Features – A Guide to the Spanish Legal System

Olga Cabrero holds a law degree from the University of Barcelona School of Law where she is also currently enrolled in a History Degree Program. She works in the Legal Department of Chupa Chups, S.A., a multinational firm. She completed internships with Cornell Law Library (Ithaca, New York) on May 2000 and October 2001. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, English and French.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Political System
2.1 State
2.1.1 Parliament
2.1.2 Government
2.1.3 Judicial Power
2.2 Autonomous Communities
2.3 Other Constitutional Organs of the State
2.3.1 Crown
2.3.2 Constitutional Court
3. Legal System
3.1 Sources of Law
3.2 National Legislation
3.2.1 Types of Law
3.2.2 Legislative Process
3.3 Autonomous Communities Legislation
3.4 Interpretation, Application and Efficacy of the Laws
3.5 Procedure
4. The Legal Profession
5. Bibliography
6. Internet Resources

1. Introduction

The Kingdom of Spain is the main country on the Iberian Peninsula shared with Portugal and the British dependent territory Gibraltar. Its territory also includes the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (North Africa). Since 1986, Spain has been a member of the European Union. The Spanish population numbers approximately 40,000,000 people. The national currency is Peseta. On January 1, 2002 Spain joined the Single European Currency (Euro). Castilian is the official Spanish language coexisting with other regional languages that are official in their respective Autonomous Communities (art. 3 Spanish Constitution), mainly Catalan, Basque and Galician. The capital of the State is the city of Madrid (art. 5 of Spanish Constitution).

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2. Political System

The Spanish Constitution (SC) was approved by the Spanish legislative chamber (Cortes Generales) on October 31, 1978, ratified by national referendum on December 6 .and singed by the King on December 27, 1978.

The Constitution contains the basic principles of the political system and it is the supreme rule of the Spanish legal system.

Spain is defined by Constitution as a social and democratic State of law whose sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people (arts. 1.1 ad 1.2 SC)

The politic form of the Spanish State is the Parliamentary Monarchy (art. 1.3 SC). The King is the Head of State and exercises only the functions expressly attributed to him by the Constitution and the laws (art. 56.1 SC).

The country is divided in 17 Autonomous Communities, each with its own Parliament and Government. Even though the Constitution defines Spain as unitary and indissoluble it also recognizes and guarantees the principle of autonomy of nationalities and regions (art. 2 SC).

In this way, Spain has three different levels of government (art. 137 SC):

  • Central Government
  • Autonomous Communities Government
  • Municipal Government

The limits and domains of each one are specified in Title VIIIth SC (articles 137 to 158). Especially significant are articles 148 and 149 referred to the distribution of domains between the State and the Autonomous Communities.

2.1 State

Central State power is divided among:

  • Legislative Chamber or Parliament, that exercises the legislative power
  • Executive or Government, that exercises executive power
  • Judicial system, exercises judicial authority

2.1.1 Parliament

Spanish Parliament is the institution that represents the Spanish people. Its functions can be described mainly as:

  • Legislative: producing the main rules of the system
  • Budgetary: authorizing the expenses of the State
  • Control of the Government
  • Parliament also authorizes the international obligations of the State and proposes candidates for other constitutional organs

The Parliament is divided in two chambers (Art. 66.1 SC): the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados), defined at art. 68 SC and the Senate (Senado), defined at art. 69 SC.

It is regulated by arts. 66 to 80 SC and by the own internal regulations of each Chamber:

This division is mainly a consequence of the recognition of the right to autonomy: the Congress is the chamber of popular representation and the Senate is the chamber of territorial representation. At practice the Congress is in a real superiority position over the Senate.

Each chamber has its own organs:

  • A President
  • A Board (Mesa)1
  • Board of Spokesperson (Junta de Portavoces)
  • A representative from the Executive, chaired by the President of the Chamber

Both Chambers work in Plenary Sessions and in Commission (art. 75.1 SC). Due to the difficulty (or impossibility) of discuss each question in a Plenary Session, Chambers may delegate to the Commissions which study the different proposed regulations and the technicalities involved therein. Commissions have full legislative power in most matters, they can approve bills or proposals of law although the Plenary Session may require debate and voting on any bill or proposal of law (art. 75.2 SC). As stated in art 75.3 SC, constitutional reform, international affairs, organic and basis laws and the general budget must be treated in Plenary Session.

The Parliament elects the President of the Government who appoints the Ministers.

The electoral systems is partly regulated by SC:

  • Arts. 23, 68, 69 and 70 for State election
  • Art. 140 for Municipal government
  • Art. 152 for Autonomous Communicies elections

Electoral system is also regulated by Organic Law 5/1985, June 19, del Régimen Electoral General (LOREG)

2.1.2 Government

Title IV (art. 97-107) of SC regulates.

The functions and the structure of the Government are regulated by Title IV SC. The Government is composed by the President, Vice-Presidents (one or various), the Ministers and other members the law may establish (art. 98.1 SC).

Government is also regulated by law 50/1997, del Gobierno,

2.1.3 Judicial Power

Judicial Power is regulated at Title VI SC and by Organic Law 6/1985, July 1, 1985, of the Judicial Power (LOPJ), modified by Organic Laws 4/1987, 7/1988, 7/1992, 16/1994, 5/1995 and 5/1997.

According arts. 117.1 SC and art.1 LOPJ justice is administered only by judges and magistrates and the exercise of judicial authority in any kind of action is vested exclusively in the courts and tribunals laid down by the law (art. 117.3 SC and art. 2.1. LOPJ).

Although Spain is divided into Autonomous Communities the Judicial Power is unitary (arts. 117.5, 149.1.5 SC and art. 3.1 LOPJ). Autonomous Communities doesn’t have judicial power and their courts are courts of the State.

The provision of unitary also means that the existence of special courts, courts of exception (art. 117.6 SC) and courts of honor (art. 26 SC) is forbidden. Although Art. 117.5 SC recognizes the existence of a military jurisdiction, its exercise it’s limited strictly within military framework and in cases of state of siege (martial law), alarm or exception and in accordance with the principles of the Constitution. Military jurisdiction is a part of the Judicial Power too.

The judicial power is general and is extended to all people, all matters and entire territory (art. 4 LOPJ), including the Public Administration and with the only exception of the person of the King. HE enjoys a special immunity and is inviolable and shall not be held accountable (art. 56.3 SC).

Judges are independent and they are subjected only to the rule of law. Judges are not subjected to any orders or instructions by any other power of the State or other judges (art. 117.1 SC and art. 1 LOPJ). They may only be dismissed, suspended, transferred or retired on the grounds and subject to the safeguards provided for by the law (art. 117.2 SC).

The Judicial System is controlled by the General Council of the Judiciary (Consejo General del Poder Judicial, CGPJ) as stated at Art.122.2 SC. Judiciary Act 6/1985, of July 1 (mainly arts. 122 and et.seq.) regulates the Council. This Organic Law is the provision for the setting up operation and internal administration of courts and tribunals as well as for the legal status of professional judges and magistrates. The Council is also regulated by its own internal regulation: Regulation 1/1986, of April 22, 1986, on the Organization and Operation of the General Council of the Judiciary.

The particular functions of the Council are stated at arts.107 to 110 LOPJ.

The CGPJ is composed by 20 members and the President who will be also appointed as the President of the Supreme Court (art. 111 LOPJ). The members are proposed by the Congress and the Senate. Twelve of its members shall be judges and magistrates of all judicial categories and eight members chosen amongst lawyers and other jurists of acknowledged competence with more than fifteen years of professional practice. (Art. 122.3 SC and arts.112 et.seq. LOPJ). The members of the Council are appointed for a five-year period and they can not be reelected with the exception of the President.

The Structure of the Judicial Power

Spanish territory is divided for jurisdictional purposes in (arts. 30 and et.seq. LOPJ):

  • Municipalities (municipios)
  • Judicial Districts (partidos judiciales)
  • Provinces (provincias)
  • Autonomous Communities (Comunidades Autonomas)

This division coincides with the administrative division of the territory and it corresponds to the administrative demarcation with the same name. The exception of this correspondence is “Judicial districts” which are defined at art. 32 LOPJ and by Law 38/1988, de demarcacion y planta judicial, modified by law 3/1992.

At art. 26 LOPJ are listed the different types of courts.

Each territorial unit has a specific type of court:

  • Municipalities in which there is no First Instance and Examining Court have Courts of Peace (Juzgados de Paz) whose particular status and functions are defined at arts. 99 et.seq. LOPJ

  • Judicial districts have First Instance and Examining Courts (Juzgados de Primera Instancia e Instruccion), Criminal Courts (Juzgados de lo Penal), Courts for the judial review of administrative acts (Juzgados de lo Contencioso-administrativo), Labor Courts (Juzgados de lo Social), Juvenile Courts (Juzgados de Menores) and Juzgados de Vigilancia penitenciaria. Each one’s functions are specified at arts. 84 et.seq. LOPJ.
    Criminal Courts were created by Organic Law 7/88. Juzgados de lo contencioso-administrativo have been created recently by Organic Law, de la Jurisdicción contencioso-administrativa, 29/1998
    Chapter V LOPJ also recognizes the existence of:

    • Juzgados Centrales de Instrucción (art. 88 LOPJ), created by RD-Law Janurary 4, 1977
    • Juzgado Central de lo Penal (art.89 bis.3 LOPJ), created by Organic Law 7/1988
      Juzgados Centrales de lo Contencioso-administrativo were created by Organic Law 29/1998
  • Provinces have a Provincial Court. arts. 80 et.seq. LOPJ

  • Each Autonomous Community has a High Court of Justice. Art. 152.1 2nd paragraph SC and arts. 70 et.seq. LOPJ

Over the whole territory two courts have jurisdiction:

  • Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo), art. 123 SC and arts. 53 et.seq. LOPJ
  • National Court (Audiencia Nacional) arts. 62 et.seq. LOPJ

Spanish courts are also organized hierarchically. There is a system of appeals against the decisions of lower courts to higher courts and to the Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial body in all branches of justice excepting provisions concerning constitutional guarantees (art. 123.1 SC)

According to the subject of the matter Spanish courts are organized in four categories (art.9 LOPJ):

  • Civil, for civil or commercial issues
  • Criminal, for violations of the criminal code
  • Social, for social security and employment contracts issues
  • Administrative for claims based on acts performed by public administration.

The Fifth Chamber (Sala Quinta) of the Supreme Court is the Military Chamber (art. 55 LOPJ).

2.2 Autonomous Communities

Autonomous Communities status, domains and rights are stated at arts. 143 to 158 SC.

As a consequence of the recognition of autonomy at Spanish Constitution, Autonomous Communities can organize:

  • their own institutions (art. 147.2 SC)
  • their territory (arts. 148.1.2. and 152.3 SC)
  • their financial activity (art. 156.1)

Autonomous Communities issue their own legal provisions. The basic institutional rule is the Statute of Autonomy (Estatuto de Autonomía). The Statute must contain (art. 147 SC):

  • name of the Autonomous Community
  • its territorial boundaries
  • name, organization and seat of its institutions
  • powers assumed

Though the Constitution doesn’t impose a model to organize the institutions of the Autonomous Communities all of them have followed the model set by art. 152 SC and they’re governed by a Legislative Assembly, which shall apply the President, and an Executive Council with executive and administrative functions.

The structure of the Legislative Assembly is mainly the same in Autonomous Communities and it’s based quite accurately on the provisions set by the Regulation of the Congress.

The electoral system at Autonomous Communities is stated at the State’s law, LOREG, which appoints some common elements and it’s completed by the legislation of the Autonomous Communities.

The composition of the Executive Councils has also followed similar guidelines. This has been traduced in a similar model to the State’s Executive.

The President is elected by the Assembly among its members and will assume (art. 152 SC):

  • the leadership of the executive council
  • the supreme representation of the Autonomous Community
  • the State’s ordinary representation in the Autonomous Community

Tough Spanish Constitution allows Autonomous Communities to have executive and legislative institutions SC doesn’t allow them to have judicial institutions. As said above judicial power is unitary in Spain and Autonomous Communities Courts are Courts of the State.

2.3 Other Constitutional Organs of the State

2.3.1 The Crown

2.3.2 The Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court is regulated at Part IX SC, arts. 159 to 165 and by its own Organic Law, 2/1979, October, 12, del Tribunal Constitucional (LOTC), modified by Organic Laws 8/1984, 4/1985, 6/1988, 7/1999 and 1/2000.

Constitutional Court is not a part of the court system. It’s an independent institution with its own rules and rights. It has its own regulation. It’s the supreme interpreter of the SC (art. 1.1 LOTC).

It’s composed of twelve members: four nominated by the Congress, four nominated by the Senate by a majority of three-fifths, two by the Government and two by the General Council of the Judiciary (art. 159.1 SC). Constitutional Court members are chosen among magistrates and prosecutors, university professors, public officials and lawyers, all of all of them with at least fifteen years’ practice in their profession (art. 159.2 SC). Their mandate is for nine years and they are renewed every three years by thirds (art. 159.3 SC).

Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over the whole territory and its functions are stated at art. 161.1 SC. These functions are:

  • Control of the constitutionally of the rules having the force of an act.
  • Protection of fundamental rights recognized at Part I, Chapter II, arts. 15 to 29 SC (Fundamental Rights and Public Liberties)
  • Disputes between State and Autonomous Communities or among Autonomous Communities themselves. (also regulated by Title IV, Chapter II, arts. 60 to 72 LOTC)
  • Control of the constitutionality of the legislation of the Autonomous Communities

The Constitutional Court accomplishes its functions through different procedures:

  • Appeal of unconstitutionality (Recurso de inconstitucionalidad). It’s an appeal alleging unconstitutionality of acts and statutes having the force of an act and it’s regulated by art. 161.1.a and by Title II, Chapter II, arts. 31-34 LOTC.
  • Issue of unconstitutionality (Cuestion de inconstitucionalidad). If a judicial body when hearing a case considers that an applicable regulation with the force of an act may be contrary to the Constitution it may bring the matter about its constitutionality before the Constitutional Court. It’s regulated by art. 163 SC and Title II, Chapter III, arts. 35-37 LOTC

Both procedures are referred to declarations of unconstitutionality (Title II, arts. 27 to 40 LOTC)

  • Individual appeal for protection (Recurso de amparo) is directed to protect the citizens against violations of the fundamental rights and pubic liberties protected at Part I, Chapter II, arts. 15 to 29 SC performed by any public power. It’s regulated by arts. 53.2 and 161.1.b CE and by Title III, arts. 41 to 58 LOTC.

Entities or individuals entitled to lodge the mentioned procedures are stated at. Art. 162 SC. Issues of unconstitutionality can be held only by judicial bodies.

If an international treaty contains stipulations contrary to the Constitution its conclusion will require prior constitutional amendment. As stated at art. 95 SC and art. 78 LOTC, Constitutional Court may be requested by the Government or the Parliament about the constitutionality of the provisions of such treaty.

The Constitutional Court is also entitled to hear about disputes among the different organs of the State (art. 59.3 LOTC and Title IV Chapter III, arts. 73 to 75 LOTC).

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3. The Legal System

Spanish legal system is a civil law system.

3.1 Sources of Law

Sources of law should be regulated by the SC but due to historical reasons sources of law are regulated by the Civil Code.2

As stated in art. 1 of the Spanish Civil Code (Cc) the Spanish sources of law are the following:

  • Law. Must be understood in the sense of any written rule of law created by the State. It’s the preeminent source, the others are subsidiary sources.
  • Custom. Customary rules are usually non written law and don’t came from the State but the society. Custom needs the existence of a practice and the existence of an opinio iuris that is the general conviction about the obligatory character of a customary rule. It’s only applicable by a judge if there is no applicable law and can not be contrary to morals or public law. Custom against legislation (contra legem) is forbidden by the art.1 Cc.
  • General principles of law. General principles of law are the basic rules reflecting the convictions of a community in respect its organization. General principles of law permeate the legal system, for instance art 1.1. SC and they also inform other sources

Case Law

Case law issued by the Supreme Court is a complementary source of interpretation and application of the law. The Supreme Court is allowed to decide not only if the if decisions are against the law, but also, if judicial decisions of the lower courts were against the established jurisprudence. The decisions of a court may be appealed if they not confirm (are not in the conformity with) the case law decided by the Supreme Court on the same issue in at least two judgments.

Legal Doctrine

No applicable rule can be derived from legal doctrine. Its not mentioned as a source of law and the Supreme Court has denied this character. Legal doctrine just provides an interpretation or clarification about the other sources of law.

3.2 National Legislation

3.2.1 Types of Law

Spanish legal system is hierarchical, so laws of lower jurisdiction can not conflict laws of a higher jurisdiction. The rank, from higher to lower level, is:

  • Organic Law (Ley Organica). Organic Laws are a specific type of statute. They are regulated at art.81 SC and are different from ordinary legislation in two ways:

    • The matter of the regulation. Exercise of fundamental rights and public liberties, Statutes of Autonomy, the general electoral system and others provided for in the Constitution must be issued by an organic law (art. 81.1 SC). The matters provided for in the SC include: ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo,art. 54 SC); Council of State (Consejo de Estado, art. 107 SC); Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional, art. 165 SC) and popular legislative initiative (art. 87.3 SC)

    • The requirements for their approval, modification or repeal. Organic laws require an absolute majority of the Congress in a final vote of the entire bill (art. 81.2 SC)

  • Ordinary Law (Ley). Ordinary laws are all the laws whose subject matter is not reserved to organic laws by the Constitution. They require a simple majority of the Congress and of the Senate, with the Congress adopting the final decision.

  • Decree-Law (Decreto-ley; art. 86 SC). They are provisional legislative decisions that Government may issue for extraordinary and urgent matters and rank as laws. Decree Laws may not affect basic institutions of the State; rights, duties and liberties of the citizen regulated in Title I; the system of the Autonomous Communities or the general electoral law. Decree Laws must be ratified by the Congress, convoked for that purpose if it was not gathered, within a period of 30 days.

  • Legislative Decree (Decreto legislativo). Legislative decrees are dispositions of the Government containing delegated legislation (art. 85 SC) and also rank as laws. This legislative delegation must be granted by a Basic Law (Ley de Bases) when its objective is the formation of articled texts or by an ordinary law when is a matter of arranging several legal texts in to a single one (art. 82.2 SC). This delegation must be granted to the Government in an express form, for a concrete matter and establishing a period of time for its exercise (art. 82.3 SC)

  • Regulation (Reglamento). Regulations are legislation of a lower status. The term Regulation is referred to any general rule dictated generally by the Government. Art. 97 SC gives the Government regulatory power but other constitutional organs of the State may also have regulatory power in order to regulate their own function. For instance: Congress and Senate (art. 72.1 SC), General Council of the Judiciary (art. 2.2 LOTC) or Constitutional Court. Regulations may regulate matters without legislative coverage or develop an existent law. they also may create or modify rights and duties of the citizens or just organize administration activities affecting only the citizen who is an special relationship with the administration.

  • Types of regulations:

    • Decree (Decreto) from the Council of Ministers
    • Order (Orden) from the Ministers or Delegate Commissions.
    • Instruction (Instruccion) and Orders of Regulation (Circulares) from inferior authorities and members of public administration
  • International Treaties. As stated at art. 96 SC international treaties become internal laws once they have been signed, ratified and published in the Official State Gazette (Boletin Oficial del Estado).
    If the treaty attributes to an international organization or institution the exercise of competencies derived from de Constitution, the authorization must be established by means of an Organic Law (art. 93 SC).
    If the treaty is of certain matters as political or military nature; affects the integrity of the State or fundamental rights and duties established at Title I SC; creates financial obligations for the public treasury or involves modifications or repeals some law or requires legislative measures for its execution, then the treaty shall require Parliament’s authorization (art. 94 SC).
    Any other treaty may be signed for the Government who shall inform to the Parliament (art. 94.2 SC)
    As stated in art. 95 any international treaty which contains stipulations contrary to the Constitution shall require a prior constitutional revision. Government or either the Chambers may request the Constitutional Courts whether this contradiction exists.

  • European Community legislation. In 1986 Spain became a member of the European Community and transferred the exercise of certain domains and State powers. European Treaties and the rules produced by the institutions of European Community, as International rules, are directly applicable as a part of the national system once signed, ratified and published in the Official State Gazette. Spanish Supreme Court and European Court of Justice have both resolved that any conflict between domestic legislation and the European Community legislation must be resolved by ordinary jurisdiction according the principle of supremacy of Community law.

3.2.2 Legislative Process

As stated in art. 87 SC legislative initiative belongs to:

  • Government. Government exercises the legislative power on behalf a bill (Proyecto de Ley). Bills are approved in the Council of Ministers (Consejo de Ministros) which shall submit them to the Congress accompanied with a exposition of motives and the antecedents (art. 88 SC). Once a bill has been approved by the Congress it will be delivered to the Senate that may, through a message explaining the reasons, veto (by an absolute majority) or introduce amendments into it. Congress may or may not accept the amendments. If not, congress must ratify the bill by an absolute majority or by simply majority once two months have passed since the presentation of the text. Congress may also accept or not the amendments expressing itself whether or not if it accept them by a simple majority (art. 90 SC)

  • Congress and Senate. They exercise the legislative power on behalf a proposal of law (Proposición de Ley). Proposals of law are regulated in the Regulations of the Chambers. The ones taken under consideration by the Senate shall be sent to the Congress (art. 89.2 SC)

  • Assemblies of Autonomous Communities may request the Government to adopt a bill or send to the Board of the Congress a proposal of law (art. 87.2 SC)

  • Popular initiative. This initiative shall require at least 500,000 signatures and is not applicable to Organic Laws, taxation, international affairs and the prerogative of pardon. Requirements for its exercise are regulated by Organic Law 3/1984, March 26, Reguladora de la Iniciativa Legislativa Popular (LORIP).

Ordinary legislative process is regulated by SC (arts. 88 to 91 SC) and completed by Regulations of the Chambers.

  • The bills proposed by Government or the proposals of law issued by the Senate are discussed at Congress in a Plenary Session in order to be accepted or to be tabled veto or amendments. Proposals of law from the Congress and from popular initiative pass directly to the next step.
  • The bill or the proposal of law pass to the study of a Commission. The Commission designates a “Ponencia” who will prepare a brief about the text (Dictamen) which will be discussed and voted in Plenary Session. Groups can hold up amendments not accepted by the Commission. The Commission studies the text section by section and the amendments.
  • Once the text is approved by the Congress the bill or proposal of law is submitted by its President to the Senate.
  • As in Congress work take place in Plenary Sessions and in Commissions. Senate may accept, block a veto or amendments.
    • If Senate rejects de text (by an absolute majority) the text goes back to Congress which can:
      • Approve the bill or proposal of law by the same majority required at the Senate
      • Wait for two months and approve the text by a simple majority. In both cases the text is the one approved initially by Congress. Congress can obviate the veto placed by Senate.
    • If Senate introduces amendments, Congress only have to accept or reject them by a simple majority.
    • If text is accepted without any modification the text is ready to be sanctioned by the King

The King shall sanction the laws approved by the Parliament within the period of fifteen days and shall promulgate them and order their publication (art 91 SC). King’s sanction is required by SC but has lost its original politic and legislative sense and has only the consideration of a formal requirement nowadays.

Decisions of special importance may be submitted for a consultative referendum of all the citizens convoked by the King at proposal of the President of the Government authorized by the Congress (art.92 SC). Referendum is regulated by Organic Law 2/1980, January 18 (modified by Organic Law 12/1980)

3.3 Autonomous Communities Legislation

As said above Autonomous Communities issue their own legal provisions, in order to organize their institutions and regulate the domains attributed to them by SC. These legal provisions are only applicable in the own Autonomous Community.

Autonomous Communities laws are limited in the way of the matter of the regulation. Autonomous Communities laws can only regulate those matters that are a domain of the Autonomous Community. They are produced by the Legislative Assembly according to the established methodology. They have the same rank and character as the laws produced by the State’s Parliament. They’re published at the Autonomous Community Official Gazette and at State’s Official Gazette.

Autonomous Communities do not issue Organic Laws and Decree Laws but they issue Legislative Decrees and Regulations.

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4. The Legal Profession

The practice of any legal profession in Spain requires a law degree at a Law School (Facultad de Derecho).

After obtaining the law degree a Doctorate in Law provides specialization of knowledge in a certain area through lectures and seminars and the presentation of a thesis on a legal topic.

The main legal professions in Spain are:

  • Lawyer (Abogado). Lawyers carry on the advice and defense of public and private interests through the application of legal science and legal techniques. The rules and organization of the profession of lawyers are stated at the “Estatuto General de la abogacía española”, RD 658/2001, June 22nd (http://www.cgae.es/estatuto/220601.htm and http://www.mju.es/est_abogacia.htm). It provides a definition of lawyer, its functions, rights and duties, the requirements to practice as a lawyer and the governing organisms of the legal profession. For the legal practice it’s necessary to be incorporated to the Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados). There is one Bar Association in each province and in major towns. Bar Associations are organized by the “Consejo General de la Abogacia Española”. Lawyers can settle their retributions but contingent fees (cuota litis) are expressly prohibited.

  • Procurador. Unlike lawyers who give advice, procuradores represent the parties in court through a power of attorney. They also receive and deliver documents from and to court. Procuradores have to be incorporated to the “Colegio de Procuradores”. The Colegios are organized by the “Consejo General de Ilustres Colegios de Procuradores de los Tribunales de España”. The profession is regulated by RD 2046/1982, June 30 complemented by RD 1417/1983, May 25th and RD 1030/1985. This figure does not exist in all E.C. legal systems.

  • Notary. Notaries perform a public service conferring authenticity to documents. To develop their function they have a delegated power from the State. In this sense, they depend from the Ministry of Justice and they join the profession after passing an official examination. As the precedent legal professions they are incorporated to the “Colegio de Notarios” presided by “Consejo Superior del Notariado”. The profession is regulated by Law May 28, 1862 and by Decree June 2, 1994.

  • Judges and Magistrates

  • Public prosecutor

  • Professors and “Catedraticos” at University. A Doctorate in Law is required after obtaining the Law degree.

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5. Bibliography

Roman Law

  • Historia del Derecho Romano. Joan Miquel. PPU
  • Derecho Privado Romano. Joan Miquel. Ed. Marcial Pons
  • Derecho Romano. Historia e Instituciones. Juan Iglesias. Ed. Ariel

History of Law

  • La Creación del Derecho. Una historia del derecho español. 2 volumes. Ed. Gráficas signo
  • Manual de derecho español. Francisco Tomás y Valiente. Ed. Tecnos

Constitutional Law

  • Introducción al Derecho Constitucional. Luis López Guerra. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Derecho Constitucional. 2 volumes. Luis López Guerra, Eduardo Espín, Joaquín García Morillo, Pablo Pérez Tremps, Miguel Satrústegui. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Temas de Derecho Constitucional. Miguel Ángel Aparicio. Ed. Cedecs

International Private Law

  • Derecho Internacional Privado. José Carlos Fernández Rozas y Sixto Sánche zLorenzo. Ed. Civitas
  • Derecho Internacional Privado. 2 Volumes. Ed. Comares
  • Derecho Internacional Privado. Parte Especial. Julio D. González Campos, José Carlos Fernánde zRozas, Alfonso-Luis Calvo Caravaca, Miguel Virgós Soriano, Miguel Ángel Amores Conradi, Pilar Domínguez Lozano. Ed. Eurolex
  • Introducción al Derecho Internacional Privado. Alfonso-Luis Calvo Caravaca y Javier Carrascosa González. Ed. Comares

International Public Law

  • Curso de derecho internacional público. Julio D. González Campos, Luis I. Sánche zRodríguez, Paz Andrés de Santa María. Ed. Civitas
  • Instituciones de Derecho Internacional Público. Manuel Díez de Velasco. Ed. Tecnos
  • Lecciones de Derecho Internacional Público. Alejandro J. Rodríguez Carrión. Ed. Tecnos

European Community

  • Manual de Derecho de la Unión Europea. Fernando Díez Moreno. Ed. Civitas
  • Instituciones de Derecho Comunitario. Antonio Fernández Tomás, Ignacio Forcada Barona, Rosario Huesa Vinaixa, Ángel Sánchez Legido. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Lecciones de Derecho Comunitario Europeo. Victoria Abellán Honrubia, Blanca Vilà Costa. Ed. Ariel

Administrative Law

  • Curso de Derecho Administrativo. 2 volumes. Eduardo García de Enterría y Tomás-Ramón Fernández. Ed. Civitas
  • Derecho Administrativo. 3 vol. Ramón Parada. Ed. Marcial Pons

Civil Procedure

  • Derecho Procesal Civil. Ley 1/2000. 2 volumes. José María Asencio Mellado. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch

Criminal Procedure

  • Derecho Procesal Penal. Vicente Gimeno Sendra, Victor Moreno Catena, José Almagro Nosete, Valentín Cortés Domínguez
  • Derecho Jurisdiccional. Proceso Penal. Juan Montero Aroca, Juan-Luis Gómez Colomer, Alberto Montón Redondo, Silvia Barnona Vilar. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Derecho Procesal Penal. Andrés de la Oliva Santos, Sara Aragoneses Martínez, Rafael Hinojosa Segovia, Julio Muerza Esparza, José Antonio Tomé García. Ed. Centro de Estudios Ramón Areces

Criminal Law

  • Derecho Penal. Parte General. Santiago Mir Puig
  • Derecho Penal. Parte General. Manuel Cobo del Rosal, Tomás S. Vives Antón. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Derecho Penal. Parte General. Francisco Muñoz Conde, Mercedes García Arán. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Curso de Derecho Penal. Parte GeneralGonzalo Quintero Olivares, Fermín Morales Prats, Miquel Prats Canut. Ed. Cedecs
  • Curso de Derecho Penal Español. Parte Especial. Directed by Manuel Cobo del Rosal. Ed. Marcial Pons
  • Derecho Penal. Parte Especial. T.S. Vives Antón, J. Boix Reig, E. Orts Berenguer, J.C. Carbonell Mateu, J.L. González Cussac. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch

Civil Law

  • Curso de Derecho Civil. 5 volumes. Manuel Albaladejo. José Mª Bosch Editor
  • Fundamentos del Derecho Civil Patrimonial. Luis Díez-Picazo. Ed. Civitas
  • Elementos de Derecho Civil. José Luis Lacruz Berdejo. José Mª Bosch Editor

Commercial Law

  • Derecho MercantilRodrigo Uría. Ed. Marcial Pons
  • Curso de Derecho Mercantil. Rodrigo Uría y Aurelio Menéndez. Ed. Civitas
  • Introducción al derecho Mercantil. Francisco Vicent Chulià. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Compendio Crítico de Derecho Mercantil. Francisco Vicent Chulià. José Mª Bosch Editor
  • Comentario al Régimen Legal de las Sociedades Mercantiles. Directed by Rodrigo Uría, Aurelio Menéndez, Manuel Olivencia. Ed. Civitas

Labor Law

  • Introducción al Derecho del Trabajo. Manuel Alonso Olea. Ed. Civitas
  • Derecho del Trabajo. Manuel Alonso Olea, Mª Emilia Casas Bahamonde. Ed. Civitas
  • Manual de Derecho del Trabajo. Manuel García Fernández. Ed. Ariel
  • Derecho del Trabajo. Manuel Carlos Palomeque López, Manuel Álvarez de la Rosa. Ed. Centro de Estudios Ramón Areces
  • Derecho Sindical. Tomás Sala Franco, Ignacio. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Instituciones de la Seguridad Social. Manuel Alonso Olea, José Luis Torturero Plaza. Ed. Civitas
  • Derecho de la Seguridad Social. Directed by Enrique de la Villa. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch
  • Sistema de la Seguridad Social. Mª José Rodríguez Ramos, Juan Gorelli Hernández, Maximiliano Vílchez Porras. Ed. Tecnos

Tax Law

  • Curso de derecho Financiero y Tributario. Juan Marín Queralt, Carmelo Lozano Serrano, Gabriel Casado Ollero, José M. Tejerizo López. Ed. Tecnos
  • Sistema Tributario Español y Comparado. César Albiñana. Ed. Tecnos

Memento Práctio Francis Lefebvre is very helpful for legal practice

  • Memento Práctico. I.V.A. (V.A.T.)
  • Memento Práctico. Urbanismo
  • Memento Práctico. Sociedades Mercantiles (Commercial)
  • Memento Práctico. Social (Labor)
  • Memento Práctico. Fiscal (Tax)
  • Memento Práctico. Contable (Accounting)

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6. Internet Resources

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1 The board of Congress is formed by the President, four vice-presidents and several secretaries while the Board of Senate is formed by the President, two vice-presidents and several secretaries. <back to text>
2 During the 19th century the Constitution did not have a juridical consideration, as law used to be understood as private law and the Civil Code was the main rule of private law. <back to text>
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