The University is a not-for-profit independent tertiary institution. The University of Gibraltar Act 2015, which establishes the University, was passed by the Gibraltar Parliament on 30 March 2015.

This Act founds the University of Gibraltar, sets out its powers, functions and duties, and internal governance. It provides for the establishment or designation of bodies to safeguard academic standards of the university and to regulate the conduct of its affairs.

The Act grants the university the right and the power to award degrees (including research and honorary degrees), diplomas and certificates.