The Spanish legal system may differ so much from that of your home country and, to avoid misunderstandings, disappointments and possible fraud, it is essential to seek expert professional advice from the very beginning.
Whether you are living in Spain or not, if you intend to make any relevant transaction (starting a business, purchasing a property, making a Spanish will, getting a work permit etc;) in Spain, it is strongly advisable to contract the services of a Spanish Lawyer (Abogado). He may avoid you complicated and time-wasting “red tape” of any kind. He may act under a power of attorney (poder) on your behalf while you are outside Spain, this is very helpful if you are unable to be in Spain on some specific dates.
Your Spanish Lawyer may also act as your Fiscal Representative in Spain. The Spanish Law requires in some cases that non-resident foreigners who perceive income from Spain to appoint a fiscal representative. This is well-worth seeking the assistance of a Spanish Lawyer, who will handle your tax liability and enables the Spanish tax authorities to contact you while you are away.
If you do not have sufficient means to contract a private lawyer, remember that you may access to legal defense in Spain without costs. For that purpose, you should show your income declarations and the properties you own. The applications for free legal aid shall be submitted to the Spanish Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados), which Commission will review your application.
The Spanish lawyer shall be joined the Spanish Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados) from the place where he performs his professional activity.
According to the Lawyers’ professional rules, your lawyer shall maintain the professional secrecy:
He shall maintain all secret and confidential information properly safeguarded. This duty remains even after your lawyer’s services have been finished, except where reliably authorized by the party concerned, or in the case that a serious damage for the lawyer and for a third person will be avoided by revealing the secret.
The Lawyer is liable for those misdemeanors or crimes he committed while performing his professional activity, he is also liable for the damages caused for failure to perform the services for which he was instructed.
You may complain before the Spanish Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados) of any province in Spain, it is advisable to be helped by another different lawyer.
The fees of a Spanish Lawyer depend on the rules provided by the Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados) and the circumstances of your particular case: the amount of work involved, the value of the dispute and the type of proceeding (in case that court proceedings are involved);
The rules above mentioned are approximate fees for legal services, these must be considered as minimum rates which the lawyer should not undercut, however you may negotiate the higher fees in advance.
The “Quota litis” pact is forbidden in Spain, no lawyer may agree with his client to perceive a portion of the sum obtained from the dispute.
Your lawyer may ask you a money deposit before handling with your matter, should you fail to pay the advanced payments, the lawyer may reject from giving you legal help.
Spanish courts procedures in excess of a certain value, normally require the presence of representatives of the parties at the court (Procurador), besides the lawyer. These representatives have a power of attorney to represent the parties at court.
The action against the offender may be prosecuted by the Public Prosecutor (Ministerio Fiscal), who has the mission of promoting the action of justice in defense of legality, the rights of citizens and the public interest guarded by the Spanish law, ex officio or on petition by the interested parties.
He must watch over the independence of the Courts and to procure before them the protection of social interest.
The intervention of the Public Prosecutor is only required in certain specific cases, e.g. in the Criminal abreviated procedure (Procedimiento Penal Abreviado).