Suing a Resort for Damages in Spain


The legal system in Spain is different from that of England and Scotland. Their culture is different which will influence some of the rules, laws and procedures. You are likely in for an emotional roller coaster unless you can fully converse with native speaking lawyers who understand the system and can explain matters fully and in accordance with cultural acceptances.

Generally speaking, when issuing a claim in Spain you will require the assistance of a Spanish lawyer. They will require you to present yourself to a ‘Commissioner of Oaths’ confirming your appointed lawyer has retained ‘Power of Attorney’ and speaks on your behalf in Spain with regards to the matters being litigated. Further that POA document will have to contain the Hauge stamp and be given to your lawyers so they can show it to authorities if the need arises.

At this stage you should avoid at all costs marketing companies and claimed ‘Legal Alliances’ as they are often scams. If you want access to a lawyer in Spain you might be best served by instructing a lawyer in the UK who is familiar with the Spanish court rules and its system. At least you will have independent advice regarding an alien legal system.

When your case is being developed, translations are required, and other administration matters must be settled including writing to your intended opponents. If your opponents declare an intent to defend you are away and the net event is first the pre-trail review and them the trial itself.

You will be required to attend trail in the court of first instance. Your attendance is dependent upon the both sides agreeing, if attendance is required however, generally speaking your evidence will (in timeshare matters) be short as matters are generally the application of law and previous authority which have come into existence.

When the legal costs are being ruled upon, the court has every discretion and this is generally a bit different. Costs do not always follow the winning party.

If you have won your case, you can issue enforcement of the judgment if your opponent does not pay the award. As appeal and interlocutory are introduced into legal disputes, they are cheap and costs are fixed low. You will find your case will take many forms, appeals, enforcements, appeals of enforcements, embargo proceedings, etc.  “It's called the run-around”. Some cases have been ongoing for 6 years and are still stuck in the system whereby the consumer has paid a lot of money to lawyers and marketing companies and have still received nothing. THere is not a suggestion here that you don’t pursue for damages, it's just you should know the system, know it's slow and that damages may take considerably more time that you were told.

Surprisingly, you can win your case, be awarded damages and claim them despite the matter being appealed.

The first instant proceeding will take abount 15 months to get to trail and enforcing that judgment might take a further 9 months (being conservative). In comparison, the UK County Courts generally take 12 months in Small Claims (>£10,000) and Fast Track (>£50,000).

Despite the lower court ruling on the issues, many litigants appeal to the High Court including the Supreme Court, as to do so delays the final event and the appeal is generally very cheap in Spain.