defending rights and civil liberties


Court Fees Act

*  Vídeo. Entrevista con Verónica del Carpio, abogada y profesora de Derecho Civil sobre las tasas judiciales y los recortes en Justicia que son un ataque al Estado de Derecho y afectan el derecho de lo/as ciudadanos/as de acceso a la Justicia.


* RIS Legal Brief. "The Court Fees Act breaches the European Convention on Human Rights" (sp) 

Post in Contrapoder: Access to justice is becoming increasingly difficult (sp)

* Submissions to UN: "Joint Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Spain" (sp)

It seems the Government is worried that us citizens may seek the assistance of the courts in demanding our rights and asking justice to protect us. This is why they are setting-up obstacles that make it more burdensome to access justice. In 2012 a law came into force requiring the payment of fees by any person who wants to go to court or appeal a court ruling, with the exception of criminal cases. A person who, for example, may want to claim from a bank for being deceived into purchasing toxic financial products, or a worker who has been dismissed, or a protester who wants to appeal a fine imposed by the administration, will have to pay a court fee, leaving them with the choice of either paying or doing nothing at all. Can you understand now why, in the case of the Criminal Code reform, offenses have been converted into administrative infractions, while there has been an increase in the number of infractions within the Public Safety Amendment Bill?  

The court fee is comprised of a fixed amount (the rate of which will vary depending on whether it is a claim or an appeal) plus a percentage that changes according to the disputed amount. Access to justice will be reserved for those with resources, as the amount paid will never be refunded, even if the case is won. Furthermore, these rates do not take into account the financial resources citizens may or may not have. If we add to this that it will become increasingly more difficult to access legal aid (i.e., public defence counsel), it turns out, justice is becoming more and more expensive. For example, a worker may be represented initially by a public defence lawyer without having to pay any court fees, but should the worker appeal, he or she would have to pay. If that worker has no family or earns more than €12,780 a year, he can no longer enjoy the benefit of public defence counsel.
They are effectively stopping us from defending or protecting ourselves from abuse.