The Government of Spain promotes the digital transformation of the justice system

Council of Ministers - 2022.7.19

Moncloa Palace, Madrid

The Council of Ministers has approved and will send to the General Courts the Draft Law on Digital Efficiency Measures for the Public Justice Service, which establishes a cutting-edge framework to facilitate its digital transformation. It regulates digital services accessible to citizens, strengthens legal certainty in the digital field and orients justice systems towards the rational use of data.

The Minister for Justice, Pilar Llop, has framed the proposed legislation within the Justice 2030 Plan and, together with the two laws on procedural and organisational efficiency that are already going through parliament, she considers it "a crucial, fundamental step to build the strong and solid foundations of the future justice system, a kind of justice 5.0".

The measures contained in the future regulation will improve citizens' access to the public justice service, the efficiency of the work of all professionals and resource optimisation.

Telematic trials and hearings will be encouraged. During the pandemic, over a million were held, with an estimated saving of more than 19 million euros in travel and 9,000 tonnes of CO2, "the equivalent of 1,382 round-the-world trips", the minister explained.

There will also be a Justice Folder, which will be similar to and connected with the Citizen's Folder, to facilitate secure digital identification and allow anyone to carry out procedures from their computer or mobile phone. In order to eliminate generational, territorial or economic gaps, this service will be accessible from any town in Spain through the municipal judicial offices.

The third focus will be the interoperability of all systems and their automation, as well as data processing. Llop gave as an example the fact that the seven different procedural management systems that exist in Spain are now fully interoperable with the Supreme Court, a process that had been pending for many years. With regard to automation, the minister referred to eviction trials as an example. Notifications to social services will be automatic, "making it impossible for them to be forgotten and ensuring the most vulnerable people are protected".

Pilar Llop expressed thanks for the contributions of all the professional groups involved and the public/private collaboration with innovation and artificial intelligence companies in order to respond to this major technological challenge.

The minister also emphasised that the draft law takes into account legal certainty, the ethical and human rights framework, the improvement of cybersecurity and the respect of the content of the Charter of Digital Rights approved last year.

Amendments to the regulation on legal aid

Pool Moncloa/César P Sendra

The government has amended the Legal Aid Regulations to prevent public defence lawyers and solicitors who have been convicted or have a criminal record of a crime from defending victims of crimes of the same nature.

In this way, the Minister for Justice pointed out, this guarantees the right of victims of gender violence to be assisted by specialised public defence lawyers, as demanded by women's organisations and associations and recommended by the Ombudsman.

The measure has been extended to other particularly vulnerable victims such as victims of terrorism or human trafficking, minors or people with disabilities.

Candidacy for the post of Crown Prosecutor of the State

The executive has received the resignation of the Crown Prosecutor of the State, Dolores Delgado, for health reasons. The Cabinet meeting approved the candidacy of Álvaro García Ortiz for the post.

García Ortiz is currently Chief Prosecutor of the Technical Prosecutor's Office and a prosecutor of the Supreme Court. The Minister for Justice highlighted his extensive professional career and his profile, as he is "an environment specialist and a national and international leader in the fight against forest fires".

Furthermore, Llop praised Delgado's resignation as an demonstration of responsibility, which she herself has justified by not being able to carry out her duties with the dedication that public service requires.

Report on this week's fires

Pool Moncloa/César P Sendra

The Minister for Territorial Policy and government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, conveyed her condolences to the families and relatives of the two people who died as a result of this week's forest fires, a brigadier who was working on extinguishing the fires and a livestock farmer.

The Council of Ministers has received the situation report, which estimates that there are 39 fires, 24 of which are still active, and reveals that 20,000 hectares have been burnt. Together with the fires of the June heatwave and those of the first months of the year, this makes a total of 70,000 hectares affected in 2022, double the average of the last decade.

"This is a tragic summer that forces us to rethink our response to fires," reflected Rodríguez, who recalled that this was already indicated by the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, during the debate on the state of the nation, when he proposed the reformulation of the available resources and a new basic state regulatory framework for fire prevention and extinction personnel.

Rodríguez has advocated speeding up the work begun to draw up a National Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction, 'Horizon 2035', agreed at the Conference of Presidents last March.

Campaigns against fires and high temperatures

At present, eleven state resources are collaborating with regional governments in extinguishing the fires, five of them with the Military Emergency Unit (UME) and nine with aerial resources.

The Government spokesperson thanked all the personnel working on the ground during the summer campaign against forest fires and also those working in other areas, for example, aircraft mechanics, prosecutors specialising in environmental crimes and civil servants from the ministries involved, including the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge.

Rodríguez once again appealed to the public to follow the protocols and act with caution, also with regard to the possible health consequences of heat waves. In this sense, she defended the review of working conditions and compliance with occupational risk prevention measures when these extreme temperatures are reached, and assured that the Labour Inspectorate will be attentive and vigilant in this regard.

Water management planning

The Government has also approved the Strategic Directions on Water and Climate Change, which set out guidelines and measures in water planning and management to boost the country's resilience.

"It is a matter of giving the protection of this basic asset the focus it deserves, not only for human survival but also for the preservation of our environment," explained Isabel Rodríguez.

The spokesperson highlighted the current paradox of simultaneous periods of drought and severe flooding and reiterated the need to plan the best possible water management in order to face these challenges and to take advantage of opportunities, such as digitalisation tools, to make better use of the resource.

483 million euros for dependency care

The executive has agreed on the distribution among the regional governments of 483 million to finance the care of dependent adults. The criteria for allocation have a threefold objective: the reduction of waiting lists, the quality of employment in the sector and the improvement of benefits and services.

Isabel Rodríguez stressed that this investment doubles the existing investment and constitutes the "largest historical figure in the policy of care for dependent adults" in our country.

Improved agricultural insurance premiums

Pool Moncloa/César P Sendra

Today, the Council of Ministers approved the amendment of the 43rd Combined Agrarian Insurance Plan to raise the subsidy for agricultural insurance premiums from 32% to 40% on average, and up to 65% in the case of young farmers. The measure will enter into force on 1 September.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, pointed out that this support measure aims to provide incentives for taking out insurance, "which is an absolutely fundamental element of risk management for our food farms".

Last year, he said, 722 million euros were paid out as a result of compensation for damage caused to the primary sector by climatic disturbances. In the first half of 2022, the figure was already 514 million euros.

In the European Union, the minister highlighted that only Austria has an agricultural insurance system similar to the Spanish one, in which 400,000 policies insure an area of approximately 6 million hectares and a large number of livestock, covering 100% of production in cases such as the Canary Island banana, 70% in the case of fruit and 7% in the case of olive groves.

Strategic Plan for the CAP in Spain 2023-2027

The minister presented to the Council of Ministers the report on the Strategic Plan for the Common Agricultural Policy in Spain 2023-2027 to the Council of Ministers, following authorisation by the European Commission, a step prior to its formal approval in the next six weeks.

Spain is one of the five countries that have managed to be included in this first package of approved national plans, together with France, Poland, Portugal and Denmark. Its approval will amount to an annual total of 7.2 billion euros: 4,800 for direct aid, 1,800 for rural development and the rest for co-financing.

"This is excellent news because it provides certainty, security and support at such a volatile time," Planas said.

Some of the main features of this Strategic Plan for the CAP in Spain are a redistributive payment involving 10% of the 4.8 billion in aid, the establishment of maximum limits for receiving aid and measures for the modernisation and digitalisation of farms and generational change.

In this respect, Planas stressed that Spain was the first EU member state to introduce a supplementary premium of 15% in the case of the incorporation of female farmers or livestock breeders into the primary sector, in order to achieve gender equality in the rural environment.

The minister praised the work done to approve the document, both in the negotiations in Brussels and in Spain with the coordination between the Ministry and the regional governments: "I am very pleased about this, it shows once again that when we want to, we can, and important political agreements can be reached in our country".

Finally, Planas publicly acknowledged the work of the Ministry's more than 200 civil servants "who are an excellent demonstration of the public servants and public service we have in Spain".

Non official translation