The vagaries of the Spanish Legal system mean that process service of English legal documents is expensive and cost-prohibitive. Consequently, it is often cheaper, if the documents are sourced in a UK court, for one of our process servers to travel from England to effect service personally
The Spanish system is slow and expensive, with legal costs that make the exercise impractical
PRACTICE DIRECTION 6B – SERVICE OUT OF THE JURISDICTION
The claimant may serve a claim form out of the jurisdiction with the permission of the court under rule 6.36 where –
A claim is made for a remedy against a person domiciled within the jurisdiction
A claim is made for an injunction(GL) ordering the defendant to do or refrain from doing an act within the jurisdiction
A claim is made against a person (‘the defendant’) on whom the claim form has been or will be served (otherwise than in reliance on this paragraph) and –
there is between the claimant and the defendant a real issue which it is reasonable for the court to try; and
the claimant wishes to serve the claim form on another person who is a necessary or proper party to that claim
A claim is an additional claim under Part 20 and the person to be served is a necessary or proper party to the claim or additional claim
Notes on Process Service in Spain (if served by Spanish jurisdiction):
Once the claim has been admitted, as a general rule the court is responsible for serving it to the defendant. The court will also inform the defendant of the time limit it has to answer the claim. In order to facilitate this task it is the claimant’s duty to inform the court in good faith of the place where the defendant can be served.
However, as a consequence of a recent legislative amendment, the service of the claim can also be done through the plaintiff’s court agent, which may be quicker. This mechanism will be put in place only upon the request of the party, which will then bear the associated costs.
If the defendant in a civil action brought before the Spanish courts is not domiciled in Spain the Spanish court will serve the claim abroad, by following the procedure set out in
(i) Regulation EC 1393/2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (the “EU Service Regulation”), when the claim is to be served in a EU-member state; or
(ii) the Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (the “Hague Service Convention”), if the claim is to be served outside the European Union.
Both the EU Service Regulation and the Hague Service Convention apply to civil and commercial matters. The former expressly excludes application revenue, customs, administrative matters or state liability for actions or omissions in the exercise of state authority (acta iure imperii) from its scope. Additionally, they both require that the domicile of the person to be served is known.
Under the EU Service Regulation, documents shall be transmitted directly by the transmitting agency – in Spain, the court’s secretary (secretario judicial) – to the receiving agency by any appropriate means, provided that the content of the document forwarded is true and faithful and that all the information contained is legible. Furthermore, under the EU Service Regulation a central body is to be created in each country in order to provide information to the agencies and seek solutions in the event any problem arises within the procedure (in Spain, it is the International Legal Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Justice, Subdirección General de Cooperación Jurídica Internacional del Ministerio de Justicia).
Under the Hague Service Convention, requests and documents shall be sent to the Central Authority of the state addressed (in Spain, the International Legal Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Justice, Subdirección General de Cooperación Jurídica Internacional del Ministerio de Justicia).
Both pieces of legislation state that documents must be transmitted along with a request, and they are exempted from legalisation or any equivalent formality. The appropriate agency shall itself serve the document or have it served
(i) in accordance with the law of the state addressed, or
(ii) by the particular method requested by the applicant, provided that it complies with the law of the state addressed
We have conducted physical surveillance of UK Nationals in the Canary Islands, Ibiza and Majorca as well as the Spanish mainland. One is grateful for car airconditioning, especially when observation is protracted
Kyle Thain and James Harris were arrested in Spain and charged with attempted murder. Held in custody without charge, potentially for up to four years, repeated bail applications were refused and they were left in Fontcalent prison