Specialised courts - Spain
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Article 117 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 provides that the principle of judicial unity is the basis for the organisation and functioning of the courts.
Within the Spanish judicial organisation, the ordinary courts are divided into four court orders: civil, Criminal, Administrative, Labour and Labour.
Together with the four courts of the ordinary jurisdiction, it is the military jurisdiction, which is an integral part of the judicial system of the State, which is exclusively the responsibility of the military courts established by law.
Conflicts of jurisdiction between courts or tribunals of any court order of ordinary jurisdiction and military judicial bodies are resolved by a Special Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Dispute Settlement Chamber composed of the President of the Supreme Court, two Magistrates of the Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Supreme Court, and two Magistrates of the Military Chamber, all appointed by the General Council of the Judiciary.
Specialised courts exist in this field within the ordinary jurisdiction. For example, courts of violence against women, commercial courts or courts responsible for monitoring prisons or minors.
The Organic Law on the Judiciary provides for the existence of the following specialised courts:
The Commercial Courts, in operation since 1 September 2004, are specialised judicial bodies. They are integrated into the civil courts.
In general, in each province, with jurisdiction throughout the province and having its registered office in its capital, there will be one or more courts.
They may also be established in populations other than provincial capital where, in respect of the population, the existence of industrial or commercial centres and economic activity makes it advisable, in each case the scope of their jurisdiction should be defined.
Commercial courts may be determined to extend their jurisdiction to two or more provinces in the same Autonomous Community.
The commercial courts shall have jurisdiction to deal with matters arising in the course of insolvency proceedings under the terms of its law.
The commercial courts shall also be aware of any questions falling within the jurisdiction of civil courts, in respect of, inter alia, actions involving unfair competition, industrial property, intellectual property and advertising, as well as all matters dealt with in that order under the rules governing commercial companies and cooperatives.
Commercial courts shall have jurisdiction over the recognition and enforcement of judgments and other judgments and foreign arbitration awards, when they concern matters within their jurisdiction, unless, as agreed in the Treaties and other international rules, their knowledge accrues to another court or tribunal.
The Provincial Courts shall hear appeals laid down by law against decisions taken at first instance by the commercial courts, with the exception of those issued in cases of insolvency which settle matters of employment, with one or more of their sections being specialised in this regard, in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Law on the Judiciary.
The other remedies provided for by the LOPJ may be instituted.
COMMUNITY TRADE MARK COURTS
The Community Trade Courts (Juzgados de Marca Comunitaria) are the local court (Juzgados de lo Mercantil) of the locality of Alicante in that they exercise their jurisdiction to hear and determine at first instance and on an exclusive basis all those disputes that are promoted under Council Regulation No 40/94 of 20 December 1993 on the Community trade mark and Council Regulation (EEC) No 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community designs.
In the exercise of this jurisdiction, the courts shall extend their jurisdiction to the whole of the national territory and, in that connection, they shall be called Community trade mark courts.
They are integrated into the civil courts.
In addition, the Section or Sections of the Audiencia Provincial de Alicante (Provincial Court of Alicante) specialising, in addition, at second instance and exclusively, of all the appeals referred to in Article 101 of Regulation No 40/94 of the Council of the European Union of 20 December 1993 on Community Trade Mark and Council of the European Union Regulation 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community designs. In exercising that power, jurisdiction shall extend to the whole of the national territory and, in that connection, they shall be referred to as Community trade mark.
COURTS FOR PRISON SUPERVISION:
The courts of prison sentences shall have the judicial functions provided for in the General Law on prison sentences with regard to the execution of custodial sentences and security measures, judicial review of the disciplinary powers of prison authorities, the protection of prison sentences and the benefits of detainees in prisons and others. They are included in the criminal court order.
In each province, in the criminal court, there will be one or more courts in prison supervision.
In the city of Madrid, with jurisdiction throughout Spain, there will be one or more Central Judges’ Courts.
The courts of prison sentences shall have the judicial functions provided for in the General Law on prison sentences with regard to the execution of custodial sentences and security measures, judicial review of the disciplinary powers of prison authorities, the protection of prison sentences and the benefits of detainees in prisons and others.
The Provincial Courts shall hear appeals laid down by the Law against the decisions of the Courts of Prison Surveillance of the Province.
The other remedies provided for by the LOPJ may be instituted.
There will be one or more Juvenile Courts in each province, with jurisdiction throughout the province and seat in its capital.
In the city of Madrid, with jurisdiction throughout Spain, there will be a Central court for minors, who will deal with the reasons given by the legislation governing the criminal responsibility of minors.
The Juvenile Courts have jurisdiction over offences committed by persons over 14 years of age and under the age of 18.
It is for the juvenile courts to perform the duties laid down in the laws for children who have committed offences classified by law as a criminal offence, and those who, in the case of minors, give them the law.
The Provincial Courts shall hear appeals against decisions issued by juvenile courts in the province.
The other remedies provided for by the LOPJ may be instituted.
COURTS FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Each party will have one or more Courts for Violence against Women, based in its capital and jurisdiction throughout its territory. They shall arrange for their designation of the municipality of their seat.
The Government, acting on a proposal from the General Council of the Judiciary and, where appropriate, with a report from the Autonomous Community with jurisdiction in the field of justice, can establish by means of Royal Decree that the Courts for Violence against Women, determined to extend their jurisdiction to two or more parties within the same province.
The General Council of the Judiciary may decide, on the basis of a report from the chambers of government, that in those constituencies where appropriate according to the existing workload, knowledge of the courts’ jurisdiction falls on one of the Courts of First Instance and the Local Criminal Court (Juzgados de Primera Instancia e Instrucción) or, as the case may be, an instruction.
In cases where there is only one Court of First Instance and Court of First Instance (Juzgado de Primera Instancia), this court will take over knowledge of the cases in which courts of violence against women have jurisdiction.
They are included in the criminal court order.
In criminal proceedings, courts for violence against women shall, in any event, be aware of the procedures and remedies provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure, including:
- Proceedings in respect of criminal liability for offences covered by the titles of the Penal Code on homicide, abortion, injury, harm to the unborn child, crimes against freedom, crimes against the moral integrity, against privacy and the right to images of violence or intimidation, provided that any person who is or has been his wife, or who is or has been legally linked to the wife or partner, or who has been subject to the power, protection or health care of the spouse or partner, where there has also been an act of gender-based violence.
- Process instruction to require criminal liability for any offence against family rights and duties, when the victim is one of the persons identified as such in the previous paragraph.
- The adoption of the corresponding protection orders to victims, without prejudice to the powers conferred on the Guardia Civil.
- From the knowledge and fault of minor offences that are assigned to them by law when the victim is one of the persons identified as such in the first paragraph.
- The issuing and execution of instruments of mutual recognition of criminal decisions within the European Union that are assigned to them by law.
- An investigation into proceedings for the imposition of criminal liability for the offence of breach envisaged and punishable under Article 468 of the Criminal Code, where a person offcomes for the offence whose conviction, precautionary measure or security measure has been breached or has been his wife, or a woman who is, or has been, linked to the perpetrator for a similar relationship of affection, even without cohabitation, as well as the descendants, whether or not belonging to the spouse or partner, or to persons who are minors or persons with the capacity to sue or be sued, guardianship, curatorship, placement or de facto storage of the spouse or partner.
Courts for violence against women may, in the civil order in any case in accordance with the procedures and remedies provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure, be aware of the following matters, among others:
- Parenthood, maternity and paternity leave.
- Marriage, separation and divorce annulment.
- Those concerning paternal relations.
- Those which have as their object the adoption or amendment of measures of family importance.
- Those relating exclusively to custody of children or children or to maintenance claimed by one parent against the other on behalf of children and minor daughters.
- Those concerning the need for agreement in the adoption.
- Those for opposition to administrative decisions in the field of child protection.
The Courts for Violence against Women shall have exclusive and exclusive civil competence where the following conditions are met simultaneously:
- Civil proceedings in respect of any of the matters referred to in the preceding paragraph.
- Any of the parties to the civil proceedings are victims of acts of gender-based violence;
- Any party to civil proceedings should be charged as a perpetrator, instigator or cooperative as necessary in carrying out acts of gender-based violence.
- That the judge dealing with violence against women has begun criminal proceedings for offence or misdemeanour on the basis of an act of violence against women, or an order to protect a victim of gender-based violence has been adopted.
Where the court finds that the acts brought to his knowledge, in a well-known manner, do not constitute an expression of gender-based violence, the application may be rejected by reference to the competent court.
In all these cases mediation is prohibited or prohibited.
The Provincial Courts shall hear appeals laid down by the Law against decisions of the Courts for Violence Against Women of the Province.
The other remedies provided for by the LOPJ may be instituted.
SPECIALISED BODIES BY THE GENERAL COUNCIL OF THE JUDICIARY
In Spain, specialised courts, which do not have any effect on the principle of judicial unity when they are integrated into the five orders, can be established not only because they are created by the Organic Law on the Judiciary specifically, as is the case with the courts of commercial law, those of children or violence against women, but may also be the result of specialisation under the article. 98 of the judgment referred to above has been carried out by the General Council of the Judiciary, as is the case with the Family Courts (Juzgados de Familia), the ‘Courts for Mortgage Enforcement’ (‘Courts of Execution of Hipotecaria’) or national courts.
Other specialised courts
Title VI of the 1978 Spanish Constitution is devoted to the Judiciary, establishing in its Article 117 that the principle of judicial unity is the basis for the organisation and functioning of the courts.
This principle is reflected in the existence of a single jurisdiction, composed of a single body of judges and judges who constitute ordinary courts.
The Spanish Constitution states that the Justice emanates from the people and is administered in the name of the King by Judges and Magistrates of the Judiciary, independent, irremovable, responsible and subject only to the rule of law.
Judges and senior judges may not be separated, suspended, transferred or retired, but on the basis of one of the causes and subject to the guarantees provided for by law.
The exercise of judicial power in all types of proceedings, judges and enforcing court proceedings, is the exclusive responsibility of the courts determined by the law, in accordance with the rules on jurisdiction and the procedure which they lay down.
Courts and tribunals shall not perform any other functions other than those of the marks and those expressly assigned to them by law by way of guarantee of any right.
In addition to the judiciary, the Constitution itself provides for the existence of two constitutional bodies referred to as the courts. These are organs that are fully independent and impartial and are subject only to the rule of law.
These constitutional bodies are the Constitutional Court and the Court of Auditors.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
The Spanish Constitutional Court is established as a body located outside the judiciary.
It is the supreme interpreter of the Constitution, independent of the other constitutional bodies and is subject only to the Constitution and to its Organic Law.
It is unique in its order and extends its jurisdiction to the whole of the national territory.
It consists of 12 members appointed by the King, of whom four on the proposal of the Congress, by a three-fifths majority of its members; four on the proposal of the Senate, with the same majority; two on the proposal of the Government and two on the proposal of the General Council of the Judiciary, including a Chair and a Vice-Chair.
The Constitutional Tribunal shall be heard in the cases and in the manner prescribed by law, inter alia:
- The appeal and the issue of unconstitutionality against Laws, normative provisions or acts with the force of law.
- An action for protection for infringement of public rights and freedoms listed in Article 53. 2 of the Constitution.
- Disputes on grounds of competition between the State and the Autonomous Communities or between the State and the Autonomous Communities.
- Disputes between the State’s constitutional organs.
- The declaration on the constitutionality of the international treaties.
For more information: The Constitutional Court
THE COURT OF AUDITORS
The Court of Auditors is the supreme audit body of the accounts and economic management of the State, as well as of the public sector.
Without prejudice to its own jurisdiction, it is placed in the orbit of the legislature directly dependent on the Cortes Generales.
There are 12 members, members of the Audit Board, six members appointed by the Congreso de los Diputados and six by the Senate entitled to the principles of independence, irremovability and incompatibilities, as well as the judges.
The Court of Auditors is assigned two functions:
- The auditing function, characterised as being external, permanent and consumptive, is to check whether the economic and financial activity of the public sector complies with the principles of legality, efficiency and economy.
- The judicial function consists of bringing proceedings in relation to accounting liability incurred by those who are responsible for managing public property, funds or assets, with the purpose of indemnifying the public funds affected by way of misappropriation, incorrect, incomplete or lack of justification or due to other causes or conduct.
For more information: Court of Auditors.
THE CUSTOMARY COURTS
They are recognised in Article 125 of the Constitution as one of the forms of public participation in the Justice Administration.
Article 19 of the Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial (Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial) recognises the customary courts of the Aguas de la Vega Valencia and the Council of Buenos Aires. Both are customary legal entities for water management.
Since 2009, these two Spanish customary courts have been placed on the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and are living proof of the ability of the human groups to organise complex systems in a democratic way from the social basis.
COURT OF THE WATERS OF VEGA DE VALENCIA
It is the most senior institution of justice in Europe.
It will act in the territorial area of Valencia.
It consists of eight elected representatives elected democratically by the irrigators in the region of Huerta Valencia and their powers are the equitable distribution of water between the different owners of agricultural land, the resolution of the issues of fact that have arisen between the irrigators themselves and the imposition of the corresponding penalties for infringements against the Ordinances of Irrigation.
MURCIA MEN’S COUNCIL
The Buenos Aires Board of Men is a legal institution of medieval origin that is institutionalised and legally regulated in 1849 as the Supreme Court of Justice of the Huerta de Murcia. The Council is composed of a President, a Secretary and five Members.
The Council of Buenos días of Murcia warmly welcomes its hearing on all Thursdays in the Hall of the City Hall and fails for each hearing at the sitting of the day or at the latest in the course of the next hearing. The resolutions are issued by a majority vote, but in the event of a tie, the vote of the President is decided. The sanctions resulting from the justice system of the Buenos dical Men’s Council are of an exclusive nature. The rulings issued by this court have become definitive, enforceable and enforceable.
For more information: The Good of Good Men’s Council.
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Last update: 13/09/2019