A guide to the law in Spain

FAQs:
What is the role of a notary in Spain?
How does a power of attorney work in Spain?
Where do I get a power of attorney that is valid for Spain?
What is The Hague Apostille?
What is a procurador?
What is a perito?
Can court judgements be appealed?
How long do judicial proceedings take in Spain?

 

What is the role of a notary in Spain?

A notary in Spain has a more elevated role than in the UK or USA; they do much more than just verify signatures. To gain the title of notary requires years of additional studies. At the closing, the notary takes over, acting on behalf of both parties to make sure that the transaction is proper and agreed to.

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How does a power of attorney work in Spain?

A power of attorney done in Spain in front of a Spanish notary grants the authorised officer to act as your legal representative with full efficacy within the area of powers granted in any country world-wide. The efficacy is such that, in Spain, even though the power of attorney has been revoked, unless the deed granting power of attorney is not withdrawn, the authorised officer may continue to act on your behalf (or to your detriment). For this reason it is important to define specifically the powers granted and find out about their respective effects. Strong Abogados can advise you about these points, and let you know the steps to follow to obtain international legitimization if you want the document to be effective outside Spain (The Hague Apostille).

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Where do I get a power of attorney that is valid for Spain?

A power of attorney may be validated by a notary in Spain, by a notary at the Spanish Embassy, or by Spanish notaries outside of Spain.

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What is The Hague Apostille?

The Hague Apostille allows a public document from one country to be recognized as a valid document in another country, among countries that have signed The Hague Agreement. This is done by having an authority affix a stamp on the document to certify its authenticity. Anybody who has a public document that needs to recognised in another country can apply to have them affixed with The Hague Apostille. For further information about where to go for your country, see www.hcch.net.

In Spain, there are three authorities that can issue an Apostille, depending on the type of document:

  • For documents issued by a judicial authority, the Apostille is issued by the Secretario de la Sala de Gobierno del Tribunal Superior de Justicia.
  • For documents authorized by a notary or private documents with signatures legitimized by the notary, the Apostille is issued by the deacon of the Colegio Notarial.
  • For documents issued by the national administration, the Apostille is issued by the Jefe de la Sección Central de la Subsecretaría del Ministerio de Justicia.

For further information and contact data, see the Ministerio de Justicia.

USA: To obtain the Apostille for USA documents to be used in Spain, you should send the document to the Secretary of State of the state where the document was issued. For further information, see link.

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What is a procurador?

The procurador is a legal representative before the Spanish Courts. Procuradores have a law degree. Their main function is receiving notices and communications from the court and informing the lawyer in charge of the case. Their fees are calculated according to an official rate.

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What is a perito?

No, a perito is not a little dog. A perito is an expert with scientific, artistic, technical or practical knowledge that may be necessary to ascertain facts or circumstances relevant to the case. Peritos may be brought to the proceedings by one of the parties or they may be appointed by the court.

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Can court judgements be appealed?

The general rule in civil and commercial jurisdiction is that there is a right of appeal for cases over 3000. There may be a further extraordinary appeal to the Supreme Court on cases over 600,000.

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How long do judicial proceedings take in Spain?

Courts in Spain are overloaded. Normally getting a judgment in the primera instancia may take about a year. If there is an appeal, the matter can be delayed about two more years.

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