Actualidad

Litigation and enforcement in Spain: overview

Litigation and enforcement in Spain: overview

Litigation and enforcement in Spain: overview
by Alfonso López-ibor, Pablo Henríquez de Luna and Virginia Jover, Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor Abogados.

A Q&A guide to dispute resolution law in Spain.

Litigation and enforcement in Spain: overview

The country-specific Q&A gives a structured overview of the key practical issues concerning dispute resolution in this jurisdiction, including court procedures; fees and funding; interim remedies (including attachment orders); disclosure; expert evidence; appeals; class actions; enforcement; cross-border issues; the use of ADR; and any reform proposals.

Main dispute resolution methods

1. What are the main dispute resolution methods used in your jurisdiction to resolve large commercial disputes?
The vast majority of conflicts are resolved by court litigation. However, parties to a commercial agreement can submit disputes to judicial tribunals, arbitration (whether to an arbitral court or to an ad hoc arbitration tribunal) or to mediation.

Court litigation

Limitation periods

2. What limitation periods apply to bringing a claim and what triggers a limitation period?

The general limitation period for personal actions is now five years (Article 1964, Civil Code). (The general limitation period was 15 years until the reform of the Civil Procedure Act, which came into force on the 7 October 2015.) There are further limitation periods of five years for contractual obligations (Article 1964, Civil Code) and one year for non-contractual obligations (Article 1968, Civil Code).
Those terms run from the time of a cause of action arising until the commencement of court proceedings. Expiry of the applicable limitation period terminates the right to sue, that is, the right of action lapses.

Court structure

3. What is the structure of the court where large commercial disputes are usually brought? Are certain types of dispute allocated to particular divisions of this court?

The Spanish judicial system is structured into several levels. Its operation is regulated by:

• Organic Law 6/1985 on Judicial Power.
• Law 1/2000 on Civil Judgment.
• Law of 14 September 1882 on Criminal Judgment.
• Law 29/1998 on Administrative Jurisdiction.
• Royal Legislative Decree 2/1995, which rewrote the Law of Labour Procedure
• Organic Law 2/1989 Regulating Military Criminal Procedure.

The mercantile courts were created in 2003 for commercial disputes, and specialise in commercial subjects such as competition, insolvency, intellectual property, corporations, maritime issues and other contractual disputes. The first instance courts and mercantile courts are the first steps in the Spanish judicial structure. They are followed by the appeal courts, which are tribunals that review judgments issued by lower courts. Finally, the Supreme Court can review certain cases and judgments issued by a court of appeal. However, leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is severely restricted.

Rights of audience

4. Which types of lawyers have rights of audience to conduct cases in courts where large commercial disputes are usually brought? What requirements must they meet? Can foreign lawyers conduct cases in these courts?

This Q&A is part of the global guide to dispute resolution.

For a full list of jurisdictional Q&As visit www.practicallaw.com/dispute-guide.

Contributor profiles

Alfonso López-Ibor, Managing partner Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor Abogados

Professional qualifications. BA in Law, Complutense University, Madrid
Areas of practice. Commercial and corporate; litigation and arbitration; aeronautics.
Languages. English, French and Spanish
Professional associations/memberships. Madrid Bar Association.

Pablo Henríquez de Luna, Head of Litigation Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor Abogados

Professional qualifications. BA in Law, Complutense University, Madrid
Areas of practice. Litigation; arbitration; bankruptcy.
Languages. Spanish and English
Professional associations/memberships. Madrid Bar Association.

Virginia Jover, Associate Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor Abogados

Professional qualifications. BA in Law, Autonoma University, Madrid
Areas of practice. Litigation and arbitration; commercial and corporate.
Languages. Spanish and English
Professional associations/memberships. Madrid Bar Association.

© 2017 THOMSON REUTERS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.