Litigation and Enforcement
We offer dispute resolution services in Spain to international clients and are ready to provide full support for court procedures, arbitration and mediation (ADR). Our team can protect your interests in civil, criminal, corporate & commercial, labour and administrative law cases. We can also assist you with enforcement of judgements and arbitral awards in Spain.
Court litigation remains the main method of dispute resolution although arbitration is growing steadily, even for domestic cases. Are you thinking about the convenience of starting a dispute resolution in Spain? Let us advise you on the most convenient strategy for dispute resolution.
- Civil Courts: First Instance and Commercial Courts
- Criminal Jurisdiction
- Arbitration & ADR
- Administrative law dispute resolution
- Labour Courts
First Instance and Commercial Courts have similar structures: they are served by a single judge and a secretariat.
Regarding appeals, all matters are challenged before the Provincial Court of Appeals (Audiencia Provincial), where three magistrates manage the appeals.
Some cases can be brought in exceptional circumstances to the Spanish Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo).
Once the investigation is completed the case is sent for trial to the Criminal Courts (Juzgados de lo Penal) or to the corresponding Provincial Court (Audiencia Provincial) for crimes where imprisonment excedes 5 years.
Regarding appeals, all matters derived from Criminal Courts are challenged before the Provincial Court, while all matters derived from the Provincial Court as first instance are challenged before the Superior Court of Justice of the Autonomous Community (Tribunal Superior de Justicia de la Comunidades Autónomas).
Spain has also several specific courts such as the Juvenile Courts (Juzgados de Menores) and Courts dealing with Violence Against Women (Juzgados de Violencia Sobre la Mujer). Additionally, the National High Court (Audiencia Nacional) has jurisdiction over some specific crimes such as, but not limited to, terrorism, large drug trafficking or nation-wide economic crimes.
Some cases can be brought in exceptional circumstances to the Spanish Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo). Access to the Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional) is only granted for those cases where fundamental rights have been violated.
The arbitration agreement must be made in writing in a document signed by the parties. An exchange of electronic correspondence or other means of telecommunication that provides a record of such agreement would be deemed valid.
A valid arbitration agreement obliges the parties to comply with the agreement and prevents the courts from hearing disputes on matters relating to or submitted to arbitral proceedings.
The courts would have an assistance role for obtaining evidence, application of interim measures and enforcement of the arbitral award.
Apart from arbitration, mediation is the most common alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method. The Spanish Mediation Act for Civil and Commercial Issues 5/2012 regulates the exercise of mediation procedures establishing a framework for this dispute resolution method.
Any act or decision of the Administration must be appealed within the Administration before resorting to court assistance.
If the dispute is not settled within the Administration, the affected party has the right to present lawsuit against the Administration for judicially contesting the act or resolution.
This lawsuit is usually presented to the Administrative Court (Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo).
Administrative Courts are in charge of jurisdictional supervision of the duties and activities of the Administration.
The most usual cases are related to disagreement on terms of the employment agreement, specially on the causes and conditions of termination of employment relationship.
After presenting the lawsuit a preliminary conciliation is conducted to try to reach an amicable settlement. If the conciliation fails, the issue will be taken to court hearing.
Litigation is the pursuit of practical ends, not a game of chess.Felix Frankfurter, US Supreme Court Justice (1882-1965)