RDT Abogados provide comprehensive litigation and mediation services covering a wide range of issues.
Litigation involves bringing or defending a claim in court, or in general representing someone at the Court in all types of cases, including criminal, fiscal, administrative, etc.
This process at Court is time consuming and costly.
How does the litigation work in Spain, is it as in the UK?
Not really. The Spanish legal system was virtually copied in it´s entirety from that one known as “Napoleonic” after the French invasion of the early XIX century, which was itself based of the Roman law.
As such, and unlike the Anglo Saxon legal and jurisdictional systems, is heavily based on letter of the Law, more than the precedent. Spain is known for having a very active legislator, which issues long and intricate Laws.
What are the overall costs? Is it very expensive to file a claim at Court?
Again, no, the solicitors in Spain, and the Legal Firms they incorporate, are independent professionals and companies, and as such they compete in an open market offering their services and fees freely.
Not long ago the system was very different and the regulation of the legal profession was very strict: the legal fees were set by the Government and the solicitors couldn´t advertise nor market their services.
However, in the last two decades or so, the generalisation of new technologies and globalisation (also of Legal Firms) have forced the Spanish legal system into a complete reform.
The competence has brought more transparency and, importantly, has lowered the fees.
Also importantly, until some years ago it was not possible in Spain to enter into an agreement with a solicitor on a no-win no-fee basis.
Now it is possible to pay your solicitor with the compensation or proceeds from a case. Many solicitors resort to this system more and more often.
How is the overall organization of the Courts in Spain?
There are four jurisdictions: Civil (family, inheritance, commercial and private matters), criminal, labour relations and administrative (those cases filed against any public or governmental entity or body).
Vertically, the Courts are organized starting at the base with the first instance Courts, then the Provincial Courts and then the Supreme Court.
Can you appeal a Court rule or sentence in Spain?
This is one of the main pillars of the Rule of Law and Spain has had this in place since the current Constitution was passed by 1978.
Anyone has the right to take his / her case to a higher instance at least once, so a different Court (normally formed by a panel of Judges) reviews the whole case as well as the judgement or sentence passed in the first instance Court.
I lived in Spain for a long while and now I´ve returned to the UK. Can I be chased / sued in the UK for a debt I left in Spain?
For better or for worse, yes.
The cooperation between the countries has increase drastically, and the Courts in different States and jurisdictions cooperate frequently, and increasingly so.
Nowadays it does not matter that a person resides in a different country to that of the creditor, as the international procedural systems in place (mainly the European Enforcement Order) and other systems of cooperation are quick and effective in locating and executing Judgements and Court rulings passed abroad.
An important point to add to the above is that the aforementioned international mechanisms add costs for the debtor.
And can they seize my assets and order a legal charge against my property and other assets in the UK?
Yes and it does happen quite often. A claim filed in Spain, or a Judgement passed by a Spanish Court can be executed and enforced in the UK exactly as if was issued by a County Court.
Will this remain thus after the Brexit?
Yes. The cooperation with the EU is complete, but it is also quite solid between the countries within the EU and those overseas.
Furthermore, it is quite likely that when the consequences of the Brexit are fully implemented, the UK will remain within a frame of specific cooperation currently in place with non EU countries such as Norway and Switzerland.
How can I then contest a claim or start a case from the UK?
You can contact a Law Firm with presence in the UK and also in Spain, such as RDT.
If you live in the UK and have been notified of a case against you, you can simply give power of attorney and we will be able to assist you in a way that could mean you can avoid going to Spain at any point of the process.
It is important to note that some criminal cases do require the presence of the parties at Court.
However, we can advise whether this would be necessary during the first stages of our assessment of your case.
What kind of cases can you handle for me as per the explanations above?
RDT Abogados offer the following services to private clients.
Please, note that this is a short list of common situations – we will be able to assist you in any sort of claim or Court case in Spain.
- Property Dispute Resolution
- Contract Disputes
- Landlord/Tenant Disputes
- Administrative Litigation
- Criminal Litigation
- Damages Claims
Contact us for a no-obligation consultation today.