BILL OF CITIZENS RIGHTS ON JUSTICE
MODERN JUSTICE AND OPEN TO THE CITIZENS
1. - The citizen has the right to receive general, up-to-date information about the running of courts and tribunals, and about the characteristics and general requirements of the various judicial proceedings.
Impetus will be given to the creation and equipping of Citizens’ Attention Offices, ensuring their nationwide establishment.
Information about opening hours for public attention will be placed in clearly visible parts of the premises of jurisdictional organs.
2. - The citizen has the right to receive clear information regarding the progress, the activity, and the matters, dealt with and pending, from all the jurisdictional organs in Spain.
The Ministry of Justice and the Autonomous Communities with competence in the matter, as well as the General Council of the Judiciary, will channel this information to facilitate its consultation with the utmost clarity.
3. - The citizen has the right to know the updated content of Spanish laws, and those of the European Union, by means of an easily accessible electronic data system.
4. - The citizen has the right to know the content and progress of the procedures in which he or she has a legitimate interest, in accordance with what is stated in procedural l
The interested parties will have access to the documents, books, archives, and judicial registers which are not of a reserved nature.
The authorities and civil servants will give citizens written explanations of the reasons for denial of access to requested information of procedural nature.
5. - The citizen has the right to receive notifications, summons, subpoenas, and requests which contain clear, understandable terms, and which avoid the use of unnecessary, intimidating elements.
6. – The citizen has the right that, in hearings and court appearances, while respecting the necessary technical requirements, the language used will be understandable to citizens who are not specialized in law.
The Judges and Magistrates who supervise the procedural functions will ensure the safeguarding of this right.
7. – The citizen has the right that sentences and other judicial decisions will be written in such a manner as to be understandable to the addressees, using straightforward syntax and structure, without affecting the technical rigor.
The exercise of these rights should be especially facilitated in those procedures where the appearance of a Lawyer or Attorney is not compulsory
8. – The citizen has the right to have the necessary forms for exercising his/her rights before the tribunals made freely available to him/her when the appearance of a Lawyer and Prosecutor is not compulsory.
Attentive justice before the citizen.
9. – The citizen has the right to be attended to in a respectful manner and in accordance with his/her psychological, social, and cultural circumstances.
10. – The citizen has the right to demand the utmost punctuality in the judicial proceedings in which his/her appearance in court is obligatory.
The Judge or Clerk of the Court must inform the citizen of the reasons for delay or suspension of any judicial proceedings to which he/she had been summoned.
The citizen will be informed about a suspension, except in circumstances of force majeure, sufficiently in advance to avoid his/her journey.
11. – The citizen has the right for his/her appearance in person before an organ of the Administration of Justice to be as least costly as possible
The appearance of the citizens in person before jurisdictional organs can only be demanded when it is strictly essential according to the law.
Every endeavour will be made to concentrate into a single day the various appearances that a person has to make before the same judicial organ.
Economic compensation due to the citizen for travelling expenses in order to attend judicial proceedings will be given priority and processed with maximum swiftness.
The rooms of judicial premises accessible to the public, such as waiting rooms, courtrooms, or forensic medicine clinics, should fulfil the necessary conditions to ensure correct attention to the citizen.
12. – The citizen has the right to be adequately protected when testifying as a witness or collaborating in any other way with the Administration of Justice.
13. – The citizen has the right to know the identity and status of the authority or official who is attending to him/her, with the exception –for security reasons – of the cases of criminal proceedings.
The data will be shown in a clearly visible area of the workplace.
Whoever answers the telephone or communicates via e-mail should always identify him/herself to the citizen.
14. – The citizen has the right to be attended to personally by the Judge or by the Clerk of the Court with respect to any incident relating to the running of the judicial organ.
Statements and testimonies, trials and hearings, as well as court appearances for hearing the parties before pronouncing sentence, will always take place in the presence of a Judge or Tribunal, in accordance with what is stated in the laws.
15. – The citizen has the right to be attended to in a timetable that includes mornings and afternoons in the judicial premises of those organs where, due to their nature or volume of matters to deal with, it proves to be necessary and within the legally envisaged terms.
16. – The citizen has the right to use the official language that he/she chooses when dealing with the territorial Administration of Justice of his/her Community, and to be attended within the terms established by the Organic Law of the Judiciary, and the Statutes of Autonomy and its development regulations.
Responsible justice before the citizen
17. – The citizen has the right to make claims, complaints, and suggestions relating to the malfunction of the Administration of Justice, as well as to receive a prompt reply to the same, and always within the period of one month.
The complaints and suggestions can be presented to the actual Court or Tribunal, its government organs, the Citizens’ Attention Offices, The General Council of the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, and, where applicable, to the Administrations of the Autonomous Communities.
The Public Administrations with competence will introduce systems to guarantee the exercise of this right via e-mail.
The forms required for exercising this right will be available to the citizen, in a visible and clearly indicated place, in all the Justice Administration premises.
18. – The citizen has the right to demand that responsibility is taken for judicial error or for the malfunctioning of the Administration of Justice.
Any damages caused to citizens’ assets or rights will result in compensation which can be claimed by the person(s) affected, in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
Compensation claims will be given priority and dealt with swiftly.
Agile and technologically advanced justice
19. – The citizen has the right to have the matters that affect him/her dealt with in an agile manner, and to have them resolved within the legal time period, and, in the event of delay, to know the reason for the delay.
The Ministry of Justice and the General Council of the Judiciary will draw up a program forecasting the due duration of the various proceedings of all jurisdictional orders, which will be widely publicize
20. – The citizen has the right to not be asked to submit documents which are in the possession of the Public Administrations, except when procedural laws specially require them.
21. – The citizen has the right to communicate with the Administration of Justice via e-mail, video conference, and other electronic means, in accordance with the provisions of procedural laws.
The authorities will promote the use and application of these means in the development of the activity of the Administration of Justice, as well as in their relations with citizens.
Documents issued by the Justice Administration organs and by private individuals through electronic media and data transmission systems, in whatever nature of support, will have full validity and effectiveness, provided that their integrity and authenticity have been confirmed, in accordance with the requirements demanded by the laws
A RELATIONSHIP OF CONFIDENCE WITH LAWYERS AND ATTORNEYS
Deontological correct conduct.
33. – The citizen has the right to the provision of a professional, quality service from the Lawyer who carries out the defence task with which he/she is entrusted, as well as the same from the Attorney who represents his/her interests before the jurisdictional organs.
34. – The citizen has the right to report any conduct which is contrary to professional deontology before the Bar Associations or Associations of Attorneys, and to know the result of the report through a sufficiently reasoned decision.
35. – The citizen has the right to know, through the corresponding Professional Association, whether a Lawyer or Attorney has been the object of some disciplinary sanction, not cancelled, owing to some professional act
The respective Associations will establish a system whereby the citizen can be effectively informed about the disciplinary sanctions, not cancelled, imposed on a professional, in the entire national territory.
36. – The citizen has the right to the professionals who represent, advise, or defend him/her keeping strict secret about what is revealed or confided in the exercise of those functions.
An informed client
37. – The citizen has the right to know in advance the approximate fees that the chosen professional will charge, as well as the form of payment.
Lawyers and Attorneys will be required to give their clients a prior estimate which contains the afore-mentioned main points. They will adjust themselves accordingly to this purpose and promote the use of professional assignment sheets.
The client can ask his/her Attorney for a detailed presentation of accounts for the matters entrusted to him/her.
38. – The citizen has the right to obtain specific, detailed information from his/her Lawyer and Attorney about the state of the procedure and pronounced decisions.
The professional should hand over to his/her client copies of all the written documents presented, and of all the relevant judicial decisions issued.
The citizen may consult his/her Attorney about the consequences of any act before a jurisdictional organ.
The Legal Guidance Services, dependent on the Bar Associations, will be strengthened, and their functions will be broadened to include informing citizens about their rights in their relationship of confidence with their lawyer.
39. – The citizen has the right to be informed by the Lawyer and by the Attorney, prior to the exercise of any claim before a judicial organ, about the consequences of being ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings, and about its estimated amount.
The various professional Associations will prepare a study forecasting the approximate average costs of each process, depending on both the kind of procedure and its degree of complexity, which will be periodically updated.
Free quality justice
40. – The citizen has the right to be advised and defended, free of charge, by a sufficiently qualified Lawyer, and to be represented by an Attorney in the case of having the legal right to free legal aid.
The various Associations will ensure the correct carrying out of this function by the appointed professional.
41. – In the event of free legal aid, the citizen has the right to demand that the professional appointed by the turn of office has had high quality training.
The Bar Associations will adopt the necessary measures to ensure compliance with this right.
EFFICACY OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS
1. – Citizens have the right to demand compliance with the rights recognized in this Bill. Judges and Magistrates, Public Prosecutors, Judicial Secretaries, medical forensic scientists, public civil servants, Lawyers, Attorneys, and other individuals and Institutions that cooperate with the Administration of Justice are bound by this Bill.
2. – The Ministry of Justice and the Autonomous Communities with competence in the matter, the General Council of the Judiciary, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the competent professional Associations will adopt the appropriate measures and provide the necessary means to guarantee the effectiveness and full respect of the rights recognized in this Bill.
3. – The Chamber of Deputies, through the Committee for Justice and Home Affairs, will carry out a follow-up monitoring and continuous evaluation of the evolution of, and compliance with this Bill, to which effect they will be regularly informed by the Government and the State Organs and Public Institutions, whenever they request such information. The annual report submitted by the GCJ to the General Courts will include a specific and sufficiently detailed reference to the claims, complaints, and suggestions made by citizens about the running of the Administration of Justice.