Fighting for consumer rights in Spain usually requires communication in Spanish and often the skills of a lawyer, as well as unyieldingness and patience if you want to get the consumer case to your advantage.
Spain, with a population of about 50 million, can also accommodate a wide variety of entrepreneurs, and our law firm is often contacted when an online order was never delivered and customer service speaks nothing but Spanish. But there has also been all kind of cases where entrepreneurs do not stand for their obligations to refund or restore false installations or products, for example, custom-made yard furniture and structures have been different from those mentioned in the offer, etc.
Spanish consumer protection is multifaceted and there are different types of consumer bodies, such as online public consumer instances, who act as a “disgrace platform” to companies that have failed to comply with consumer standards. There are also regional official consumer bodies and other consumer organizations. In addition, there is a legal system under which the consumer can take his case to court. Spanish and Europe also have strong consumer laws to confirm a consumer’s demand.
If your consumer rights have been violated, you should first contact the entrepreneur and try to reach an agreement. If this does not help, our lawyer can contact the entrepreneur directly and file an official complaint. The matter can then be taken, for example, to a local consumer body, which will make a decision on it or take the matter up to court. Depending on the case, the consumer may have the legal right to claim additional compensation up to double the amount.
What is Habeas corpus?
Many people tend to think that once someone is arrested, they could simply spell the magic words of “Habeas corpus” and claim their right to be set free until the court proceedings, while they should be presumed innocent. However, that is not the case; even if it is true that the Spanish Constitution does state that every person has a right to freedom and that if arrested it has to be on legal grounds, if not, then he has the right to allege for Habeas Corpus, it still has to fulfill certain conditions.
First of all, the aim of the habeas corpus proceeding is not to judge the issue if someone is innocent or not. Habeas corpus is the proceeding, that aims to protect the rights of legal detention, meaning that one can claim habeas corpus when he is illegally arrested. The Organic Law of Habeas Corpus is stating the different situations for which one could be considered illegally arrested.
If one thinks that the arrest is illegal, then he, the lawyer, the prosecutor or Ombudsman officer or f.ex. a family member can claim for habeas corpus, which means that the case has to be reviewed and decided about the illegality or not about the arrest within 24 hours.
Common assumptions for illegal arrest could be that one is arrested without that the officers have informed about the grounds for the arrest, or is kept one arrested over 72 hours without a legal proceeding. However, one has to understand that habeas corpus is not applicable in situations, where it exists a judge's decision on putting someone behind bars. In general, the applicable situations are when the police, guardia civil or other authority is locking someone up without legal grounds or when one is put to jail via a civil arrest for a crime in flagranti. In these cases, and if you are concerned that the arrest did not fulfil the conditions for a legal arrest you could claim for habeas corpus and get your case reviewed within 24 hours and claim the possibility to be set free.
Please, not that the concept of habeas corpus is much more than discussed in this post. This post is not meant for any legal advice. More specific info about habeas corpus by case-by-case study. Please, contact us in case you are arrested illegally and we can study the case.
The European Commission has proposed an improvement of the global system on Migration and Asylum that covers all the extent necessary for a comprehensive European approach, improving cooperation with countries of origin and transit, guaranteeing effective procedures, successful integration of the refugees, and the return of those refugees who have no right to stay.
This is intended to carry out more efficient and faster procedures, implementing an integrated border procedure that includes a pre-entry screening that involves the identification of all persons who cross the external borders of the EU without authorization or who have disembarked after a search and rescue operation.
It also includes carrying out health and security controls, taking fingerprints, and registering in the Eurodac database. Once this is done, the selected persons will be directed to the appropriate procedure, either at the border for certain categories of applicants or in an ordinary asylum procedure. As part of this border procedure, decision-making will be faster, so that the uncertainty of the people whose cases can be examined, will take as little time as possible.
It is also intended to achieve an equitable distribution of responsibility and solidarity of the Member States, which will have the obligation to be responsible and in solidarity with each other, contributing in solidarity in times of emergency to accomplish to stabilize a conclusive system, supporting those Member States under pressure and ensure that the Union meets its humanitarian obligations.
A flexible contribution system from the Member States is also proposed by the Commission. These can range from relocating asylum applicants from the country of first entry to assuming responsibility for the return of persons without the right to stay or various forms of operational assistance. The existence of a solidarity mechanism will cover different situations, including the disembarkation of people as a result of search and rescue operations, pressure, crises, or other specific circumstances.
The Commission will seek to promote a common EU system for returns, to make EU migration rules more credible and propose common coordination, with better strategic planning to ensure that EU and national policies are aligned, as well as better monitoring of migration management on the ground to increase mutual trust, improving the management of external borders.
Achieving credible legal migration and integration policy will benefit European societies and economies. Launching partnerships with non-EU countries tailored to EU force and skill requirements will strengthen resettlement and promote other complementary routes, seeking to develop a European support system.
In Spain, a lawyer practicing law or legal advice must hold the title of abogado (lawyer) and be a member of the local bar association (Colegio de abogados). This means that not everyone is allowed to sell legal advice or represent a client in court.
There are, of course, a few areas of law or situations in which, for example, the client can send the application to court himself or defend his case without a local lawyer (an abogado).
If you intend to practice law and provide legal services in Spain, you must have the required degree in Spain. Legal studies started elsewhere can also be accepted and completed in Spain.
As a general rule, once a Spanish law degree and diploma in law (máster en ejercicio de la abogacía) has been recognized, the lawyer is still required to practice under a senior abogado, after which he may take part in national exams for lawyers. If the exam is passed, the lawyer must apply for a certificate from the Spanish Ministry of Justice. He can then apply for membership in the local bar association (Colegio de Abogados). The members of the association must meet certain conditions and send information to the association, e.g. criminal record and details about their own business or workplace. Besides, the abogado must have insurance or other warranty that covers responsibilities that occurred in their practice. The abogado then receives his or her bar association number for identification.
In Spain, therefore, it is not possible to practice law without being a member of the bar association(Colegio de abogados), and only lawyers belonging to the bar association with an abogado title may practice as a lawyer. An Abogado must also abide by the rules of the bar association and its legal duties.
The so-called Golden Visa is a residence permit for non-EU citizens who invests in real estate in Spain, equal to or greater than 500,000 euros. This investor visa allows non-European citizens to obtain Spanish residence for 1 year (with possible future renewals to extend the duration of the permit). One of the benefits that this residence permit provides is that it does not require a stay in the country, the applicant must only visit the country on time. In other words, if you have money, then you can buy a residence permit in Spain.
The investment does not have to be in real estate, in general, one can also invest in current accounts or financial products for 1 million in Shares in a Spanish company or 2 million euros in Spanish public debt. Real estate investment involves buying properties worth half a million euros.
The law allows also an investment in a business project that has an impact on society in the form of job creation and innovation, this investment is quite unknown among potential investors in Spain, therefore, by far the least used.
Spanish law states that the project is considered “of general interest”, if it meets one or more of the following conditions: job creation, the socio-economic impact of relevance in the geographical area in which the activity is developed, and relevant contribution to scientific or technological innovation.
The minimum amount recommended is around 250,000 euros, a quantity agreed with the Dirección General de Comercio Internacional e Inversiones, which is the competent body to approve these applications, in exchange for the residence permit. It is only an approximate quantity and each case will be studied case by case so that the "general interest" established by law is met.
*The posts in this blog are only informative and general. Not suitable for any legal advice. They are not automatically up to date.
When you buy a new development in costa del sol, you will receive a modern, unused, and energy efficient property which one can usually modify for one’s preferences during the building process. From an investing point of view, it is generally recognized that buying a new development in an early stage, while the promoter is trying to attract investors, offers the possibility to purchase it at a lower price. Usually, when the project is ready the property prices will rise.
From a financial point of view, there is the benefit of not needing to pay the whole purchase price at once. The buyer can make the payments in stages as the project proceeds.
The purchaser does neither have to use a building inspector, while that has to be offered by the promoter. The buyer does not even have to pay the property transfer tax (ITP ), that is required when buying a second-hand property.
However, when buying a new development, the buyer has to pay the VAT tax that is either 4% or 10% depending on the type of project.
One of the most important things is the obligatory bank guarantee/security by the developer to refund payments during the building projects, in case the project does not finalize. Also, every serious promotor has additional guaranties and deposits on external accounts for fulfilling any claims that could occur during and after the building process.
The buyer of new development in costa del sol is furthermore protected by consumer laws while the purchase is between a company and a consumer, which is not the case when for example buying a second-hand property from a private person. Additionally, it is protected by other laws and norms for users.
There are also extended possibilities for claims, while the buyer has the right to claim constructional, installation, latent effects, and other issues during 1,3 and 10 years after the finalization of the project depending on the what the claim concerns.
Lastly, there is the possibility to claim a breach in contracts for 5 years, for example, if the materials used in the project are not the ones established in the developer’s protocol.
We recommend always to consult a lawyer to guide through the process, because it is very important to check the contracts, protocols, memorandums and that the developer/promoter has the required licenses concerning property, etc. to secure your rights in case of any issue. Our in-house lawyer offers also these services.
Find your new development or off plan project in costa del sol
*The posts in this blog are only informative and general. Not suitable for any legal advice. We do not take any responsibility for actions taken, referring to the blog posts. They are not automatically up to date.
Recently Spain has added a lot of immigration services that could be processed online. An often asked question is if the NIE number* (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) could also be obtained online? The answer for the moment is, no.
The immigration services that are offered online, generally consist only of the services provided by the Foreigners Office (Extranjería). NIE is issued by the Police station (Comisaría) and requires as a general rule a presential and personal identification process. However, if the intention is to apply for a residence permit or similar online, one could start by applying the NIE in one’s home country at the Spanish Embassy or the police station in Spain and then continue with the services offered online. But when applying for the residence permit online, the person has to be physically in Spain.
Spain is constantly adding services, that could be processed online, so hopefully, soon, the identification process for NIE could also be done online.
*NIE: NIE number is the identification number in Spain for those who are not a Spanish citizen. It is the counterpart to a DNI for Spanish citizens. Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens can obtain an NIE.
As a general rule, due to Decreto Ley 2/2020 de 9 de marzo, those individuals in a vulnerable situation who are applying to postpone a loan debt, for example a Spanish mortgage (hipotéca) do not have to pay the notary or register fees included in the process. The bank or credit institutions are obliged to stand for the fees, which also also applies for other types of loans mentioned in the decree law . The intention of the new rule is to protect those persons in a vulnerable situation due to COVID19 and to prevent the obligation for visiting a notary or the register in concern to postpone the contractual obligations.
Please, consider that there may be requirements, that does no apply for ones proper situation, for which we always recommend a case by case study before taking any actions.
Due to COVID19 Spain has implemented new possibilities to act online regarding administrative proceedings. One of the new possibilities is to apply for, renew, or claim residence permit proceedings. The new online services are established because of the coronavirus that has led to many administrations being closed and to fulfill the need to provide services that have to do with immigration to Spain. Online services in concern, includes all tasks that are related to the “Extranjería”. This means that for example residence permits could be applied online, meanwhile, NIE number applies, which are a proceeding under the “Comisaría”, could not be applied online. However, NIE could be applied as a general rule, in the home country of the interested, and afterward, the residence permit could be obtained online. One important task is that the interested has to be in Spain, for that it could be possible to apply for the residence permit. One has to keep in mind that we are living in special pandemic times and that there can be updates to these general rules discussed in this blog.
This question is asked a lot and there is not an overwhelming answer, that could fit all the cases. Because, there are different kinds of residence permit processes depending on the aspects like, which nationality is the applier, why is the applicant aiming for a residence permit in Spain, what kind of past has the applier, etc?
In general, it depends if the applicant is an EU citizen or citizen of a third country.
However, from a general point of view, the processes to achieve a residence permit in Spain could be amongst others:
-through a working contract or entrepreneurship in Spain
-through a family member residing in Spain
-through studies in Spain or another non-lucrative purpose, like moving to Spain for retirement
-human right issues
-residing in Spain irregularly for a period of time and fulfilling the requirements for achieving a legal stay (the so-called “arraigo”),
Every case is unique and has to be studied which is the right option for the applier.
An expressway to achieve a residence permit is by an investment. There are different kinds of investment possibilities of which the well-known is the investment in the property of a value of at least 500.000 euros, the so-called Golden Visa.
The applier also has to distinguish between temporary and permanent residence permits. Permanent residence permits are permits that could be achieved after residing legally in Spain for a minimum of five years.
Keep in mind that EU citizens could stay in Spain for three months without a residence permit. However, there are some important registrations to be done. The same principle also applies to people with a nationality from other countries, that have agreed about that practice with Spain. On the other hand citizens from third countries needs to apply for some kind of visa or residence permit straight away.
Another thing is the Spanish nationality, which has different requirements. In general, those with a nationality from Ibero American countries (including Portugal, etc.) could achieve the Spanish nationality, after residing legally in Spain for two years, depending on the circumstances like the nationality of the applicant or if their parents are Spanish by origin, in that case, the nationality could be achieved by residing one year in Spain.
Please, contact us for more information: email@example.com | (+34)620866680
*This article is only informative; it is not suitable for any legal advice. We do not take responsibility for any actions taken by it. No actions should be taken before studying the situation case by case.