Under Gibraltar law, both the Magistrates' Court and the Supreme Court have the power to make orders with respect to the payment of maintenance. Maintenance is generally covered under the Maintenance Act. In the Supreme Court, provision for child, civil partner, dependant and spousal maintenance may be made ancillary to divorce, judicial separation, annulment or dissolution proceedings. Both the Supreme Court and Magistrates’ Court retain jurisdiction to vary the terms of maintenance payable after the granting of the decree absolute, or dissolution order. In the Magistrates' Court, there is power to make a maintenance order in favour of a wife, a husband, child, or even to the parents of the parties where certain conditions are satisfied. Such an order can be made upon a complaint to be laid before the Magistrates' Court. There is also statutory provision to make a maintenance order where a cohabitee fails to maintain the other cohabitee.
A child under the age of sixteen is entitled to receive maintenance. Additionally, a child who, having reached the age of sixteen but who is under twenty-one and is either in full time education or undergoing full-time training for a trade, profession or vocation and for not less than two years is also entitled to receive maintenance.
A child whose earning capacity is impaired through illness or disability of mind or body and who has not reached the age of twenty-one is also entitled to maintenance.
To seek maintenance in cases where the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has not been engaged, an applicant should apply to the Magistrates' Court by way of complaint.
Maintenance applications which are ancillary and arise out of divorce, judicial separation, annulment or dissolution proceedings should be made to the Supreme Court.
A request for maintenance can be made on behalf of a child by a person having a care order / parental responsibility attached to the child. Pursuant to the provisions of the Maintenance Act, a child himself may apply for maintenance against a person liable to maintain him.
If the claim for maintenance arises out of a marriage or a civil partnership, the Magistrates' Court may have jurisdiction to deal with the matter. If the claim for maintenance arises out of divorce, judicial separation, annulment or dissolution proceedings within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, then it is that Court that should consider the question of maintenance.
An applicant can bring a claim in person and represent himself in Court, alternatively, instruct solicitors to act on their behalf.
The filing of a complaint in the Magistrates' Court attracts no fee. Therefore, an applicant in person may appear without having to incur any expense.
In the Supreme Court, the filing of a summons normally attracts a fee of £150. In both the Magistrates' Court and the Supreme Court, legal assistance may be available subject to a means test. Applications for legal assistance in either court should be made to the Supreme Court and application forms are available from the Supreme Court Registry.
Upon hearing the complaint, the Magistrates' Court may make a maintenance order for the payment of a weekly or other periodic sum as the Court considers reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the maintenance of a child, a father, partner, cohabitee, mother and/or spouse.
Applications can subsequently be made for the variation of maintenance orders. This application would also be made to the Magistrates' Court or to the Supreme Court, where applicable.
The court can in appropriate cases decide that maintenance is to be backdated.
Maintenance can be paid from one party to another or alternatively, payments can be made into Court.
There is provision for a complainant to apply for an attachment of earnings order once a defendant has missed at least two of the payments required by the original maintenance order. The Magistrates' Court also has the power to make committal orders, thereby committing a defendant to prison for failure to adhere to the terms of a maintenance order. However, in such cases, the Court gives an opportunity to a defendant to make representations why such an order should not be made.
There is no limitation period.
Applications for maintenance are normally dealt with by the Magistrates' Court of Gibraltar, 32 – 36 Town Range, Gibraltar. Where a claim for maintenance arises out of divorce, judicial separation or annulment proceedings, the application should be made to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, 277 Main Street, Gibraltar.
There is no provision for this in Gibraltar law. Payment can be enforced by an attachment of earnings order or by the use of committal orders.
Enquiries should be made to the Magistrates' Court, 277 Main Street, Gibraltar or the Supreme Court, 277 Main Street, Gibraltar.
Enquiries can be addressed to the:
Clerk of the Magistrates’ Court,
32 – 36 Town Range
telephone: +350 200 75671
fax: +350 200 40483.
Alternatively, enquiries involving maintenance proceedings in the Supreme Court can be addressed to
277 Main Street,
telephone: +350 200 75608
fax: +350 200 77118.
A complaint setting out the relief claimed in Gibraltar can be sent directly to the Magistrates' Court as and when the jurisdictional requirements are satisfied. Alternatively, the appropriate application can be filed at the Supreme Court Registry where the claim for maintenance arises out of divorce, judicial separation or annulment proceedings.
As per previous question.
Gibraltar is not bound by the Hague Protocol and it does not apply in Gibraltar.
The laws of Gibraltar apply to all cases decided in Gibraltar
This Regulation provides a series of measures aimed at facilitating the payment of maintenance claims in cross-border situations. Such claims arise from the obligation to help family members in need. For example, they may take the form of maintenance paid to a child or to a former spouse following divorce.
The Regulation applies to maintenance obligations arising from:
The Maintenance Act sets out the operation of the Maintenance Regulation. The central authority has been designated as:
Minister for Justice,
Government of Gibraltar
Suite 771 Europort
Tel: + 350 200 59267
Fax: + 350 200 59271
The Legal Aid and Assistance Act sets the tests for merit and financial conditions required to qualify.
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