Neil F Costa awarded Morris Prize for highest overall grade for the year and for the highest grade in the dissertation
ISOLAS Partner and litigator, Neil Costa, has graduated from Oxford University, New College, with Distinction in his Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law. Neil was awarded the Morris Prize for the highest overall grade for the year and for the highest grade in the dissertation. The Master is an internationally recognised and respected postgraduate degree from Oxford University, which has been ranked the number 1 university in the world for a sixth consecutive year.
Neil undertook the course whilst maintaining an extremely busy legal practice.
The Master’s programme, read over 2 years, offers a wide range of subjects in international human rights law. The course is designed to educate students in the broad overarching framework of international human rights law and to enable its in-depth study. The course comprises a 4-week residential component during which Neil studied 2 electives that are ordinarily taken throughout an entire academic year. A principal aim of the Master is to enable effective and expert application of human rights law to real-life situations. In all, the programme places an emphasis on substance, implementation, and research of international human rights law.
Neil undertook study in, amongst other subjects, human rights and environmental law and the international human rights of children.
Neil joined ISOLAS in 2019 following eight years as a Minister in Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar, the last 3 as Minister for Health, Care, and Justice. Neil primarily focuses on human rights cases and on employment, civil, and criminal litigation. Neil also advises clients on a broad range of non-contentious advisory matters, including drafting employment and commercial contracts and other documents, including lasting powers of attorneys, and represents clients before all levels of Gibraltar’s courts.
‘I am over the moon that I managed to obtain a distinction notwithstanding the demands of running, thankfully, a very busy legal practice. Furthermore, I really was not expecting to have obtained the highest grade in the year and for my dissertation. Quite apart from having had the great fortune of being taught by some of the foremost human rights experts in their respective fields, I must say that every aspect of the Master was exceptional and hugely relevant to my human rights legal practice and pro bono work. I have no doubt that the course has broadened and deepened my understanding of international human rights law. I sincerely wish to thank my partner, Arianne, my daughter, April, and, my family – not to mention my clients – for their patience and support throughout the course, all of whom encouraged me to persevere in my studies even when balancing the demands on my time became difficult. I could not have successfully completed the course without their unstinting understanding and support. To learn whilst working can be very tough at times, but it is also an extremely rewarding experience that I continue to recommend to anyone who is considering studying part-time.’
Senior Partner, Peter Isola, added:
‘I am delighted to hear that Neil has obtained a Distinction in his Oxford Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law. Neil has not only managed the demands of his incredibly busy legal practice, but he has married, is the proud father of his 9-month old son, James, and he has managed to obtain the highest overall grade for the year and for the dissertation. It speaks volumes of Neil’s hard work and dedication. Through the Master of Studies, Neil brings a wealth of knowledge to the firm’s human rights law practice.’
 The Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2021.