The Hon Neil F Costa joined the firm as a Partner in October 2019.Prior to joining ISOLAS, Neil served in Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar as Minister for Justice where he was responsible for some of the most important legislative reforms some of which are briefly mentioned below.
Elected in December 2011, Neil was initially responsible for Tourism, Commercial Affairs, Public Transport, and the Port before being named Minister for Business and Employment with responsibility for Pensions and Benefits, Health and Safety, and Postal Services. During this period, he oversaw the wholesale reform of the Employment Tribunal’s constitution, powers, functions, and processes. In 2016, he was appointed Minister for Health, Care, and Justice during which time he was responsible, among other areas, for Gibraltar’s health, elderly, and social care services, the Royal Gibraltar Police, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, and Gibraltar’s Court Service. As Minister for Justice, Neil swore an oath to respect the rule of law and defend the independence of the judiciary.
After twelve years as a Member of Parliament, Neil has returned to private legal practice. Neil’s legal work focuses on human rights law, public law, namely constitutional and administrative cases, and employment law, in particular in matters relating to non-discrimination, protected disclosures, and equal opportunities. Neil also specialises in family law, common law, general commercial, and civil and criminal litigation.
Neil has litigation experience in appearing before Gibraltar’s Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Employment Tribunal, and other statutory bodies. Neil is a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, and in October 2019 he graduated with Distinction from his Edinburgh University Master of Laws.
Neil has extensive experience in law, having led on several wide-ranging reforms to Gibraltar’s domestic legislative framework. These included:
- the introduction of the Lasting Powers of Attorney and Capacity Act 2018, an innovative piece of legislation in Gibraltar regarding decision-making in respect of individuals who lack capacity and to their care and treatment;
- 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;
- 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, which was established to undertake the examination and reform of particular branches of the law; and
- 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, and also introducing the duty legal representative scheme, which, for the first time, guarantees advice and representation to persons in custody at any time.
Neil Costa leads the Human Rights Law Practice of ISOLAS LLP.
Neil advises on a wide range of legal issues arising from human rights law and on the human rights implications in different areas of law.
Neil obtained a Master of Laws with Distinction from the University of Edinburgh during which time he predominantly focused on human rights law studies.
Neil Costa advises employers on matters relating to employment law, including employment disputes on matters relating to non-discrimination, protected disclosures, and equal opportunities. Neil also advises employers on employment contracts, staff handbooks, and data protection matters.
Neil also regularly assists employers on all aspects of internal investigations in accordance with Gibraltar laws, including advising employers on matters relating to employees’ human rights.
Neil frequently advises clients on contractual and civil disputes both before and after proceedings are commenced representing clients in a wide range of litigious matters, including personal injury claims, debt recoveries, negligence claims, and breach of contract matters.
Neil advises clients on a range of non-contentious matters, including drafting commercial contracts, lasting powers of attorneys, and represents clients before statutory boards.
Neil was instructed in relation to the planning application by MH Bland to expand and modernise the Cable Car, which received unanimous support by the Development and Planning Commission on 29 October 2020 after having been previously deferred on various occasions.
In January 2020, Neil was appointed by the Minister for Digital and Financial Services to form part of the Decision Making Committee (‘DMC’) of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (‘GFSC’). The DMC operates as an independent statutory committee whose task is to make specified regulatory decisions on behalf of the GFSC in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Services Act 2019.
Neil is currently listed on the legal aid practitioners’ list in Gibraltar and represents clients who are arrested and/or charged by the Royal Gibraltar Police. Further information can be found here.
Memberships & Background
- Member of Lincoln’s Inn
2019: Partner, ISOLAS
2019: Distinction in Master of Laws from Edinburgh University.