Extraordinary procedural measures adopted in Spain due to sanitary emergency situation provoked by COVID-19 virus

Extraordinary procedural measures adopted in Spain due to sanitary emergency situation provoked by COVID-19 virus

 

Measures approved by the Spanish Government in Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, 2020, declaring the state of alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19

 

The Royal Decree establishes the suspension of terms and periods provided in the procedural laws for all jurisdictional orders. The calculation of the terms will be resumed at the moment when the   royal decree or, where appropriate, its extensions, loses its validity (initially a 15 days term). The exceptions provided for in the Royal Decree are the following: 

a) In the criminal jurisdictional order:

      • The suspension and interruption will not apply to habeas corpus procedures, to the actions entrusted to the guard services, to actions with detainees, to protection orders, to urgent actions in the field of prison surveillance and to any precautionary measure in matters of violence against women or minors.
      • In the investigation phase, the competent judge or court may decide to carry out those actions that, due to their urgent nature, cannot be postponed.

b) In relation to the rest of the jurisdictional orders, the interruption shall not apply to the following cases:

      • The procedure for the protection of the fundamental rights of the person provided for in articles 114 and following of Law 29/1998, of July 13, regulating the Contentious-Administrative Jurisdiction, nor the processing of judicial authorizations or ratifications provided for in article 8.6 of the aforementioned law.
      • The procedures for collective conflict and for the protection of fundamental rights and public freedoms regulated in Law 36/2011, of October 10, regulatory of social jurisdiction.
      • The judicial authorization for non-voluntary internment due to mental disorder as provided in article 763 of Law 1/2000, of January 7, on Civil Procedure (LCP).
      • The adoption of measures or provisions for the juvenile protection provided for in article 158 of the Civil Code (CC).

Generally, the judge or court may agree to the practice of any judicial actions that are necessary to avoid irreparable damage to the rights and legitimate interests of the parties in the process.

As for the administrative deadlines, as provided in the third additional provision of the Royal Decree, terms are suspended and the deadlines for processing procedures of public sector entities are interrupted. The calculation of the terms will be resumed at the moment when the royal decree or, where appropriate, its extensions, loses its validity. The suspension of terms and the interruption of deadlines will apply to the entire public sector defined in Law 39/2015, of October 1, on the Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the competent body may agree, by means of a reasoned resolution, the management and instruction measures strictly necessary to avoid serious damage to the rights and interests of the interested party in the procedure and whenever the interested party expresses agreement, or when the interested party manifests agreement with the non-suspension of the deadline. 

The suspension will not affect the procedures and resolutions referred to situations closely related to the facts justifying the state of alarm.

The statute of limitations and expiration of any actions and rights will be suspended during the term of the state of alarm and, where appropriate, of the extensions adopted.

 

Measures approved by the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) as of March 14, 2020

 

On March 14, 2020, the Permanent Commission of the CGPJ has agreed to extend Scenario 3 to the entire national territory, while the state of alarm is maintained, so that the procedural actions and measures contemplated in this scenario will result of immediate application, without exception, to the entire Spanish State. Scenario 3 involves suspending all scheduled judicial proceedings and procedural deadlines, except the following:

    1. Any judicial action that, if not practiced, could cause irreparable damage.
    2. Urgent examinations of article 763 of the LCP.
    3. The adoption of precautionary measures or other unavoidable actions, such as the child protection measures of article 158 CC.
    4. Courts for violence against women will perform the corresponding on-call services. In particular, they must ensure the issuance of protection orders and any precautionary measures regarding violence against women and minors.
    5. The Civil Registry will pay permanent attention during the hearing hours. In particular, they must ensure the issuance of burial licenses, birth registration in a peremptory period and the celebration of marriages in Article 52 CC.
    6. Proceedings with detainees and others that cannot be postponed, such as the adoption of urgent precautionary measures, removal of bodies, entrances and records, etc.
    7. Any action in cause with prisoners or detainees.

Agreement of the Dean of Madrid Court 144/2020 

The Dean’s Office has agreed to send an official letter to the Bar Associations and Attorneys in order to ensure that written documents are not presented in general in the Dean’s Office, except for those documents referring to the procedural exceptions contemplated in Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14.

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