The Bar Association and accountability of law firms

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04 Jun 2011 00:00 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message


May I enquire if the Bar Association in its present form has any powers to fine Law firms who refuse to respond to continual requests for information relating to payment/deposit slips associated with the purchase and conveyancing of property? Or for that matter law firms who continue to be obstructive to the process of law.


This message was last edited by ads on 04/06/2011.

This message was last edited by ads on 04/06/2011.

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04 Jun 2011 15:30 by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message


How you continue to look for the angles amazes me. You should get a nobel prize for determination!

The problem in Spain is that there are more than 100 law societies.

These law societies are very poorly regulated and they have no clout whatsoever.

In fact you can totally ignore them and just do what you want.

I have a case before the Colegio de Abogados de Malaga and if this same case was brought before the law society of England & Wales the lawyer in question would have had his practising certicate revoked and also be struck off. I know this will not be the outcome in Spain.

You also need to bear in mind some lawyers are protected by the establishment and the law society will not stand against them. Here I mean if your father is a notary, judge, lawyer etc then very hard.

Also it is very hard to find lawyers to take a case against another colleague.

To push my case forward I need to have a Spanish lawyer go in person and then we get a little movement and then nothing again for weeks/months ....

Have a look at the attached link to the SDT decisions and SRA interventions of the law society of England & Wales - that's regulation. But you will never see a Spanish law society regulated in that manner.

But in answer to your question the code of professional conduct probably says they should respond but even if that is the case it will not be enforced.

My honest opinion is you would be wasting your efforts here.

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05 Jun 2011 18:19 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Thank you Faro.

Your observations of conflict of interests within the existing justice system, (family ties), is corruption by any other name.

Can I ask another more general question? In your experience, is the law being applied in a "selective" manner i.e. are these outstanding cases being purposefully put on the back burner, so to speak, whilst other unrelated cases are achieving justice? Or do you suspect that this is purely a problem relating to an overload of cases within the system?

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06 Jun 2011 09:51 by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message

I can only speak for the Colegio de Abogados de Malaga and it has nothing really to do with case overload.

I believe they have some type of Council meeting every 2 weeks dicussing general business and my complaint goes on the agenda but most meetings I am told there was not enough time to discuss my complaint and so its rolled over and if I don't keep pushing for it to go on the agenda then it's removed as an agenda item altogether.

They would not appear to have a separate disciplinary committee investigating complaints and scheduling hearings.

Furthermore good lawyers (I mean that the bad way!) know how to play games and delay proceedings so nothing ever happens.

In the meantime I have lawyers calling in on a regular basis to push the complaint forward and that makes the procedure expensive.

The local colegios have demonstrated they cannot self regulate so what's required is a centralised and independent disciplinary committee with power to fine and revoke practising certificates and once a complaint is made it is investigated in a timely manner.

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06 Jun 2011 11:13 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Thanks Faro.

Hope you don't mind but I'm going to lift this suggestion onto the thread "Spain - Time for reform"

It would be great to start getting some productive ideas afloat from those who live and suffer the existing system everyday. It shouldn't have to be this way (unless there is hidden agenda) in which case all the more reason to expose the realities.

In fact analysing your observations further actually implies that some lawyers, those you refer to as being content with the status quo using the current system of delays, begs many questions.

  • Are the associated costs inhibiting them?
  • Is there complacency and lack of belief that reform can be achieved given the current political structure? (i.e. the justice system is not sufficiently  independent of political influence).
  • Is there self interest  at work (corruption) to delay indefinitely and thereby cover up their misdemeanours?
  • has anyone ever asked them IF they are content with the status quo, or requested that they look outside the box to improve their professional image, not to mention their success rates for their clients?
  • Or Is this a self perpetuating corruption where the more complex the procedures that follow from unregulated delays is to their own advantage?

Sorry for all the questions. I'm just trying to get my head around the realities and trying desperately not to be too judgemental without comprehending  the facts. ('Blimin hard I can tell you!)





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06 Jun 2011 13:01 by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message


What I see is the need to be in Spain in person and then an almost impossible burden of proof.

I feel the colegio is just badly ran which is why we need an independent regulation authority and also to be able to process complaints in English recognising so many members have let down their English speaking clients.

But also I have never really heard Spanish lawyers complaining about their colegios.

I'm not even sure you can say it's corruption but just their way and they accept that's the way it is ....

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06 Jun 2011 13:40 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

06 Jun 2011 13:55 by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message

ICAM rarely respond to emails to named individuals let alone general email addresses.

You have to go in person - have the handshake - and build a relationship. This approach is the same of all offices in Spain. It's their way of doing business.

Also you have only given the web address for Malaga - what about the other 100+ colegios?

Most non-Spanish don't even realise there is not one governing body.


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06 Jun 2011 14:02 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

campana´s avatar

I"ll put up the other 99 if you like Faro.  I put the Malaga Law Society web up because that is the one you mention.

No doubt all are listed on this site

I am well aware that there is more than one law society in Spain, and I am aware of the way that business is conducted, given that I have lived in Spain practically all my life.  In fact ti is an excellent idea to build a good face to face relationship in any aspect of business IMO.





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06 Jun 2011 14:54 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Here we go again......... just the way it is.

No matter that it's compromising all too many clients in the process!!

It's unforgiveable and yet more evidence to substantiate just how ineffective and compromising the existing system has become.

It is affecting the application of law and negatively affecting all too many outcomes, and it would be hypocritical for the Collegios to deny otherwise.

This is yet more evidence to prove the need for the EU to step in and ensure that justice prevails in one of its member states. No self correction is ever going to take place in Spain without external pressure to ensure they have a "competent and accountable" system of justice in place.

Maybe the only time they will take note is if Spanish legal professionals are denied trade, and we (their bread and butter) only deal with those who are prepared to sign up to a legal code of conduct! How could that be orchestrated do you think??????


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06 Jun 2011 15:12 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

campana´s avatar


They do have a legal code of conduct to which they must sign up on becoming members of their law society.

I dare say any law society could make available a copy of that code of conduct if asked.

I mentioned on the other thread about bringing in other nationalities on your campaign.  I feel this might be helpful if approaching the EU authorities.  Strength in numbers and all that.





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06 Jun 2011 15:13 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Well there's a novelty.......... and who ensures that this code of conduct is adhered to?

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06 Jun 2011 15:19 by Keith110 Star rating in the UK and I am lead.... 682 posts Send private message


Code of Conduct - yes they sign up to it but sadly in many cases it is not adhered to.

Something else, more important than a Code of Conduct was also not adhered to by many Lawyers, Banks, Savings Banks, Agents and Developers...........

Spanish Law.............LEY 57/1968

If they do not adhere to the Law then what hope of them adhering to a Code of Conduct?

Kind regards



LEY 57/1968


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06 Jun 2011 15:57 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

campana´s avatar

There is nothing novel about professional bodies having a code of conduct, Ads. 

I do not know whether the law society members adhere to their code of conduct.  As I said, it is likely that a copy of the code of conduct can be obtained.  There may well be rogue members.  It happens. 



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06 Jun 2011 16:00 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

That was said tongue in cheek Patricia, and I meant novel in the respect that there was such a thing in Spain!

Keith is right to focus on the non adherence of the law.

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06 Jun 2011 19:31 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

campana´s avatar

Odd as it may seem there are many ethical and law-abiding professionals in Spain.  I am sure Maria, the online lawyer here, could give information (should she so wish) as regards the code of conduct for the law society to whih she belongs.

Because some people have had a bad experience, for whatever reason, in Spain does not cancel out the fact that there are many many satisfied home owners in the country.



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07 Jun 2011 09:25 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

The point we are trying to make is that those legal professionals who have acted negligently or without due diligence are not being made accountable by their own professional body.

As Keith has confirmed it's all rhetoric to talk of codes of conduct if at the end of the day there is no enforceable accountability through these organsations, and no amount of talk of their existence detracts from the fact that they are an ineffective body.  Sadly it’s all a charade as things stand.

 Faro is absolutely correct to call for change and has provided a credible solution, if only the legal fraternity would listen. The time has come for those good professionals who genuinely want to improve the system, to stand up and be counted, to strive for change from within. We have been pleading for this for quite some time now. It’s time to face some uncomfortable truths before more injustices occur.

If Spain is ever to gain credibility it has to provide a decent independent workable system of justice, with legal professionals accountable to credible collegios.

On a more general note, this is just typical of Spanish rhetoric, whether this be from Government Officials, to the general public, including those who you refer to as being happy in Spain. Please be aware of the hypocrisy, misinformation, the lies and deceipt we are being subjected to. It is no small effort, as Keith identified, to keep you all informed of the realities, so please check the facts before we have to spend endless time educating… I don’t mean that to sound condescending, but it is insulting to suggest that we should be aware of many satisfied home owners, as though this is of any relevance to the situation. It is not.

The lack of credibility that results from these uncomfortable truths is harming Spain, and no amount of denials or distraction away from the realities will serve any purpose. Just the opposite actually, as the problems just magnify.

Is it any wonder that we are trying to spare others a similar fate so long as lack of regulation or non adherence to existing laws continues. Let alone the other atrocities that are taking place before our eyes, as other innocent residents watch their homes demolished whilst being denied an effective system of justice, denied of their rights as their cases remain “stuck” in a system without time constraints in place to protect their rights.

This is not rhetoric or theoretical debate we are referring to here, these issues revolve around real people’s lives.


Please everyone help us to gain accountability in Spain and support the petitions.

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07 Jun 2011 09:56 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9347 posts Send private message

Legal Questions? Speak to Maria Direct

 You can always bring an indemnity action to Courts against them and their indemnity insurance.


Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA



El blog de Maria

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07 Jun 2011 13:29 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

campana´s avatar

Sorry, Ads, but don't step across the line.  I have every right to say I am happy in what has become my home country: Spain. This is a public forum and people are entitled to say they are happy or unhappy, as the case may be.  Maybe those of us who are happy here should all go throw ourselves in the ocean.

That does not mean we are unaware of shortcomings in this country, and let it be said in other countries.  Constant Spain bashing and generalising will not help your cause, Ads.  It just gets people's backs up. 




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07 Jun 2011 15:34 by ads Star rating. 4025 posts Send private message

Patricia, again you take it out of context and are being over defensive. No-one is trying to cancel out the fact that there are many satisfied home owners, nor are we bashing Spain. We have never implied this. In fact on many occasions when this has arisen in the past we have gone out of our way to emphasise this point. We are standing our corner to defend our rights and identifying corrupt malpractice that exists in Spain (yes uncomfortable truths) which are causing great harm, not only to the country, but to many innocent people whose dream was to live happily in Spain. The only solution to this, to everyone's benefit, is to correct and eradicate the corruption from within, which can be acheived through specific methods of accountability and enforcement of existing law, which we are endeavouring to identify.

The reference was made to the relevance given the thread topic.What has happy people in Spain got to do with accountability of law firms and the provision of codes of conduct without any commitment or body to enforce them? It doesn't make any sense and distracts away from the main topic of accountability. I'm sorry if my observations gave the wrong impression as I am sincerely striving for a way forward, as are all that are involved in this property scandal. 

Maria, it is this exact same point that we have discussed before and that Faro has recognised. There are no effective disincentives in place for legal professionals to discontinue their malpractice that brings the profession into disrepute (corrupt practices), so long as their legal indemnity alone is the sole means of accountability. In successful cases, the insurance company pays out (if you are lucky enough to gain a lawyer that is willing to take a case against another), but they will just carry on in the same vein. The ultimate accountability should also, as Faro has demonstrated, be the accountability to their legal professional body, who should be transparent with the information (identify the fines imposed and to whom, whether struck off, etc) Only when there is self regulation of this form from within the Spanish legal profession will it be possible to say that clients are protected from futher abuse, and that the transparency has achieved its aim and acts as an effective deterrent.

We are grateful that you continue to identify the existing processes that are available, and hopefully there will be successful cases but we are equally concerned that this malpractice will just continue unregulated.

As for the delays within the justice system, these also should be regulated by inbuilt effective and realistic time constraints, otherwise again this malpractice of "playing the system of indefinite delays" will continue to compromise the application of law.

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