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Judicial Cooperation on Civil Matters for Professionals

Monday 18 January 2021

In the field of judicial cooperation on civil matters, the end of transition period has repercussions on legal practice, on cross-border judicial proceedings that affect citizens and companies alike, as well as on the recognition and enforcement of judicial rulings.

Civil judicial cooperation is "communitised" pursuant to Article 81 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and its most important provisions are governed by European Union Regulations approved on the matter. In the event of a no agreement, these Regulations will cease to apply and civil judicial cooperation between Spain and the United Kingdom will be governed by the International Conventions adopted within the framework of The Hague Conference on Private International Law .

What law will govern contractual relations and non-contractual liability, for example, in the case of damages?

The Rome I (593/2008) and Rome II (864/2007) regulations will continue to apply, as will the previous Rome Convention (residually with respect to Denmark). It is important to note the universal nature of the applicable law, whether the competent judge is Spanish or of another Member State. However, the Regulations will not be applicable if the jurisdiction lies with a British court.

May commercial disputes that are currently filed before British courts be judged by Spanish courts?

The Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on choice of court agreements, to which the EU and UK adhere, is applicable. With respect to what is not regulated, Law 29/2015 of 30 June, on international cooperation in civil matters, will be applicable as a closing provision.

Other related matters, such as access to justice, obtaining evidence, communications, issue preclusion, etc. will be governed by the respective Hague Conventions (including the Convention on judicial judgements) and where there is no such Convention, by Law 29/2015 of 30 June.

Will British lawyers continue to be able to practice in Spain?

British lawyers may continue to practice in Spain after the UK's effective withdrawal from the EU, although only under the procedure established in Royal Decree 775/2011 of 3 June, approving the Regulation implementing Law 34/2006 of 30 June, on access to the professions of Lawyer and Court Representative, which requires compliance with the following:

  • Degree in Law from a Spanish university, recognised by partial validation of studies abroad and passes the subjects that cannot be validated.
  • Master's degree giving access to the practice of law, which will include a period of mandatory internship.
  • Pass the exam organised by the Ministry of Justice required to practice as a lawyer.

Before joining their respective lawyers' association, British lawyers will also have to begin the process for waiving the nationality requirement before the Ministry of Justice, as provided for by Royal Decree 658/2001 of 22 June, approving the General Statute for the Spanish Law System and Royal Decree 1879/1994 of 16 September, passing certain procedural rules relating to justice and home affairs.


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