Is it just the Spanish courts or are the UK ones just as bad?

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10 Oct 2012 18:21 by kelju Star rating in South Yorkshire . 302 posts Send private message

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This post is not meant to be a criticism of the Spanish judicial system or of the lawyers who operate within its confines.

I am curious as to why it takes such a long tme to get a date for a court hearing, we are waiting for a date to be confirmed for an appeal hearing, but 10 months on from the date of the original case being heard there is no date in sight.  

i understand that some courts are working beyond their capacity and that is why it is taking so long for cases to actually be heard, but surely the demands and backlog are not so great that it takes longer than 10 months to put a date in a diary.

Having never been involved with the courts in the UK I have nothing to compare this to.

Is it me being impatient, or do you think that the courts sit on the paperwork before allocating a date, or could a date have been arranged but the courts are not providing the information.  

I do not want to constantly ask our lawyer to chase and make a nuisance of myself, do the courts publish forthcoming cases on a website or anything???

any comments or opinions welcome.


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10 Oct 2012 19:01 by wend691 Star rating in Lincoln & Rojales (C.... 179 posts Send private message

My own personal experience is that the civil judicial system in the UK is extremely laborious.

To be brief, my legal course of action against 'someone' took 10 years to get to County Court and then a further 2 years to see any financial settlement. The delays were due to a number of reasons, but during the process, the 'someone' went down the insolvency route. I was but one of a number of creditors and although I was the only person that took legal action, in the pecking order when it came to settlement, I was 'small fry'. Consequently, the barrister, solicitor, Inland Revenue, Uncle Tom Cobbley and All came out of the whole sordid process with significant financial settlement, my own settlement ended up as a mere pittance (plus a personal financial loss of well over £60K). Soooooo, in answer to your question..... no, the Spanish judicial system is not unique!!! 


This message was last edited by wend691 on 10/10/2012.

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11 Oct 2012 00:19 by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 408 posts Send private message

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 You may not criticise it, but I will. It is shocking the Spanish judicial system. Have no idea what the UK one is like but I do know that they do have a small claims system that runs over the internet and from what I have been told is quite efficient. It is the small claims that clog up the courts in all areas of Law. At last they are starting to do something about it with the new law on mediating bodies designed to take small claims out of the courts and to be dealt with by mediating companies who have freelance Judges and professionals who will be trained to quickly reach agreements on small legal isssues. This should speed things up and take a lot of weight of the sytem. But they can not handle the work load and the paperwork envolved in a simple case is just unbelievable. They need to do something about that to make the system  more agile. Officially notifying people for a court hearing is always a problem that delays court cases for months and months. I imagine the UK has it's problems too but the Spanish system is coming to a standstill.


A donde el corazón se inclina, el pie camina.

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11 Oct 2012 06:41 by wend691 Star rating in Lincoln & Rojales (C.... 179 posts Send private message

Yes, the UK judicial system is changing and has moved in a positive direction. There are three 'tracks' for small claims cases (ie under £5k - which clearly did not apply in terms of my case)so I would hope that more complicated cases such as mine are able to reach the County Court in a more timely manner than has been the case in the past.

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11 Oct 2012 18:26 by kelju Star rating in South Yorkshire . 302 posts Send private message

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 Wow wend691, 10 years for it to get to court!!

We have been awarded costs etc. but your experience is one that I am most concerend about i.e. the other party go bankrupt and we do not get back the money we've paid out to defend ourselves in court

Or, does anyone know if when the costs are awarded to us, does the other party have to pay these to the court and the court holds them until the appeal has been heard?



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13 Oct 2012 10:48 by robertt8696 Star rating in Midlands, UK. 479 posts Send private message

 If a case in a UK court goes to appeal, if i am right , no party pays anything until the point a final ruling is made as costs could be adjusted as a result of successful appeal action. This would not stop a judge making an application for funds to be paid into court and held on account if he thought there may be a chance of someone deliberately  absconding or going bankrupt.or similar deliberate avoidance of the final amount.

The only thing is that your barrister or your solicitor is never going to be far out of pocket as they will give you interim statements of your current account to make you pay them to date, and if you dont they then refuse to represent you. So they get their money come what may.

Court actions such as small claims are the same, as the person bringing the case has to pay the court costs initially, and these are added to the final total disputed as the case advances, so the crown doesnt lose either.

It is only large claims, or criminal actions that are usually funded by the state that are not billed in these ways, and usually the taxpayer initially ends up funding these actions.

And they say justice is fair.

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13 Oct 2012 13:51 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

We've won umpteen cases in the UK, when tenants who rent our houses abscond owing thousands in rent.  Often when we've won the case, having paid court fees (we never use lawyers and represent ourselves), we can't get the money out of the person.  We have never ever had a defendant pay willingly once the award has been made against them.  The only way in which we have ever got the money is by getting an 'attachment of earnings' granted (this cost £100 in our most recent cases); this only works if you know where the person is working and they earn a sufficient amount for the court to deem it reasonable to make a monthly deduction out of their salary.  If they are self-employed or on benefits, we never see the money.  But, as I say, if the person is in a reasonable job it is definitely worth the £100 attachment of earnings fee - we have had thousands repaid via this method.  I'm also aware of the possibility of having a 'charge' placed on a person's property - I think that you then get your money back if they ever sell the house, but I have no experience of this.


My account of moving to Spain."><img


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13 Oct 2012 15:05 by aylaminx Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

 Spain and the UK have different historical and political family values. I'm not saying one is better than the other but...please, inform yourselves BEFORE taking something to Court (or responding, consider taking it to the 'other' country depending on what it's about). 

One thing I know for certain is avoid UK Courts like the plague when it comes to family Matters eg Custody battles.

My advice (based on experience) is stick with the Spanish 'old fashioned' values that think of the children involved not just the adult/s.

I wish I had...


This message was last edited by aylaminx on 13/10/2012.

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13 Oct 2012 16:31 by robertt8696 Star rating in Midlands, UK. 479 posts Send private message

 Eggcup, i think you will find examination of earnings is the easier route if the person can afford payments, but for the stubborn ones there are a couple of other routes.

The first thing to do is to apply to the courts for an "Oral Examination" this determines the status and assets a person has prior to a court order being made, and the person chasing the debt to be advised accordingly.

The next step is to determine what you are going to do to claim your debt, and if attachment of earnings is not viable, there are two possibilities, one apply to the court for seizure of goods by distraint (visit by bailiff), or two, as you state, a charge to be placed on assets. Usually, as you have said, this is set against a house, and is usually paid when the owner sells it, or is forced to sell it, and any solicitor will pay your charge before redirecting the proceeds to the ex-owner at completion of sale.

The only other action i know of after Oral Examination is to apply to the high courts of justice for a bankruptcy order.

As i stated earlier, all these actions in court must be paid by you , and claimed back in addition to the amount first claimed, and if the courts cannot find any asset to strip, you will end up with the debt still outstanding, and court costs on top also.

The only other option after this is to resort to other, nearly always, illegal methods of recovering your debt, which are not pleasant, and you run the risk of being caught commiting some illegal, often violent act, which is certainly not advisable due to the consequences, but it is not unknown for some unscrupulous people to resort to these sort of tactics...............


This message was last edited by robertt8696 on 13/10/2012.

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13 Oct 2012 19:13 by acer Star rating. 1400 posts Send private message

I'm surprised by the comments on this thread, which don't reflect my experience.  I have no legal qualification but for many years I was on the periphery of insurance legal disputes and learnt a little.  I found the hourly rate of city solicitors and fees of barristers unbelievably high, but it didn't take long to realise that invariably it was money well spent.

Nowadays I have my own business and sometimes I'm obliged to use the County Court system in the UK, but it works remarkably well for me.  I have an account with Money Claim Online so I can issue proceedings in 20 minutes or so and I have a 100% success rate.  Only once have I had to appoint bailiffs, but that also worked and the twerp who decided not to honour the court judgment ended up paying about treble the original claim.

These days I admit to being a bit cantankerous and don't like being bullied by big companies who try and charge me for silly items and I've found defending proceedings equally as simple.  As the defendant you are entitled to change the court hearing to a place local to you and that alone seems to have an effect, but on the two occasions I've had to physically attend it's been very straightforward.

My experience in Spain is totally the reverse.  The whole system is extraordinarily long winded and I gather they don't have the legal precedent system as they do in the UK, so you get inconsistency in judgments, when it's finally received.  I've had several experiences of commercial companies flouting the law and unreasonable behaviour just because they know they can get away with it. 

In the last week or so I've discovered that the solicitor I used to undertake a simple conveyance failed to check that the property I bought had a licence for the swimming pool.  I've emailed the solicitor politely asking them to explain themselves with only a pathetic reply, then silence.  I may try issuing a denouncia, but I know that legal action in Spain is largely a waste of time.  Whereas I have not the slightest doubt that on this case in the UK I would have no problem at all in obtaining satisfaction through the Law Society or the courts.

It takes a few experiences of the Spanish legal "system", to really appreciate how good is the UK equivalent is.


Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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13 Oct 2012 20:04 by robertt8696 Star rating in Midlands, UK. 479 posts Send private message

 " Only once have I had to appoint bailiffs, but that also worked and the twerp who decided not to honour the court judgment ended up paying about treble the original claim."

Good for you Acer serves the idiot right, if you are in the wrong you may as well just negotiate a settlement, not try and get the better of civil proceedings. Also the problem you have,

"In the last week or so I've discovered that the solicitor I used to undertake a simple conveyance failed to check that the property I bought had a licence for the swimming pool.  I've emailed the solicitor politely asking them to explain themselves with only a pathetic reply, then silence" i find bad, as if it was the UK the solicitor would at the very least, being a business, have public indenity insurance and would be most likely covered for the type of dispute you talk about, havent Spanish solicitors similar insurance cover, voluntary or mandatory? I personally would issue a denuncia, as even if not successful, at least you have tried. Good luck. Rob.

P.S, just a thought, if i ever have to do anything with authorities i always use good old snail mail , and send it trackable, as it seems to get more results than e-mail communication.

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14 Oct 2012 10:41 by acer Star rating. 1400 posts Send private message

Hi Rob,

You are quite right about using snail mail - lots of advantages - exact confirmation and the fact that big companies hate it as they would much rather you 'phone them and wait for ages on their premium rate lines paying over the odds for the pleasure of doing so.  Also invariably their way of working does not lend itself to writing letters. 

I've currently got a serious dispute with one of the major UK banks and for a while I was writing to them and they were 'phoning me back with their response.  I didn't like that too much initially, but under the legislation they are obliged to send me a copy of their taped telephone conversation on request.  So I've paid their £10 fee and I now receive all tapes without further charge.  This is quite useful as it's a complex dispute and I've got time to make my points crystal clear in my letters, whereas the bank struggle to answer my follow up questions "off the cuff" when they call me.   The contradiction in their answers and excuses is helping to strengthen my case.

This dispute will probably end up with the Ombudsman, which of course is another defence weapon that the consumer has in the UK that does not exist at the same level in Spain.  So I'm convinced that the you are far more likely to get justice in the UK.




Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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15 Oct 2012 08:47 by webster Star rating in Sunny south coast bu.... 86 posts Send private message

 I have no experience of UK courts other than the efficient small claims system, but I do find dealing with the Spanish legal system v. difficult.  Having purchased an off-plan property in 2004 which has failed to get a licence, we had our 'day in court' in May 2010 - but have yet to find out the results.  Apparently this is normal!

_______________________   RUBBER STAMPS - BANNERS - VINYL LETTERING...

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