Spanish justice

John Pawlenko’s excellent Chupa Chups exposé is turning into the longest post in the world (scroll to 27th Sept), but you need to read it for one simple reason: Catalonia appears to share with Burma and parts of rural China the distinction of having a judicial system which collaborates with the influential to the extent of, on their behalf, hauling someone into court without that person being able to discover the charges against him in advance or take a copy of them with him on leaving the building–just check John B’s comments.

I know that a number of the roughly 400 Spanish residents who stop by here daily blog and journalise with venom about human rights abuses in, for example, Iraq or Cuba, and I respect you for that. What I cannot understand is why you fail to show the same interest in the systematic denial of basic rights by Spanish justice.

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  1. Here’s a passage from ‘Living and working in Spain: a survival handbook’, by David Hampshire
    2000, 3 ed., pg. 414

    “The Spanish legal system is excruciatingly slow (i.e. largely at a standstill) and there’s a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases throughout Spain, which means that it takes years for many cases to come to court. Even local courts can take five years to hear a case, although delays are usually up to two years for minor offences and up to four years for serious offences.

    This means that you should do everything possible to avoid going to court by taking every conceivable precaution when doing business in Spain, i.e. obtaining expert legal advice in advance.

    If things do go wrong it can take years to achieve satisfaction and in the case of fraud the chances are that those responsible will have either gone broke or disappeared (or even died!).”

    If you thought that was bad, wait until you read this (my caps) …

    “Note that even when you have a foolproof case there’s no guarantee of winning and it may be better to write off a loss as experience. LOCAL COURTS, JUDGES AND LAWYERS FREQUENTLY ABUSE THE SYSTEM TO THEIR OWN ENDS AND ALMOST ANYONE WITH ENOUGH MONEY OR EXPERTISE CAN USE THE LAW TO THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE. In recent years, public confidence in Spain’s legal system has been rocked by a succession of scandals.”

    I also repeat from the quote – “… when you have a foolproof case there’s no guarantee of winning and it may be better to write off a loss as experience.” What *exactly* is Mr Hampshire saying here?

    Now, I’m not concluding that these comments apply to the behaviour of Chupa Chups (past or present), but it is interesting to read someone else’s take on the machinations of the Spanish legal system.

    And he’s not alone. Here’s another passage taken from:

    ‘You & the law in Spain’, by David Searl
    2002, 13 ed., pg. 283

    “With a little luck, you won’t have anything to do with courts and judges in Spain. Taking a case through court can be frustrating and time consuming. The mills of justice tend to grind exceedingly slowly. Spanish courts have been reprimanded and fined by the European Union for the slowness of their proceedings.”

    Deary me.


  2. Basically who’s going to invest in a country without a functioning justice system?

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