For decades Spain has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and has a long history of people wanting to buy property, start a business or retire there. In fact Spain regularly features in the top tourist destinations not only in Europe but also the world.
As such there are millions of people who have interacted with the Spanish legal system in one way or another, either through a property purchase, traffic infractions or an accident, an inheritance, debt recovery, failed property investments, running a business and the like.
Each one of those people needs a lawyer to help them with their Spanish legal requirements.
Spain is a country on the Iberian Peninsula of Europe but also encompasses the Canary and Balearic Islands as well as the cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the North African Coast. It is the second largest country in Europe. Spain is a member of the EU and its currency is the Euro. Spain is a democracy and constitutional monarchy.
The Spanish Legal system
Although dealing with Spain and the Spanish legal system is a well-trodden path for millions of people there are still often issues that need to be addressed and problems that need to be resolved. Often it is the interaction between the two countries that causes an issue, in particular when it comes to things like taxes or inheritance law, but also when it comes to litigation and contractual disputes.
Often British people assume that the legal system in Spain and the processes involved will be similar to that in the UK. They are not. The Spanish legal system is very different from that in the UK. Spanish law is codified and as such a series of Codes (Civil Code, Criminal Code, etc.) sets out the law. We don’t have a codified legal system in the UK and our laws are set out in a series of laws and case law. Spanish Law also has a formal written Constitution whereas UK law doesn’t.
Spanish law is further complicated by the fact that sometimes laws change from region to region. From a legal point of view it is probably easier to think of Spain as being like a mini version of the EU – with central government introducing laws but allowing each autonomous region to enact some of them in the way that they want. This means that certain laws and taxes can vary quite dramatically between the different Autonomous Regions within Spain. Although most follow very similar principals, particularly on the mainland. Two classic examples of this is the rate of Inheritance tax or the Spanish equivalent of Stamp Duty on a purchase, both of which can vary quite a lot depending on which Autonomous Region in Spain you are buying in.
Language barriers can also cause an issue when it comes to doing something in Spain. Misunderstandings can easily creep in, which in turn can cause problems. Words that on the face of it look the same can have subtly different meanings in Spanish and English which can have a big impact when it comes to legal matters.
Why Judicare Law?
Judicare Law is a UK based firm of solicitors who specialises in international law throughout the world and as such we are well versed in dealing with Spanish law and the differences and interaction between UK law and Spanish law. We have in house solicitors who are bilingual and have studied Spanish law in Spain. We also work with a number of Spanish Abogados (Spanish lawyers) throughout Spain who can assist with anything that physically needs to be done on the ground and who have the in depth knowledge of local laws. In house we have close to 25 years experience dealing with Spanish legal matters.
Services we can help you with
When it comes to Spanish law Judicare covers a wide range of different legal subjects including;
- The purchase and sale of properties in mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary islands.
- Inheritance of assets in Spain including properties, bank accounts, cars etc and the liaison with the Probate in the UK to make sure that the two legal and tax systems in Spain and the UK work together
- Spanish Wills which work with your UK Will rather than compete against it and which makes things easier for your beneficiaries and minimises as much as possible Spanish Inheritance Tax
- The recovery of debts from people based in Spain
- The recovery of money from failed investments in off plan properties in Spain
- Cancellation of Spanish Timeshares
- Setting up small businesses in Spain
- Assisting clients with problems that they may have with Spanish mortgages, either because the terms of the mortgage are abusive (such as the Floor Clauses) or because they have difficulties in paying the mortgage.
Speaking your language
Spanish lawyers are called “Abogados”. Although you may think that lawyers throughout the world are essentially the same there are several important differences between a Spanish firm of Abogados and, for example, a specialist UK based law firm like Judicare;
- We can speak your language. Whilst many Spanish Abogados speak very good English - is it really good enough to explain often complex issues of Spanish Law to you in terms that you actually understand?
- We can explain the difference between the laws to you. The Spanish Abogado will be used to the way that a transaction works in Spain. You will be used to the way that it works in the UK. Both of you are probably expecting that the two systems are broadly the same when in reality they can be very different. You need a firm of lawyers who understands both legal systems and can explain to you what happens in Spain, why it happens and how it is different from the UK.
- UK Solicitors have to have a much higher level of indemnity insurance to protect clients. In the UK at the moment a Solicitor has to have a minimum of £3 million insurance per claim. In Spain indemnity insurance is generally covered by way of paying subscriptions to the local Law Society and the level of cover is often significantly lower than in the UK.
- Often Spanish Abogados will sometimes act for both sides in a transaction. In the UK a Solicitor is prohibited from acting for both sides in a transaction due to the conflict of interest that exists and the impossibility to act in the best interest of both client.
- In Spain the process of dealing with various different legal issues is done on a very different way to the way that it is done in the UK. A purchase of a property or an inheritance of a property in Spain, for example, is carried out in front of a Notary public rather than the way that it is done in the UK. That is not to say that you don’t need a lawyer as well as the Notary only gets involved right at the end of the transaction.