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Justice and Home Affairs

Sunday 31 December 2017

Justice

According to the 1978 Spanish Constitution, justice emanates from the people and is administered on behalf of the King by judges and magistrates of the judiciary, who shall be independent, permanent, responsible and subject only to the rule of law. The Constitution establishes the principle of jurisdictional unity as the basis for the organisation and functioning of the courts.

For judicial purposes, the State is territorially organised into municipal districts, judicial districts, provinces and autonomous regions.

The ordinary jurisdiction is divided into four jurisdictional orders: civil, criminal, judicial review and employment. Each jurisdictional order has its own specialised bodies for specific branches of the law, for example, commercial courts or gender-based violence courts.

Military jurisdiction, outside of the ordinary jurisdiction, tries facts classified as criminal offences under the Military Criminal Code and in the event of a State of Siege, which constitutes an exception to the principle of jurisdictional unity.

The judicial bodies in Spain are the Supreme Court, the National High Court, the High Courts of Justice of the Autonomous Regions, the Provincial Courts, the Courts of First Instance and Examination, exclusively Courts of First Instance, exclusively Examining Courts, Commercial Courts, Gender-Based Violence Courts, Judicial Review Courts, Employment Courts, Juvenile Courts, Prison Supervision Courts, Criminal Courts and Magistrates Courts.

The governing body of the judiciary is the General Council of the Judiciary, chaired by the presiding judge of the Su¬preme Court, and comprising a further 20 members appointed for a five-year term.

The Public Prosecutor's Office is a functionally independent body within the judiciary. It carries out its duties by means of its own bodies in accordance with the principles of unity of action and hierarchical subordination, subject at all times to the principles of legali¬ty and impartiality. The State's Attorney General is the head of the Public Prosecutor's Office and represents that office throughout Spain.

One of the main reforms pushed through by the Ministry of Justice is the New Judicial Office (Spanish acronym: NOJ) to support and back up jurisdictional activity. The Ministry of Justice, together with the Public Prosecutor's Office, is working on a new model of Public Prosecutor's Office to provide a response to its needs to significantly improve its efficacy, efficiency and capacity to respond.

The Spanish Administration of Justice is increasingly more reliant on new technologies, both for the day-to-day running of jurisdictional activity, and to help resolve specific problems that require the use of such technology. Thanks to these new technologies, the average time to handle communications in an ordinary civil procedure has been reduced from 60 days to 19 days. LexNET has also been improved, which is the electronic communication system that the ministerial department offers the autonomous regions. Telephone support has also been strengthened through the creation of a specific CAU VIP to cater for professional associations and even a Twitter account has been set up to provide an immediate response to their almost 7,000 followers. Other developments include the implementation of a pilot project of SMS alerts to victims of gender-based violence, the implementation of a new model of auction that is fully electronic to foster the participation of bidders, the digital justice application has now been completed, which allows for the wholly digital functioning of the jurisdictional bodies and, lastly, the Fortuny digital solution is being completed that will allow for the electronic management of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Home Affairs

The State is exclusively responsible for public security as provided for in Article 149.1.29 of the Spanish Constitution. The Government of the Nation is responsible for maintaining security through the State law enforcement agencies, whereby Article 104 of the Constitution provides that these agencies directly answer to the government and their powers should be regulated by constitutional law, specifically Constitutional Law 2/1986, of 13 March, on the Law Enforcement Agencies. Article 2 of this law specifies and defines the scope of these agencies:

  • The State law enforcement agencies, answerable to the Government of the Nation.
  • Police forces attached to the regional governments.
  • Police forces attached to local authorities.

In recent years, a major effort has been made to im¬prove coordination between State, regional and local police forces. In total, there are more than 243,000 officers guaranteeing security in Spain.

The Ministry of Home Affairs regularly publishes the following reports:

  • Crime rates.
  • Road safety reports.
  • Reports on missing people in Spain.

The goals for this term of office are as follows:

  • Greater security for women that are victims of gender-based violence.
  • Greater levels of safety for all drivers on our roads, highways and motorways.
  • Greater security, more rights, enhanced remembrance, more dignity, more justice and more truth for the victims of terrorism, who play a key role in raising awareness and preventing radicalisation and in recognising and honouring the martyrs of democracy so that their suffering and dignity do not fall into oblivion.
  • Greater security for all citizens, to which end the threats we are facing, principally from organised crime and Jihadi terrorism must be firmly countered.
  • Greater security and more freedom in the streets, in workplaces and leisure areas, on the social media and Internet.
  • Greater guarantees for the rights of those who wish to live in Spain following legal migratory processes or as refugees.