“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle” Sun Tzu.
The best way to win a litigation in Spain is to avoid litigation at all. Spanish courts are overloaded. Courts of first instance can take a minimum of one year in first instance before issuing a judgment – two and three years in many cities. With such prospects, my effort is to exhaust every possibility of reaching an agreement before going to court.
However, if you do have to resort to Spanish courts, you want to have a seasoned litigator by your side. I have more than ten years of experience trying cases in courts all over Spain. Litigation is all about strategy and attention to the detail.
I devise the best strategy and work each case thoroughly, reaching the best possible outcome for my clients.
My expertise includes all kinds of civil procedures, both as claimant or defendant, including debt recovery, breach of contract, real estate or tortious liability, with a focus on commercial litigation, such as challenging corporate agreements, disputes between shareholders and liability actions against directors.
If you are owed money by a Spanish individual or company, my first advice is to investigate the debtor’s creditworthiness at the Commercial and Property Registries and, as mentioned in the “Litigation” section, exhaust all chances of reaching an agreement to avoid the courts.
The ordinary process is to send the debtor a collection letter and (hopefully!) initiate a negotiation in order to recover the debt.
If the debtor does not answer or if agreement is not possible, you mainly have two options:
- Filing for an expedited procedure known as “proceso monitorio” or
- Filing for declarative proceedings, which take longer
In the latter case, depending on the quantity of the debt, the claim will be processed as a verbal procedure (“Juicio verbal”, for debts up to 6.000 €) or a lengthier procedure called “Juicio ordinario” (for debts over 6.000 €).
However, bear in mind that, if debtor opposes the “proceso monitorio”, you will end up having to file for declarative proceedings as well.
Whatever the situation, let me study your case and help you to find the best option.
For many years, Spain was not an arbitration-friendly country. However, in 2003 Parliament enacted a new Arbitration Act that intends to foster arbitration, and authorities have committed to change that fact.
Various Spanish cities (especially Madrid and Barcelona) host important arbitration organizations and arbitration has become a popular way to solve disputes, both in consumer related and commercial cases.
Holding an LLM from New York University, where I mainly studied international arbitration, I have intervened both in domestic and international arbitrations and I have experience in annulment of awards proceedings too.
Enforcement of foreign judgments and awards
When you have obtained a judgment in your favour in a foreign country and you wish to enforce it against a Spanish party or seize assets in Spain, you need to start a proceeding of recognition and enforcement of such judgment in Spain.
In civil and commercial matters, this proceeding is easier if the country where the decision was issued is a member of the European Union, thanks to Regulation 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, which abolishes the recognition stage (exequatur).
Otherwise, the recent International Cooperation Law on Civil on Civil Matters might apply.
Besides having assisted many clients in this kind of proceedings, I can draw from my experience teaching International Private Law at Pompeu Fabra University. I will be happy to put all this expertise at your service.
If you own credits against an individual or company that has filed for bankruptcy in Spain not all hope is lost, but you need to make sure that your credit is included in the bankruptcy proceedings.
Moreover, the debtor might have sold assets at a loss or entered into new obligations in anticipation of his insolvency, a situation that could be overturned through a claw-back action.
Let me advise you with any of these possibilities to ensure your rights as creditor.
Commercial Law and Incorporation of Companies
With the support of my colleagues at INLEY Estudio Legal, I can help you in any matter related to commercial law. This includes the drafting of all kinds of commercial contracts, such as distribution, commercial agency, sale and purchase of goods and services, financing, service agreements and maintenance contracts, business to business collaborations, leases or haulage agreements.
If you want to start a business in Spain, you will need either to incorporate a new company or buy an “on the shelf” company in Spain.
For such purposes, the most common kind of company is the “Sociedad Limitada”, where shareholders are not personally liable for the company’s debts, which minimum capital is 3.000 €.
In any case, let us walk you through the process.
Civil Law and Real Estate
As a lawyer that has worked in private law since the start of my career, I have extensive experience in civil law, particularly in real estate law.
Buying real estate in Spain involves much more than merely drafting a purchase contract.
Each operation requires a careful investigation on the planning status of the asset, information at the Property Registry and the Land Registry or Catastro.
Once the situation is clear and the client confirms the intention to buy, the ordinary process is to first sign an earnest money agreement (“contrato de arras”) and, at a later stage, the public deed of sale before a Notary public.
I have had the opportunity to advise foreign investors who buy properties in order to set up new business and individuals looking for a second home in Spain, and will be happy to advise you too.