Law and Compliance in Spain

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Business Contract

General Observation
All contracts, irrespective of their format and language in which they are drafted, are valid and will produce an obligation and lawsuit, as soon as their existence is accepted by one of the methods provided for by the Civil Code.
Law Applicable to the Contract
Civil Code, articles 1475 and what follows
Advisable Incoterms
CIF or CFR. Since Spanish transporters have particularly competitive prices, some customers work in EXW.
Language of Domestic Contract
Spanish or co-official regional languages: Catalan, Basque, Galician.
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
That of the non-Spanish party.

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
Judicial power is largely independent in Spain; however, it was affected by the Basque county terrorism to the extent that judiciary employees and policemen were the target of the separatist group ETA.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreign nationals can expect an impartial proceeding in judicial matters.
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
Possible but only those selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (list of interpreters and sworn translators).
Legal Similarities
Spanish laws' foundations are in the 1978 Constitution, then in the Community Directives from 1986. The judicial system of the county is based on a civil right system with regional variations. Spain accepts the mandatory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with reservations.

The Different Legal Codes

Penal Code Law 10/1995, of November 23
Contracts and ownership law Civil code of 1889
Customs law European Customs Code ,
Customs Laws
Commercial Law Commercial law of 1885
Company law Comercial law of 1885,
Law 2/1995 on limited liability companies,
Law 3/1987 of April 2 on cooperatives ,
Order on Public limited companies,
Law on unfair competition,
Law of competition defence,
Labor law Constitution of 1978,
Law 8/1980 of March 10 on workers statusLaw 31/1995 of November 8 for Prevention of work-related risks,
Law 11/1985 of August 2 on freedom of association
Consumer rights Ley 26/1984 of July 19 for protection of consumers
Checking National Laws Online
Norma Civil
1978 Constitution in English
Other Useful Resources
BOE, Spanish Official bulletin
Todalaley, Official bulletins of autonomous communities and provinces
Country Guides
Country Guide Lexmundi

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The Jurisdictions

Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court)
Higher legal body.
Audiencia nacional (National Court) Appelate court, Higher Criminal Court, Higher court for contentious administrative affairs (terrorism, falsification of money and organized crimes).
Tribunales superiores de Justicia (Higher Courts of Justice) Regional Supreme Courts
Audiencias provinciales (Provincial Courts) Civil (magistrate's court), criminal (inquiry, penal, minors, prison follow-up) and conciliation magistrates divisions.
Juzgados de Primera Instancia e Instrucción (Magistrate's and initial inquiry courts) « flagrante delicto » and Registry Office.
Juzgados de lo Mercantil (Commercial courts) Litigations related to business law.
Juzgados de lo Penal (Penal courts) Cases for which imprisonment is less than 5 years and other punishments are less than 10 years.
Juzgados de lo Contencioso-Administrativo (Administrative courts)
Disputes related to the operations of Administration, authorizing house searches.
Juzgados de lo Social (Labor Courts) Disputes related to work or social security.
Juzgados de Vigilencia Penitenciaria (Imprisonment execution courts) Imprisonment application (except for minors). 
Juzgados de Menores (Juvenile Courts) Offences commited by minors between 14 and 18 years and in certain cases, majors between 18 and 21 years.
Juzgados de Violencia sobre la mujer (Courts for handling crimes against women) Apart from what their name indicates, these are family courts in a broaded sense.
Juzgados de Paz (Justices of peace) The justices of these courts are not professionals but are major citizens, enjoying civic rights and having a clean criminal record. They handle «neighborhood» problems, animal protection, etc.
Tribunal Constitucional (Constitutional Court) Judge of the constitutional nature of the legislative texts voted by the State or the Regions. Handles all the jurisdiction conflicts between the State and the Autonomous Communities.
Tribunal de Cuentas (Audit Office) Monitoring the economic and financial activity of the State. Each Autonomous Community has a similar regional court.

Court Officials

Prosecutor (tax)
Defends the interests of the company according to the laws.
Lawyer (abogado)
Prepares the case file to defend his client.
Attorney (procurador)
Works with the lawyer. Represents his client before the court. Stands in for the person subject to trial when he cannot come to the court.
Judge (juez)
Decides if there has been a violation or not as well as the sanctions.
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