Spanish legal fees - taken all of our Interest on deposit

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01 Apr 2016 22:49 by DLTaylor Star rating. 2 posts Send private message


Wish i'd found this forum a long time ago.  I have just been successful in a class action using Guadeloupe (i can see others have also used).  we recently recieved a breakdown of costs. As an example ...We are due full deposit circa 35,000e and 11,000e in interest.

We have been charged fees equating to the full interest!   When starting the class action there was no real mention of this. We paid a heafty fee up front and additional fees along the way.  Others in our class action are owed more (I wonder if their interest goes to the lawyesr too)- i just dont understand how the fees are so large - given its a class action.

Does anyone else have experience of paying these level of fees and are they contestable?

It feels that the spanish legal system is doing rather well out of this.

Any advice would be great.

Kind regards


This message was last edited by DLTaylor on 01/04/2016.

This message was last edited by DLTaylor on 01/04/2016.

This message was last edited by DLTaylor on 01/04/2016.

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02 Apr 2016 00:11 by gill_malouf Star rating in Stockport, Cheshire. 200 posts Send private message



I used a solicitor near the one you used. I didn't know much back in 2006 about Spanish solicitors but I do now! I used Don Colombo Garcia. I paid 19900 euro and I am being sued for a further 20 odd thousand euro. He won the first instance and the developers appeal.....yet despite winning both cases no funds were transferred to him from the developers (Sol Mijas Developers SL - who, it turns out, were part of the Russian mafias money laundering operations)/ Last May the above solicitor contacted me (I moved to a more approachable solicitor in the meantime because of the unreasonable fees) via facebook to say that the developers wanted to give me money....well. am still waiting!

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02 Apr 2016 11:09 by DLTaylor Star rating. 2 posts Send private message


im sorry to hear you have been through. It sounds like the Spanish lawyers are mis-selling their services and making a disproportionate amount in each case. And unfairly in yours. I do hope you see your money in the end.

Our case was against the banks, rather than the developers, so maybe that explains some of the difference.

Has anyone successfully recovered a bank guarantee only to find that the Spanish lawyers take a higher fee. I'm interested to see if this is normal behaviour or another case to contest.

i would be interested to hear other examples from the community.

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02 Apr 2016 14:43 by gill_malouf Star rating in Stockport, Cheshire. 200 posts Send private message

Yes, I finally got the capital back via Maria from Costaluz.....she could see how determined i was. I am using Costaluz for a second deposit claim as well.

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05 Apr 2016 14:14 by gill_malouf Star rating in Stockport, Cheshire. 200 posts Send private message

Were you told that the other side should refund you the legal costs? I got my bank guarantee interest and legal costs back about 18 months after the actual deposit refund (less the solicitors legal costs).


I find it annoying that the legal system in any country takes time, it's as though they expect us to give up almost!

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05 Apr 2016 23:26 by john123 Star rating. 87 posts Send private message

Hi,  I received, from my solicitor Emilio Lucas, my deposit plus some of the total interest just a few months after the first instance hearing!  the bank, BBVA, appealed and I was informed last week that the court [appeal hearing 26 Jan] reversed the decision to award me all legal costs so now I have to pay mine.  it does seem that every case is different and there doesn't seem to be any consistency with regards to courts' decisions, how different solicitors treat their clients, solicitor's costs nor the amounts clients receive.  those of us who were fortunate enough [sometimes simply by pure good luck] to engage honest, conscientious and respectful solicitors seem to fare much better than those who were unlucky to choose unscrupulous and even criminally minded solicitors.  

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06 Apr 2016 00:02 by ads Star rating. 4022 posts Send private message

Does Emilio Lucas consider this reversal of award of costs should be appealed at the Supreme Court given the fact that Maria recently identified that costs should now be awarded following Costaluz's recent successful SC appeal against Bankia? On what legal grounds was your award of costs overturned? Does the fact your appeal was prior to the recent SC ruling play some part in this scenario?


This message was last edited by ads on 06/04/2016.

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07 Apr 2016 18:22 by Andrew Wilford Star rating. 185 posts Send private message

Hi "D L Taylor" ... I agree with you ... it is disgusting that Guadalupe retained all the interest and quite possible illegal! Then again try and find a Lawyer who will sue another Lawyer and you will be lucky!  I too am in the process of making a Ley57/68 claim against Cajamar and being aware of the sort of sums that Lawyers wanted; Guadalupe is NOT alone ... another prominent Lawyer down in the South wanted 30% of the total sum reclaimed PLUS A HEALTHY CHUNK UP FRONT! In the end I went to a Lawyer in Barcelona AGREED the TOTAL fees up front and expect to recover everything plus the interest.

I have learnt from experience to NEVER be too trusting of ANY Spanish Lawyer as they all see to see the "Brits Abroad" as suckers ready to be stung. However if anyone wants the details of my Lawyer I will happily put you in touch. His fees will be very reasonable and clear and none of this ridiculous "end game" expected to be paid by "Victims" of Spanish Property Fraud"!

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07 Apr 2016 21:42 by GuyT Star rating. 494 posts Send private message

I sympathise. On a different thread there was some twit insisting that "Continental" entities have a similar concept of "fair play" to what you could expect from your local Cotswold planning authority, UK banks, or UK lawyers. While UK lawyers are as venal as any, they are nonetheless sensibly tethered by UK legislation. 

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07 Apr 2016 21:58 by Andrew Wilford Star rating. 185 posts Send private message

Hi Guy ... I could have been very much more "vitriolic" than I was but then Guadalupe  gets upset when i REALLY SAY WHAT I THINK of Spansih Lawyers! The problem is they have seen so many corrupt developers steal from innocent UK Buyers that they appear to say collective "... hold on a bit ... I want some of that easy meat"! I was ripped off in the Trampolin fraud about 10 years ago to the tune of +-€200,000 and am still chasing Cajamar for the reclaim on Ley57/68 Regards Andrew

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16 Oct 2017 21:21 by fazarelli Star rating. 282 posts Send private message



30% of all monies recovered (deposit and interest and costs) is the usual percentage that they take (although i've managed to get one for 25%, with just 1500 up front). So, that means they effectively take your interest. The only thing in your favour, i assume, is the exchange rate is helping a lot.





p.s. PM me if you want details of my lawyer.

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17 Oct 2017 03:07 by Andrew Wilford Star rating. 185 posts Send private message

Look ... as I have already said ... sadly both Spanish Developers and Lawyers think UK Buyer are like chikens and ready for "plucking" (yes that IS spelt correctly!!!) The reality is that you are entitled BY LAW to the Capital sum paid PLUS 6% compound interest and COSTS ... the Lawyer tkes the costa. I would contest anything other than that! Regards Andrew

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17 Oct 2017 09:25 by briando55 Star rating in Yorkshire. 2001 posts Send private message

Like anything in life that you buy, you agree a sum and that's what you pay or receive.  

If you are about to make a claim against a bank (for example), write to selected lawyers and ask for a fee and a structure of representation, then decide who is best to go with and which suits your purpose.

If a lawyer comes along and says they will fight your case on a no win no fee basis, this will likely involve you giving up a larger fee.    It's then no good complaining at the end of the process about how you were an oven ready chicken, you plucked yourself at the start!!!


Best wishes, Brian


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17 Oct 2017 12:06 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9330 posts Send private message

Legal Questions? Speak to Maria Direct

Many lawyers are offering no win no fee with  final fee of all interests and legal costs for them and all principal or principal less 10% or so for teh client.

Think that interests are bein imposed on Banks in a general way since our victory in Courys in April 2016 and they are of legal rate ( 4%-5%) from date of payment ( sometimes even 15 years ago). So.... yes, big fees for the lawyer.

Need to state that lawyers have minimum levels of fees stablished by law society but as liberal professionals they have legitimation to agree on any higher fee with client.


This message was last edited by mariadecastro on 17/10/2017.


Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA



El blog de Maria

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17 Oct 2017 19:17 by ads Star rating. 4022 posts Send private message

So is the implication in some cases that those law firms now offering no win no fee option (who have decided for whatever reason not to follow minimum levels of fees when pursuing claims against the Banks), are now in effect leaving claimants worse off than those who pioneered the route to justice against the Banks, Maria? And yet these law firms weren't involved in this pioneering route to justice?

And are these law firms in some cases the same law firms who failed to ensure due diligence for their clients from the outset, with regard to ensuring that Banks provided legal Bank Guarantees?

And are these law firms, who never pioneered for justice in the early days (in many cases suggesting quite the opposite), now expecting to apply fees that are in excess of fees imposed by those few pioneering firms who have paved the way to justice?

IMHO the Bar Associations should be made fully aware of this disgraceful ploy to maximise fees at clients' expense, with the minimum of effort, especially those who ironically from the outset placed clients at great risk in the original conveyancing process.

They bring the legal profession in Spain into disrepute. I am almost tempted to say they appear as "leeches" on innocent claimants who have already been exposed to the most abusive of malpractices.

Or perhaps I have misunderstood?


This message was last edited by ads on 17/10/2017.

This message was last edited by ads on 17/10/2017.

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17 Oct 2017 23:10 by fazarelli Star rating. 282 posts Send private message



That isn't any different to what you are offering. You are offering 4.5k up front, and then 30% of total including interest but excluding costs ( I'm not sure if that is correct?).

Most of these no win no fee are 0k up front, then 30% of deposit and interest and costs ( but which are 0k). So, it's basically the same, but without the huge initial cost.


Many people have said on here that they weren't willing to risk anymore money ( after chasing the developer). I would imagine that many will be going for no win no fee because it is a financially better deal.

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17 Oct 2017 23:31 by Andrew Wilford Star rating. 185 posts Send private message

I have been reading the recent posts about the fees charged by Spanish Abogados in conducting Ley 57/68 cases and … whilst having responded to this thread previously … I thought I would so again one last time. There are several ways of looking at this and so I will try to see all “viewpoints” before coming to a conclusion. What I DO NOT want to do is become embattles in an argument with either Guadalupe or Maria who are both PROFESSIONAL Lawyers and argue points of law. However the following is what I believe to be the LEGAL situation for Ley 57/68 claims.


  1. There is now since July 2016 a Supreme Court ruling which states that ALL the Banks are liable to refund deposits paid to purchasers in an “off-plan” development which failed.
  2. The legal interest to be applied is 6% compound (not 4 or 5%).
  3. IF the matter is decided in a Court of Law then the “victor” … whichever side that might be … is entitled to reclaim their costs.


    Sadly a great number of purchasers simply do not have the funds to fight these battles and so have opted for a “no win no fee” scenario with various Lawyers who charge between 10% and 30% of the recovered monies. The top end of that scale I feel is unrealistic and amounts to nothing more than “profiteering and greed” by the Lawyers concerned. I actually THINK (please note I am not sure on this one) that it is in fact illegal in Spain to fight a case on a “no win no fee” basis.


    What is fair? Well … given that to mount a trial the base costs are pretty much the same whether the amount claimed is10,000€ or 100,000€ which means any Lawyer charging 10% would be charging nowhere near enough on the lower figure and maybe not enough on the higher figure


    Now we come to the interest; without a doubt the law provides for the interest to be granted to the injured party and NOT some greedy Lawyer. In a lot of these cases the matter has been continuing for many years … more than 10 in some cases! By a quirk of Maths 6% compound over 10 years effectively doubles the amount claimed so the loss of 100,000€ actually would become 200,000€. For ANY Lawyer to effectively claim the full interest I feel amounts to legalised theft and is without doubt NOT what was intended by the Ley 57 when it was conceived in 1968.


    Costs … obviously any Lawyer has legal costs which they are entitled to recover in a Court Hearing but in the event of an “out of Court” settlement the picture is a little different and my feeling is that any competent Lawyer should negotiate their costs into the settlement.


    In fighting my own case I was fortunately in a situation where I could pay the costs as they arose but even then you can end up being “ripped off”. I initially employed a firm of Lawyers based in both Alicante and London … RTD Abogados. They took some +-8000€ and did half the job and failed to follow up the contracted Ley 57/68 case. The second Layer based in both Leeds and Barcelona to whom I paid 3000€ …. Spanish Law Services / URBE … simply failed to turn up to the Court Hearing. I took out a Legal action through the UK Courts which I of course won and now, fortunately the Illustre Colegio de Abogados in Barcelona have accepted a claim against the Lawyer concerned insurance. The next Lawyer based in Durham and Cadiz has been paid £10,000.00 and is sadly now under investigation by the Police. The rules of subjudice mean I cannot name them. So … even when you pay out some +-11,000€ thinking you are doing things the best way you still get financially “raped”!


    The bottom line is that whoever you use to fight your case … whether you are paying the costs as they arise or using a “no win no fee” Lawyer be very VERY sure you fully appreciate what they are going to charge you before they start.


    In conclusion for a Lawyer … whoever that might be … who “steals” all the interest I believe is basically committing the crime of theft! So, clearly establish the fee structure in advance and be very clear what you are letting yourself in for. Remember now the Law is very clear and thanks to the likes of Costa Luz Lawyers there is little question as to the success of an action without going to Court.


    However having stated all of the above now in writing I do not want to get involved in an endless debate with anyone … Lawyers or otherwise but just remember the old maxim “let the Buyer beware”. Spanish Lawyers see us all as “idiots” (and they may not be wrong!!!) for parting with hard earned cash and see us as being simply ripe for fleecing!


This message was last edited by Andrew Wilford on 17/10/2017.

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18 Oct 2017 05:49 by Andrew Wilford Star rating. 185 posts Send private message

Dear Fazarelli

With the greatest of respect to Maria what you are being asked for amounts almost to blatant theft! 30%!!!! you are having a laugh ... then again fairness to Maria what figure are you chasing? Remember the Legal costs follow the victor and that means Costa Luz's LEGAL costs.

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18 Oct 2017 08:22 by fazarelli Star rating. 282 posts Send private message



Yes, it IS very high percentage, but that's consistent with   success fees BUT only in no win no fee claims.


I'm 99% sure that the legal interest is specified each year, and for the past ten years or so, has been set around 4-5% ( variable). AND, it's not compound interest. Btw, using the rule of 72, 6% would take 12 years to double ( with compound interest).


Also, with respect to costs. If I'm claiming, say, 100k and the court grants this amount. Then my solicitor takes 30k from that - does that constitute part of the costs? So, really, i should be getting 130k? But then the solicitor would want 39k from that. So, the amount claimed would go up to 139k, etc etc etc. So, i think taking 30% from the amount claimed is the only way.



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18 Oct 2017 08:41 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9330 posts Send private message

Legal Questions? Speak to Maria Direct

Despite it is not the place to talk about fees, as you ask, our current offer for people not paying any upfront amount to hold our work ( there are 10 people working on this), is a final fee of 30% on all amounts recovered: principal, interests and costs. This is slightly above the minimums established by our Bar Association, and the reason for that is that we are funding the whole process ( 1-2-3 years of judicial work, legal research, clients care and administration)

We offer a chart of fees by which people can also pay upfront fees and the final amount gets reduced. There are several options so that the more you pay upfront, the less you pay at the end. You can pay this initial fees in 3-5 instalments.

We honestly think we are being very fair with our offers, especially as we have the highest success rate in Spain and were pioneers in this type of action.


Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA



El blog de Maria

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