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Litigation in Spain and the UK 

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The major differences between the two jurisdictions.

What are the major differences between the two jurisdictions in civil matters?

One of the main differences is that the pleadings or documents submitted to the court in the English system are shorter and indeed the system now requires a “skeleton argument” which is literally the bare bones of the case. In Spain the demanda or claim made in court has to be argued in full in the first document submitted with all of the facts, the evidence and the case law relied on. In matrimonial matters in particular the English petition submitted is a box ticking exercise with requirements for evidence later in the proceedings. In Spain in the first document submitted you have to provide the evidence you rely on and fully argue the case if it is contentious.


What are the major differences between the two jurisdictions in criminal matters?

In the Spanish criminal law system the Judge is an investigating Judge with powers to call for evidence, to question witnesses and to decide what information can and cannot be released to the parties at the preliminary stage of the proceedings – ‘Diligencias Previas’. In the English system it is the role of the adversarial counsel to question witnesses and provide evidence with the Judge having a role in testing that evidence and asking additional questions but not investigating matters that are not brought before him or her by the prosecution and defence.


Are there court costs in both countries?

Up to December 2012 in Spain there were no costs in civil proceedings or matrimonial proceedings that were payable directly to the court. The only costs charged in the courts were payable if a company with a turnover of more than 8 millions of euros was bringing the claim.

However the current government has brought in court costs as part of the new financial measures; there are still many discussions on this topic and the law has already been modified, according to these recent modifications in mutual agreement divorces and family matters that only concern measures to be applied to minor children no tax is applicable.

In England there have always been court fees payable on submitting claims in civil and family proceedings though for family proceedings these have not been very costly.


Can you act in person in Spain or the UK or do you have to be legally represented?

In the UK it is possible to represent yourself in family and civil proceedings. In English family proceedings and with the reduction in the number of firms who provide legal aid this has become more common. You can also commence civil action and defend a civil action. In criminal proceedings you are appointed a lawyer if you do not have one.

In Spain not only can you not act in person but you also have to name a court procurator as well as an abogado or lawyer in all proceedings except for minor criminal allegations. The procurator is responsible for notifying the parties of decisions and orders of the court.

De Cotta Law Open Day – Wednesday 18th September

De Cotta Law, the Firm of English Lawyers and Spanish abogados with offices in the Canary Islands and Mainland Spain, are holding an Open Day in Tenerife on Wednesday 18th September 2013, from 9:30 to 17:00. Especially for the Open Day on Wednesday 18th September De Cotta Law specialist Barrister Overseas, Sandra Wrightson, will be available for free consultations on Family Law & English law. All attendees will also have the possibility to meet and receive some information and free financial advice from the financial adviser Paul Montague, Blevins Franks, who will also be present throughout the day. All legal consultations throughout the day will be completely FREE; to book your private consultation please call our office on 922 719 520 or send an email to tenerife@decottalaw.net

Visit De Cotta Law’s offices, opposite The Scotch Corner bar, in San Eugenio, Playa de Las Americas, Adeje and take advantage of a FREE, private legal consultation.

De Cotta Law – Over 30 Years Experience in Spain – Family law and divorce – Civil & Criminal litigation – English law – Personal injury – Timeshare and tourist law – Commercial law – Tax – Property & Conveyancing – Spanish Wills and Inheritance

 De Cotta Law

Avda. de los Pueblos Esq. C/ Colón

Parque Residencial Villaflor, Local B-20, 1ª Planta

San Eugenio, Playa de Las Americas

38660 Costa Adeje, Tenerife


Tel.: (00 34) 922 719 520

Fax: (00 34) 922 724 511

Email: tenerife@decottalaw.net

Website: www.decottalaw.com