occasion to pass the door frequently at night, for our barrack, the casement, is but a few yards from it. I never look out at the place without feeling an involuntary sensation of horror…” de Soto spent his money freely – “He dressed expensively, generally wore a white hat of the best English quality, silk stockings, white trousers, and blue frock coat. His whiskers were large and bushy, and his hair was black, profuse, long, and curled. He was deeply browned with the sun, and had an air and gait expressive of his bold, enterprising, and desperate mind.

 Indeed, when I saw him in his cell and at his trial, although his frame was attenuated almost to a skeleton, the colour of his face a pale yellow, his eyes sunken, and his hair closely shorn, he still exhibited strong traces of what he had been, still retained his erect and fearless carriage, his quick, fiery, and malevolent eye, his hurried and concise speech, and his close and pertinent style of remark.”

Items found in his room constituted strong evidence against him – a dirk that had belonged to one of his victims, a trunk and clothes taken from another and the pocket-book containing the handwriting of the Morning Star’s ill-fated captain. Evidence was also given by his own slave boy. According to the near-contemporary account, “when Sir George Don passed the just sentence of the law upon him his face was a study of concentrated venom. The wretched man persisted up to the day of his execution in asserting his innocence; but the certainty of his doom seemed to make some impression on him, and he at last made an unreserved confession of his crimes, giving up to the keeper a razor-blade which he had secreted in his shoes for the avowed purpose of committing suicide.”

Gallows were specially constructed in the road along the neutral ground close to the bay side. He was taken to the place of execution on a wagon on which also carried his coffin. There his head would be put on the noose and the wagon driven away, leaving him suspended. However, on arrival, the hangman realised that he had set the rope length too short; witnesses observed how he calmly stood on his own coffin and obliged the hangman by placing his head inside the noose. His final words uttered moments before his death was simply 'Adeus todos'.

As was the custom for treason and piracy, Beinto de Soto’s head was subsequently stuck on a pike and left to rot along the road as a warning to others.

The mate of the Morning Star begging for his life before being hacked to death.

Women of the Morning Star being abused in the cabin.

Pirate Benito de Soto in the dock, sketched by G. Carlotto a few days before he was hanged in Gibraltar.

The controversial Rt. Reverend Henry Hughes Bishop Apostolic of Gibraltar

A highly sensitive civil case occurred when the newly installed Catholic Bishop of Gibraltar, the Irishman Rt. Reverend Henry Hughes, was sued by the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned assembly of elders (known as the Junta de Ancianos).45

Hughes controversial appointment in 1840 contrasted with that of his predecessor Vicar-General Juan Bautista Zina who had been highly respected by the Clergy and parishioners alike. Although few Gibraltarians spoke English at the time, the new bishop replaced the Genoese and Spanish speaking priests with English speakers and began solemnising marriages without issuing marriage licences, due to their expense.  He also removed the fees for administering the Sacraments at the cathedral. This resulted in a loss of revenue for the Church (which was accounted for by the Junta). As a result, around 300 marriages took place that did not have an official licence.

Hughes did not want to tolerate a situation, which he believed was designed to stop the flow of people into Gibraltar. Therefore, he sent his priests to marry and baptise people in their own homes without any charge, arguing that he had the power to dispense with the application of banns or necessary licences. When questioned by the Attorney General James Cochrane, he explained that he did not mean to undermine the laws of Gibraltar but that to leave people unwed due to not having the money for a marriage licence left the under privileged “deprived [thereby] of all consolidations of religion.46

Matters got worse when in August of that year; a further controversy erupted following the death of local Freemason and Lodge Tyler Giacomo-Celecia. The officiating priest on finding certain Masonic emblems (a Square and Compass) inscribed on the exterior of his coffin immediately retired and refused to proceed with the internment. When Bishop Hughes was informed of this, he demanded that the Masonic emblems be effaced – which was immediately complied with. Now Bishop began to conjure up further objections and in the end refused to give the body a proper Christian burial because he was a Freemason. The bishop refused to bury more people whilst the controversy raged, eventually having to use off duty soldiers to remove “ruffians” who vocally apposed this during services.47

For three days, the body remained inside the Church of St. Mary the Crowned whilst frantic attempts to compromise with the intransient Hughes came to nothing. In the end, the body was buried by the Rev. Dr. Burrows from the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity who was also the Provincial Grand Master of English Freemasonry in Gibraltar.48

Rt. Reverend Henry Hughes O.F.M, Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar (1839-1856).

Several prominent parishioners, incensed by his antics, signed a memorial against the Bishop demanding his removal. In addition, the Junta filed a bill of equity against the Bishop in the Supreme Court on the 17th of October 1840. They sought accountability for all fees collected from 1st of August 1840, which he had not provided them. The Junta claimed that the temporal affairs of the Church where under their jurisdiction, using documents from the archives of the Church (as well as witnesses) as proof of their authority. The bishop, however, argued that while a custom did exist, it was bad in law and went against the spirit of the Roman Catholic Church.49

Mr Justice Field, who presided over the case, took evidence from John Francia and Pompeio Bullo who had resided in New York and Italy respectively. Each explained how both areas practiced the use of Junta similarly to Gibraltar.50

As such, on the 22nd of February 1841 Justice Field declared that the custom of England and Ireland was not the custom of Gibraltar, and Gibraltar’s custom was not against the spirit of the Roman Catholic Church. As such, Judge Fields ordered that a statement of fees be submitted to the Junta by the Bishop immediately. Bishop Hughes refused to comply with the verdict under “contentious motives” and was subsequently committed to Provost Prison.

The Governor sent the Attorney-General to London in order to negotiate with the Church representatives. In the meantime, the remaining English priests conducted several “violent sermons” threatening ecclesiastical sanctions on anyone who paid fees for sermons.51

Hostilities only intensified when on the 19th of April 1941 a notice was placed on the galley stopping the Junta from accessing their seats, and requiring a court injunction to allow them access. On the 23rd April, an application was made by the Junta to receive all the fees that had been collected by the Church. The Bishop applied to the Privy Council for leave to attempt to stop such action. With the consent of the Junta, he was released from prison, where he attempted to appeal the Chief Justice’s previous decision. The Junta however displayed a ‘Papal Seal’ in Court (dated to 17th May 1810), arguing that they had always operated with the tacit approval of the Pope himself.52

With such unquestionable documentary evidence, the Privy Council refused to consider the Bishop’s appeal, concluding that the Junta were indeed the responsible entity to collect and distribute the Church funds.


The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned in the early 20th century.

The Mary Celeste

Perhaps the most famous case ever to be heard in the Supreme Court in Gibraltar was that of the Mary Celeste. The case centred on the strange disappearance of the entire crew of this ship and the sensational media attention in received at the time.

On the 4th of December 1872, American brigantine ship the Mary Celeste was found by Captain Morehouse and the crew of the British brigantine the Dei Gratia.53

The vessel was found seaworthy; the sails set with a full cargo hold of commercial alcohol as well as stocked with food and water supplies. However, the ship was found completely deserted, with the crews’ possessions intact with no signs of a struggle on board, making a pirate raid on the ship extremely unlikely. Three men were able to sail the Mary Celeste 800 miles through stormy weather to Gibraltar.

The salvage hearing was held before Chief Justice Sir John Cochrane on the 17th of December 1872 in the Vice-Admiralty Court of Gibraltar.54

While the crew of the Dei Gratia where initially praised for their bravery in retrieving the vessel, the details and suspicion surrounding its discovery led to a series of investigations surrounding the fate of the Mary Celeste`s crew. Attorney-General Flood was adamant to prove that there had indeed been foul play, although the evidence suggested otherwise.55

For example, Flood (though a “special survey” run by himself) believed dark stains found on one of the ship's rails that might have been blood, together with a deep mark possibly caused by an axe. The evidence in Gibraltar, however, failed to support Flood's theories of murder and conspiracy, yet suspicion lingered of foul play stirred up by Flood became a media sensation that made the story famous around the world.

Captain Benjamin Briggs.

The brigantine Marie Celeste.

In the end, proof of any wrongdoing could not be established and Flood was reluctantly forced to concede. The Captain of the Dei Gratia and his crew could not be held on suspicion and were allowed to leave port on the 21st of December 1872.  The Mary Celeste was released by the court to its American owners on the 25th of February 1873. Chief Justice Cochrane finally gave his judgment on the 14th of March 1873, where he found no evidence of foul play. However, by then the Dei Gratia had already sailed to Genoa.  Although the Dei Graita was awarded salvage payment for its part in towing the derelict ship into Gibraltar, they award - a sixth of its total value – was disappointing, suggesting the Judge was still not entirely convinced of their innocence.56

Cochrane's final words were harshly critical of Morehouse for his decision, earlier in the hearing, to send the crew of the Dei Gratia to deliver her cargo of petroleum, even although he himself had remained in Gibraltar at the disposal of the court. Cochrane's sharp tone in respect of Captain Morehouse’s action carried an implication of wrongdoing, which ensured that Morehouse and his crew "...would be under suspicion in the court of public opinion forever.57

The more recent scientific explanations, however, suggest the ship was abandoned in a storm, or possibly for fear of explosion due to the large amounts of alcohol on board, with the crew perishing after being unable to return to the ship from their lifeboat, which was never recovered.58

The story of the Mary Celeste would later be popularised through the publications of mystery and paranormal books, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictionalised account of the Mary Celeste titled “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement.”59

A century later, the mystery still attracted a cult following thanks to movies such as the 1936 "Phantom Ship"60 or the 1956 drama, "the Mystery of the Mary Celeste"61 and further popularized by the BBC’s in the 1965 Doctor Who series episode titled "The Chase."62

The crew of the Dei Gratia sights the abandoned Marie Celeste.

The Political Detention of an Egyptian Leader.

In 1919, the Egyptian pro-independence leader Zaghlul Pasha and founder of the country's most important political party, the Wafd was deported by the British to Malta. Upon his release in April, he went first to Paris to try to present to the Peace Conference the Egyptian demand for independence; was refused a hearing; in June 1920 travelled to London to negotiate with the Colonial Office; and returned empty-handed to Egypt in March 1921 where he was re-arrested for his disruptive activities.63

He was first deported to Aden, then to the Seychelles and eventually sent to Gibraltar where under a Court Martial he was detained at Europa Road through the Political Prisoners Detention Ordinance (1922).64

Such an Ordinance had been signed just two days before his arrival.

Zaghlul Pasha challenged his detention on the basis that no charges had been filed against him and that the application of the new Ordinance was unlawful. In an ‘ex parte’ hearing with Chief Justice Tudor, Mr Pasha argued that it was illegal for the Governor to enforce a law which had not been promulgated for more than a month if the law was not “indisputably necessary for the security of the city and garrison and the welfare of the citizens wherein.65

Zaghlul Pasha in Gibraltar.

Governor's Cottage, location where Zaghlul Pasha was detained whilst in Gibraltar.

Mr Justice Tudor dismissed the appeal the next day; however, Pasha did not give up. A petition for special leave was heard by the Privy Council on the basis that the Chief Justice`s decision violated constitutional principles, as the British did not have a right to detain (for political reasons) an Egyptian who had been condemned to exile without trial. The hearing took place on the 9th of March 1923, becoming a hot political issue in both England and Egypt.66

Extensive submissions followed on the tensions between the Habeas Corpus and the new Ordinance. The Attorney-General submitted that the laws of Habeas Corpus were excluded, and that this was no different from many Ordinances passed in Africa.  The Judge sided with the Attorney-General and did not grant special leave to Pasha.67

However, popular strikes in all schools within Egypt forced the British authorities to release him and return to Egypt later before the end of the month. Mr Pasha would later win the 1924 general elections in Egypt with an overwhelming majority.

Zaghlul Pasha leader of the first Cabinet of the independent kingdom of Egypt in 1924.

The case of the SS. Stancroft.

An important case in understanding the conflicting ideologies within Gibraltar during the Spanish Civil War was that of the SS. Stancroft. Britain had negotiated a non-intervention agreement with other countries to prevent either side being supplied with Arms, a morally reprehensible action that crippled the democratically elected Republican Government ability to defeat the rebels.68

Meanwhile, the military authorities in Gibraltar turned a blind eye whilst Nationalists obtained fuel and other vital supplies critical for their war effort using Gibraltarian companies operating in the port.

 The prejudice of the Britain’s own supposedly non-intervention agreement would be exposed when the SS. Stancroft arrived in Valencia from Barcelona and was boarded by a British officer who found goods that he considered prohibited.  The ship was ordered to sail to Gibraltar, where on the 12th of May 1938 the authorities arrested the ship’s Master, Captain Scott, and the Owners of the vessel who were charged with breaking the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Munitions to Spain) Act of 1936 and tried in the Vice-Admiralty Court.69

The owners of the vessel was represented by the pro-Republican S.P Triay and centred on the accusation that prohibited merchandise, including eight radical aircraft engines had been found on the ship belonging to the Sub-Secretaria de Armamentos, (a subdivision for the ministry of National Defence of the Spanish Republic).

The SS Stancroft unloading cargo in a Spanish port during the Spanish Civil War.

Triay wrote to fellow pro-Republican supporter, Denis Nowell Pritt Q.C., K.C., about the case, convincing Pritt to travel to Gibraltar to defend both the Shipmaster and the Spanish Republic’s grievance in the Vice-Admiralty Court.70

In the first hearing on the 10th of June 1938, Pritt made a submission of no case to answer to the court, arguing that even with this evidence, 99.7% of the cargo was not prohibited under the laws of the non-intervention agreement. He also brought to bear instances of misconduct had transpired during the same proceedings. In the end, Pritt succeeded in his submission and the case was dismissed. The court subsequently ordered that the ship be released and all confiscated articles be returned, but the challenge now was getting the ship safely away from Gibraltar and removing the cargo at its original destination.

In the end, it was agreed that the SS. Stancroft was to be conveyed to Valencia escorted by two destroyers. However, the military authorities in Gibraltar refused to release the confiscated cargo forcing Pitt and Triay to return to court to contest the injunction.71

The Attorney-General and Chief Justice now claimed the confiscated cargo was subject to British law as these had been seized aboard a British ship, which they argued fell under the provisions of the non-intervention agreement. The Chief Justice sided with Pritt on the legal grounds that the court has no right to entertain the proceedings in the first instance but refused to order the military authorities to release the cargo back to the Spanish Government. This politically charged decision infuriated Pitt who did not rise when the Chief Justice left the trial. Pritt continued to defend the Ship Master until Captain’s Scott premature death only a year later.72

The legal cases proved expensive all round, but this case throws up another interesting angle in understanding the prism through which the actions of the British authorities in Gibraltar were blatantly biased and consistently detrimental to the Spanish Republic’s ability to defeat the rebels during the Spanish Civil War.

Denis Nowell Pritt Q.C., K.C.

The trial of two Spanish Saboteurs on the Rock

Gibraltar’s strategic naval base of operation in the Mediterranean meant there was always the risk of sabotage during the Second World War. Madrid and Cadiz were focal points for the German Abwehr Intelligence Network, whilst the bay of Gibraltar was a nest of spies whose objective was to recruit agents from amongst the thousands of Spanish workers in HMS Dockyard willing to undertake sabotage missions on their behalf.73

In 1943, two Spanish nationals, Luis Lopez Cordon-Cuenca and Jose Maria Munoz were caught red-handed and tried by Chief Justice Doyle on charges of treason and sabotage, being both executed for the offence.

Luis Lopez Cordon-Cuenca was employed at the Empire Food stalls in Main Street but also worked part time at the Dockyard was arrested in June 1943 after explosives in his possession.74

Cordon-Cuenca was accused of working for German Intelligence. It was later established that his mission had been to blow up the main tunnel at the dockyard, which at the time was filled with ammunition bound for the Sicily landings. Telegrams from the Governor to the Chief Justice highlight the Governor’s concern over the trial, especially his apprehension that a civilian jury if empanelled might prove somewhat inclined to give a more lenient sentence.75

The Governor considered it as essential that the maximum deterrent - in other words the death sentence - be applied in this case due to similar acts of sabotage attempted in the harbour. The compromise agreed on was to be a trial presided over by the Chief Justice but with no empanelled jury. This resulted in the drafting of the trial of Special Offenses Ordinance 1943 by the legal advisor of the Secretary of State.

Arrest of Luis Lopez Cordon-Cuenca in Line Wall Road, June 1943.

In the trial that followed under the Ordinance, Cordon-Cuenca was charged under section 23 of the Gibraltar Defence Regulations 1939, with assisting the enemy, which at the time carried the death penalty upon conviction.76

The defendant pleaded not guilty, with his Consul Peter Russo arguing that the Ordinance and regulations under which his client was charged where invalid because it did not provide for an appeal, meaning only life imprisonment could be ruled in such a case. The Chief Justice agreed, and the charges were to be amended to comply with the old regulations. At this point, the acting Attorney-General David Wacher sought an adjournment of the proceedings and a call with the Colonial Office followed.

When the court re-convened, the Attorney-General argued that that the case was of great public importance, convincing the Chief Justice to reconsider his original ruling and hear fresh arguments. David Wacher submitted that the Defence Act of 1939 and 1940 were irrelevant, as the court was sitting under the Trial of Special offenses Ordinance 1943. Under this ordinance, the Supreme Court was empowered to sit as a special court without a Jury to try cases concerning the Gibraltar Defence Regulations 1939.77

The Special Court was subsequently found to be lawful by the Chief Justice. This turned out to be a fatal change of fortunes for the defendant. When hearings re-opened, Cordon-Cuenca was accused by the Attorney-General of treachery under the 1939 regulations. Cordon-Cuenca claimed he was unaware what the boxes contained; He also alleged death threats had been made against him and his family.78

The prosecutor in turn described how Cuenca had dealings in La Linea, just across the border, with a Spanish man named Blas Castro who had spoken of blowing up an ammunition tunnel in the dockyard. A witness at the trial described how Cuenca had suggested explosives could be brought into Gibraltar. When the witness suggested hiding them in lemons, oranges or cabbages, Cuenca answered: "No, it is easiest in bananas." He was convicted on the 31st August 1943 and sentenced to death.

Gibraltar as seen from the Spanish Customs post in La Linea, circa 1940.

Cordon-Cuenca appealed claiming that he should receive life in prison rather than the death penalty.  He was clearly attempting to expedite the process whilst a similar case of attempted sabotage was being heard in the courts. This was the case of nineteen-year-old José Martín Muñoz, a dockyard worker also recruited by the German Secret service.79

Muñoz, a 19-year-old worker from La Linea, was arrested in July 1943. He was accused of having caused a suspicious fire in the Gibraltar dockyard on 30 June 1943. Witnesses described how “sheets of flame shot into the air and a thick cloud of black smoke swirled back over the top of the Rock,” according to The Times' report dated 1st July 1943. He was also charged with having hidden a bomb in the coalhole of a local café. At his trial in October 1943, he pleaded guilty to the first charge and the second charge was withdrawn. He was sentenced to death for having acted with "intent to assist the enemy by an act designed to impede naval operations or to endanger life."

Cordon-Cuenca’s appeal to the Privy Council, heard on Monday the 13th of December 1943, was rejected by the Lord Chancellor who upheld the view that the Governor had full authority to enact legislation using necessary alternative methods.80

An appeal for clemency from the King was rejected. News of the refusal reached Gibraltar and it fell to Sir Joshua Hassan to tell the prisoners that their petition had been denied.81

Both men were hanged on 11 January 1944 by the veteran British hangman Albert Pierrepoint, who travelled undercover to Gibraltar to carry out the executions. Their graves are located at the foot of the Tower of Homage near a small gate from the prison side of the compound.

These where the last executions to take place on the Rock before the death penalty was abolished in Gibraltar.

British hangman Albert Pierrepoint who travelled to Gibraltar to carry out the hangings at the Moorish Castle in 1944.

The unmarked graves containing the remains of Cordon-Cuenca and Muñoz located at the foot of the Tower of Homage.

Operation Flavius

In March of 1988, British Intelligence became aware of an IRA plot to detonate a bomb at the changing of the guard ceremony outside the governor's residence. The SAS was tasked with neutralising the IRA threat to Gibraltar under an operation code-named ‘Operation Flavius’.82

When the IRA cell comprising Seán Savage, Daniel McCann, and Mairéad Farrell travelled to Spain in preparation for the attack, they were tracked at the request of the British government by Spanish intelligence operatives. On the day of the shootings, Savage was spotted parking a white Renault in the car park used as the assembly area for the parade whilst McCann and Farrell were seen crossing the border on foot shortly afterwards.

After a military bomb disposal officer reported that Savage's car should be treated as a suspected bomb, the police handed over control of the operation to the SAS. As soldiers were moving into position to intercept the trio, Savage split from McCann and Farrell and began running south. Two soldiers pursued Savage while two approached McCann and Farrell; as they did so, the pair were said to make threatening movements, as a result of which the soldiers opened fire, shooting them multiple times. As soldiers caught up with Savage, he was alleged to have turned around to face them while reaching into his jacket; he was also shot multiple times. All three were subsequently found to be unarmed, and Savage's car was found to contain no explosives; enquiries resulting from keys found on Farrell led authorities to a second car, containing a large quantity of explosives, in a car park in Spain.83

Two days after the shooting, the Irish Government issued a statement saying it was “gravely perturbed that three unarmed Irish people were shot dead in Gibraltar when they could have been arrested by the security forces involved”.84

Intended target of IRA, the assembly point of the band of the resident batallion next to Ince's Hall.

Court Diagram 1.

Court Diagrams 2.

The coroner’s inquest into the deaths began in September 1988 at Gibraltar’s Supreme Court. During the inquest, the SAS soldiers testified that they had no option but to open fire in the belief that the suspected bombers were reaching for weapons or a remote detonator. Local witnesses at the trial gave conflicting evidence or retracted their initial statements. In the end, the jury concluded that the SAS had acted lawfully and that the killings had been justified

The families of the Savage, McCann and Farrel, however, appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. In 1995, this court found that the British Government had violated Article 2 of the Convention of Human Rights.85

In their ruling, the court considered that the authorities' failure to arrest the suspects at the border, combined with the information given to the soldiers, rendered the use of lethal force almost inevitable. The decision is cited as a landmark case in the use of force by the state.86

Location where McCann and Farrel were shot next to petrol station.

Secret Service agents on site of the shooting, Sir Winston Churchill Avenue.

Chief Justices for Gibraltar

Robert Robinson 1740-1744
W. Foye 1817 Judge of Court of Civil Pleas
Thomas Jones Howell 1822 Judge Advocate
Barron Field 1829-1841
Sir James Cochrane 1841-1877
William Henry Doyle 1877-1879
George Phillippo 1879-1882
Sir Henry James Burford-Hancock 1882-1895
Stephen Herbert Gatty 1895-1905
Henry Rawlins Pipon Schooles 1905-1913
Bartle Henry Temple Frere 1914-1922
Sir Daniel Thomas Tudor 1922-1927
Sir Sidney C K Farlow Nettleton 1927-1931
Sir Kenneth James Beatty 1931-1940
Maurice Cherry Greene 1940-1941
A. C. Carrara (Acting) 1941-1942
John McDougall 1942-1946
Sir Roger Bacon 1946-1955
Sir Hubert James Marlowe Flaxman 1956-1964
Sir Edgar Unsworth 1965-1974
Sir John Farley Spry 1976-1980
Sir Dermot Renn Davis 1981-1986
Alister Arthur Kneller 1986-1995
Derek Schofield 1996-2009
Anthony Dudley 2010-Present

Barron Field, 1830-1841.

Sir James Cochrane, 1841-1877.

Sir William Henry Doyle, 1877-1879

Sir George Philippo, 1879-1882.

Sir Henry Burford-Hancock, 1882-1895.

Sir Stephen Herbert Gatty, 1895-1905.

SirHenry Pipon-Schooles, 1905-1913.

Sir Bartle Frere, 1914-1922.

Sir Daniel Thomas Tudor, 1922-1926.

Sir Sydney Nettleton, 1927-1931.

Sir Kenneth Beatty, 1931-1940.

Maurice C Greene, 1941-1942.

John McDougall, 1942-1946.

Sir Roger Sewell Bacon, 1946-1955.

Edgar Unsworth, 1965-1976.

Sir Alister Kneller, 1986-1995.

Derek Schofield.

Anthony Dudley, 2010-present.

Attorney Generals for Gibraltar

J. Cochrane                       1830-1841 D. W. Conroy                  1952-1955
M.Costello                        1841-1866 W. G. Bryce                     1956-1959
F. Solly Flood                    1866-1877 D. T. E. Roberts               1960-1962
R. Ffrench Sheriff            1877-1892 J. B. Webber                  1962-1963
A. W. Fawkes                   1892-1901 A. M. Greenwood         1963-1966
A. M. Coll                          1901-1911 C. B. O`Beirne                 1966-1970
B. H. T. Frere                    1911-1914 R. H. Hickling                  1970-1972
C. J. Griffin                       1914-1919 J. K. Havers                     1972-1978
M. H. Anderson               1919-1929 D. Hull                             1979-1984
H. C. F. Cox                       1929-1933 E. Thistlethwaite           1984-1989
H. R. Hone                        1933-1937 K. W. Harris                   1989-1992
C. Mansel Reece             1937-1943 J. Blackburn Gittings     1992
W. J. Lockhart-Smith      1943-1944 Miss K. M. Dawson       1992-1995
A. McKisack                     1944-1947 R. R. Rhoda                     1995-2015
C. C. Ross                         1947-1952 M. Llamas QC                 2015-


1 Gibraltar Heritage Journal Vol 26 (2022): Alcades, Alcaides, Corregidores and Governors of Gibraltar (1310-1704), Part II - Revisited, by Manolo Galliano   p. 109

2 Particular Survey of the City of Gibraltar 1753

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Visitor Information outside Gibraltar Courthouse

6 Restano,John: Justice So Required: The Emergence and Development of The Legal System in Gibraltar (2012) – The Early Years and First Charter of Justice p. 9

7 Ibid.   p. 9

8 Restano, John Op. cit  p. 8

9 Ibid.   p. 10

10 Ibid. p. 317

11 Gibraltar Heritage Journal Vol 4 (1997): The Complaint of the Chief Justice of Gibraltar, by Tito Benady p. 4

12 Clark, Charles: A Summary of Colonial Law (1834) - London Sweet and Maxwell, p. 674

13 Ibid., p. 2

14 Ibid., p. 674

15 Restano, John Op. cit, p. 12

16 Gibraltar Heritage Journal Vol 9 (2002): Solicitors of the Supreme Court - Gibraltar, by Roger Taylor p. 112

17 Finlayson, Thomas J:  Stories from the Rock (1996), p. 1-5

18 Ibid., p. 4

19 Restano, John Op. cit p. 14

20 Gibraltar Government Archives- Second Charter of Justice

21 Gibraltar Government Archives- Second Charter of Justice

22 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 14

23 Tino Benady, Op. cit  p. 6

24 Robinson, Robert: The Case of the Chief Justice of Gibraltar, Truly and Impartially stated, London, W. Owen (1749)

25 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 16

26 Restano, John Op. cit  p. 21

27 Gibraltar Government Archives-Third Charter of Justice of Gibraltar

28 Restano, John, Op. cit  p. 23

29 Gibraltar Government Archives- Third Charter of Justice of Gibraltar

30 Restano, John Op. cit  p. 26

31 Finlayson, Thomas- Gibraltar Heritage Journal Vol 9 (2002): The Gibraltarian Since 1704 p. 22-23

32 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 27

33 Gibraltar Government Archives- Fourth Charter of Justice

34 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 28

35 Gibraltar Government Archives- Oath Book 1817

36 See Display outside Courthouse


38 Restano, John Op. cit p. 31

39 "Cochrane, JamesDictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

40 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 33

41 Ibid. p. 33

42 Ibid. p. 38

43 Craze, Sarah; Pennell, Richard: "The pirates of the Defensor de Pedro (1828–30) and the sanitisation of a pirate legend". (2020). International Journal of Maritime History. 32 (4): 823–847.


45 Restano, John Op. cit p. 238

46 Gibraltar Government Archives- Documents in the Case of Dr Hughes (1841-1840)/ Letter from Dr Hughes to Lord John Russel June 5th, 1841

47 Gibraltar Government Archives- Documents in the Case of Dr Hughes (1841-1840)/Letter from Dr Hughes to Colonial Secretary, 2 March 1841.

48 Sheriff, Keith: The Rough Ashlar: The History of English Freemasonry in Gibraltar 1727-2002. (Gibraltar)., p. 161

49 Caruana, Charles:  The Rock under a Cloud  p. 66

50 Gibraltar Government Archives- Documents in the Case of Dr Hughes (1841-1840)/Letter from Dr Hughes to Colonial Secretary, 2 March 1841

51 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 140

52 The Right Rev, Henry Hughes v Anthony Porral and others (1842) 4 Moo P.C 41.

53 Restano, John Op. cit p. 248

54 Ibid. p. 249

55 Ibid. p. 249

56 Begg, Paul: Mary Celeste: The Greatest Mystery of the Sea. Routledge, (2014) p. 15

57 Hicks, Brian: Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and her Missing Crew. New York. (2004)., p. 136

58 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 252





63 Restano, John Op. cit p. 256

64 Clark, David & McCoy Gerard: The Most Fundamental Legal Right: Habeas Corpus in the Commonwealth, Oxford University Press (2000)

65 Restano, John, Op. cit p. 252

66 Ibid. p. 253

67 Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, The Times, 24th January 1923, p. 5.

68 Gibraltar Heritage Journal Vol 7 (2000)- The Social Impact of the Spanish Civil War in Gibraltar p. 75

69 Restano, John Op. cit p. 275

70 Ibid.  p. 276

71 Ibid.  p. 278

72 Ibid.  p. 279

73 Restano, John Op. cit p. 289

74 Ibid.  p. 280

75 Gibraltar Heritage Journal Vol 5 (1998): Spies Hanged during the War by Sir Joshua Hassan p. 56 

76 Ibid.  p. 281

77 Ibid.  p. 281

78 Ibid   p. 282

79 Ibid.  p. 282

80 Jackson, William & Cantos, Francis: From Fortress to Democracy (1995)  p. 24

81 Hassan, Sir Joshua, Op. cit  p. 56




85 Eckert, Nicholas, Op. cit p. 23


Courthouse Image