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The Spanish Lawyer Online

Antonio Flores’ Blog

Thoughts about laws and regulations which affect foreigners in Spain


Posts Tagged ‘Distressed Property Spain’

Notes On Spanish Judicial Activity During 2014

July 14th, 2015

When one thinks about litigation in Spain and the time it takes to get a case through the Courts, we automatically think in terms of years, not months.

And yet we could all be very wrong if we are to believe the findings of the 2014 report issued by the supervisor for the judiciary, the General Council of Judicial Power (CGPJ).

According to report published this year, Court cases are taking months rather than years to be resolved. This and other interesting ‘judicial’ data available online can be summed up in the length of my column:

1.    Courts issued rulings in the following average time:

  • Civil cases: 7.6 months
  • Civil appeal cases: 7.5 months
  • Divorce mutually consented: 1.9 months
  • Divorce not mutually consented: 9.5 months

2.   Foreclosure proceedings are a different story: on average, it took the Courts 28 months to finalize these cases.

3.    Percentage of rulings that are appealed:

  • Courts of First Instance rulings: 11.7%
  • Appeal Court rulings: 4.8%

4.    Ratio of court rulings upheld vs. reversed on appeal:

  • Upheld: 63.6%
  • Reversed: 19.5%
  • Partially reversed: 16.0%

5.    Number of court cases in a year: In all of Spain, last year just over 8.6 million court cases were filed, around 8.8 million were finalized and just over 1.6 million rulings were passed. Andalusia is the most belligerent regional community in 2014, with 230 court cases per 1.000 inhabitants. The least is La Rioja, with 136 (wine must have had something to do with it!)

6.    Number of cases per Court: On average, 1.669 cases per year.

7.   Number of complaints: In 2014, approximately 16,000 complaints were lodged in relation to the dispensation of justice. Of these, 200 complaints were received in the Law Societies.

8.  Compensation granted for courts’ responsibility for defective operation: in 2014, approximately €6 million were awarded in compensation for defective or dysfunctional dispensation of justice.

9.  Money lodged within Courts’ bank accounts: during 2014, Santander bank (officially appointed by the Spanish judiciary) had an average balance in its accounts of €3.4 billion.

Litigation , , ,

Property Auction Rigging in Spain: Nationwide Fraud Unchallenged

January 15th, 2015

Example of Real Auction in Spain

Auction rigging, commonly known as bid rigging, is a form of collusion between real estate speculators whereby they conspire to illegally rig the bidding process. This fraud at public real estate foreclosure is a criminal offence and in some countries (U.S), each bid-rigging carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison a $1 million fine.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice note, “over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants.”

Spain’s Courts have been equally responsive when dealing with this problem: we can recall one famous bid-rigging fraud case in the Valencia Courts where 42 individuals (on appeal 27 were acquitted) received lengthy sentences, two of which got 10 years each. The only difference with the US is the last high profile case took place in… 1995. And since, very little Government activity to curb this plague.

This is not the only unusual thing: in this country, possible to witness firsthand how these fraudsters operate. All you have to do is attend a busy auction dealing with a coveted property.

Let’s take the Marbella Courts as an example where a selected group of “subasteros” (a mix between a speculator, opportunist, outright fraudster and a liar) operate with worrying impunity; these guys are familiar faces, “dummy bidders” that turn up day in day out to boycott auction procedures by chasing away legit bidders –occasionally with threats-, demanding money from serious contenders in exchange for not participating (as well as offering them money to refrain from doing so), or escalating the bids to force out any newcomer.

The boss of this Mafiosi syndicate used to be a bold (bald too) overweight individual (names withheld); he had experience, money and contacts in Courts, and led the rest in their nefarious activities. It appears he has now taken a step back, perhaps his prominence was beginning to mirror his physique and got that timely feeling that it was just the right moment to retire. The rest unfortunately remain, as so do many other hundreds operating throughout Spanish Courts.

Sadly, lawmakers have not yet noted the flaws of the current system nor the simplest solution for this instance of corruption: first-price sealed-bid auctions in which bidders place their bid in a sealed envelope and simultaneously hand them to the auctioneer, the Court in this instance.

Litigation , , ,