Former Minister for Justice joins ISOLAS litigation team

23/10/2019 The Hon Neil F Costa

International law firm ISOLAS LLP has appointed former Minister for Justice and legislative authority, Neil Costa.

Neil, who served in the Gibraltar Government until the most recent General Election, has vast experience in the law, having led on several wide-ranging reforms to Gibraltar’s domestic legislative framework.

Joining the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution team, Neil’s role in Government saw him work on some big changes to Gibraltar’s legislation, including:

  • The introduction of the Lasting Powers of Attorney and Capacity Act 2018, a piece of revolutionary legislation in Gibraltar regarding decision-making in respect of individuals who lack capacity and to their care and treatment.
  • Finalising and bringing the Legal Services Act 2017 into force, ushering the first regulatory overhaul of Gibraltar’s legal profession in fifty years.
  • Architecting the Law Commission Act 2017, which was established to undertake the examination and reform of particular branches of the law.
  • Amending the Prison Act to increase the minimum time to be served by inmates serving a fixed-term sentence from the current third to half of their sentence. Eligibility for parole now varies depending on the length of the sentence.
  • Introducing amendments to Gibraltar’s Proceeds of Crime Act, expanding the definition of ‘unlawful conduct’ to include such conduct by a public official outside Gibraltar that constitutes gross human rights abuses against a person.
  • Enacting the most significant enhancement of access to justice in twenty-eight years by increasing the pool of persons eligible to enjoy free legal advice and representation in certain civil cases whilst also introducing the duty legal representative scheme, which, for the first time, guarantees advice and representation to persons in custody at any time.
  • Working with the Gibraltar Law Offices to ensure that EU Directives were enacted within deadlines.

Neil was elected to the Gibraltar Parliament in December 2011, initially serving as Minister responsible for Tourism, Commercial Affairs, Public Transport, and the Port.

In December 2014, Neil was named Minister for Business and Employment with responsibility for Pensions and Benefits, Health and Safety, and Postal Services. During this period, Neil oversaw the wholesale reform of the Employment Tribunal’s constitution, powers, functions, and processes.

In addition to his role as Justice Minister, Neil had, since October 2016, also served as Minister for Health and Care.

Prior to his election, Neil specialised in employment, family, general commercial, and criminal litigation. He has appeared before Gibraltar’s Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Employment Tribunal, and other statutory bodies.

Neil will support ISOLAS’ litigation practice, which focuses on complex, high-value multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation, shareholders’ disputes, and insolvency litigation.

Neil said:

“I am delighted to be joining ISOLAS LLP. It has been a singular privilege and honour to serve my community, and I have enjoyed every moment; however, I am looking forward to going back into private practice, working with clients, and getting back in the court room.

“ISOLAS has an outstanding reputation for dealing with complex and high-value multi-jurisdictional litigation, and I am looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Senior partner of ISOLAS LLP, Peter Isola, said:

“Neil has been responsible for some of the most important legislative changes in our Government. He has been indispensable in his role of Minister for Justice and, while he’ll be sadly missed, the Government’s loss is very much our gain.

“To have someone of his stature and reputation join our team is incredibly exciting. His appointment also reflects the growth of our litigation and dispute resolution team and our commitment to delivering the highest level of client service.”

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