Litigation Lawyers in SpainUpdated on Monday 06th June 2016
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When a foreign entrepreneur is carrying out business operations in Spain, he or she may have a dispute with a business partner, which can be settled through litigation in a local court. However, various business disputes can be resolved through alternative resolution methods, which can refer to mediation or arbitration.
It is important to know that most of the local and foreign investors chose to proceed to the litigation method for commercial disputes, but they can also choose arbitration or mediation, which are newer ways to settle a dispute in a shorter period of time; these procedures imply that the parties are interested in solving the case in a manner that would be agreeable to both parties.
Before starting the litigation process in a Spanish court, the foreign investor should receive the assistance of a Spanish lawyer who will offer him or her legal advice throughout all the stages of the trial. It is customarily that the fees for the Spanish attorneys to be paid in fixed amounts or hourly rates.
Commercial disputes in Spain
There are certain commercial disputes, related to compensations, corporations, transportation and many others, that are handled by the judges, who judge in commercial courts.
The commercial cases can be judged by first instance courts and also by commercial courts, where every trial is allocated to a judge and the secretariat is entitled to hear the enforcement procedures. The appeals go to the courts of appeals, which are composed of three judges.
Hearings in courts are public, but in certain cases these can be restricted.
The main stages of the procedure in the Spanish court
When the litigation process starts in the court, the investor will have to send the claim to the court that is entitled to judge the case. The claim will be drafted by the Spanish attorney and it will contain the requests of the claimant and all the legal explanations. The defendant will receive the claim at its official address and he or she must answer to it in a term of 20 working days; at the same time, the defendant has the possibility to file a counterclaim.
The next step is a preliminary hearing of the two parties in front of the court and only after this procedure is completed the judgment of the case can begin. Persons who need to know further details on the following procedures of the case and the duration of a trial (which can be estimated in accordance with the specifics of the case), can contact our law firm in Spain. In order to obtain a decision from a first level court, the claimant can wait a few months or even a year.
Limitation periods in Spanish litigious cases
Litigious cases in Spain can be brought to claims up to a certain period of time, prescribed by the local legislation. Cases referring to real estate disputes can be brought to a court in a period of 30 years, while contractual conflicts have a prescribed period of 15 years.
It is important to know that if the foreigner filing for the litigious case doesn’t speak Spanish and he or she needs to be present in the court to answer the judge’s questions, the person will receive a translator. At the same time, foreigners should know that the local legislation allows the participation of a foreign lawyer, but there are certain conditions under which this rule can become applicable.