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Frequently Asked Questions about Legal Aid
- All Spanish citizens, nationals of the Member States of the European Union and foreigners residing in Spain can request Legal Aid, when they show insufficient resources to litigate.
- The Managing Entities and Common Services of Social Security can also request Legal Aid, in any case.
- Associations of public utility provided for in article 32 of Organic Law 1/2002 of March 22, Regulating the Right of Association and Foundations registered in the corresponding administrative Registry, that lack the resources to litigate.
- In the criminal, contentious-administrative and prior administrative jurisdictional order, foreign citizens who prove insufficient resources to litigate, for procedures that may lead to the denial of their entry into Spain, their return or their expulsion from Spanish territory, and this even when they do not legally reside in Spain.
- Regardless of the existence of resources to litigate, the right to free legal assistance is recognized for victims of gender, terrorism and human trafficking, as well as minors and people with mental disabilities when they are victims of situations of abuse or mistreatment, also assisting the right to the successors in the event of the death of the victims, provided that they were not the aggressors.
- Likewise, regardless of the existence of resources to litigate, the right to free legal assistance is recognized for those who, due to an accident, prove permanent consequences that totally prevent them from exercising their usual work or professional occupation and require other people, and this when the subject of the litigation is the claim for compensation for the damages suffered
- In the social jurisdictional order, for the defense in court, the workers and beneficiaries of the Social Security system, without the need to prove insufficient resources.
In the civil, commercial, contentious jurisdictional order to request Legal Aid, whether the applicant wants to file a lawsuit, or if he has been sued, he must go to the Legal Guidance Service (SOJ) of the Bar Association corresponding, where you will request an appointment to meet with the consultant who will be the lawyer who will guide you initially, completing the request and indicating the documentation that you must provide to the processor, which is the lawyer who reviews the documentation provided by the applicant and who solves in the provisional the granting or not of Legal Aid.
In the criminal jurisdictional order, it will be the lawyer who has assisted the citizen who will fill out the request for legal aid that must be signed by the applicant. The lawyer must indicate to the applicant the necessary documentation that he must provide to the Law Bar .
If the applicant has been sued, after having appeared in the SOJ and having requested legal aid, they must appear in the corresponding Court to request the suspension of the procedure until the recognition or denial of the right to legal aid, or the provisional appointment is resolved. lawyer and solicitor if their intervention is mandatory.
In the social jurisdictional order, the workers and beneficiaries of the Social Security system, not having to prove their economic situation, will only go to the SOJ to complete the application, without the need to provide any documentation.
Women who have suffered mistreatment and wish to exercise the private accusation by having the right to legal aid recognized, regardless of their economic situation, should only go to the SOJ to complete the request and submit the corresponding complaint or complaint.
Free legal assistance may also be requested before the Court of the applicant's domicile. In that case, the court will transfer the petition to the SOJ of the Law Bar that is territorially competent.
Yes. Provided that they prove insufficient resources to litigate, and this even if they do not legally reside in national territory for the procedures that may lead to the denial of their entry into Spain, their return or their expulsion from Spanish territory.
When the applicant wishes to take legal action or when he has been sued.
As a general rule, once the claim has already been filed or answered, the right to free legal assistance may not be recognized unless the circumstances and conditions necessary for its granting had occurred after the claim or answer.
When the applicant seeks recognition of the right to free legal assistance in the second instance (appeal) without having requested it in the first instance, he must prove that the circumstances and conditions necessary for its granting occurred during the first instance process or after she. However, and in accordance with the Judgment of TC 90/2015, of May 11, the recognition of the benefit of legal aid for the second instance may be requested, although it had not been initially requested, if the petitioner meets the general requirements for his obtaining.
The same rule will be applicable when free legal assistance is requested to file or follow the cassation appeal regarding the second instance.
The applicant for legal aid can request all or any of the following benefits, which are those established in article 6 of Law 1/1996 of January 10 on free legal assistance:
- Advice and prior guidance
- Defense and representation of lawyer and attorney
- Payment of deposits and fees for filing appeals
- 80% reduction in fees for public deeds and obtaining copies and testimonies
- 80% reduction in customs duties corresponding to obtaining notes, certifications, annotations and entries and registrations in the Property and Commercial Registry.
- Expert assistance in the process.
Yes, with the exception of the customs duties that correspond for the granting of public deeds and for obtaining copies and notarial testimonies, in which case 20% of the total amount must be paid, as well as for the customs duties that correspond to obtaining notes, certifications, annotations, entries and inscriptions in the Property and Commercial Registries.
These customs duties should not be paid by the applicant when he or she proves income below the iprem.
The holder of the right to free legal assistance will only be obliged to pay the attorney and attorney fees, if their intervention is mandatory, as well as the expert opinions carried out by private technicians if within the three years following the termination of the process they come to a better fortune .
If the holder of the right to free legal assistance is the winner of the lawsuit obtaining financial benefits and the judgment does not contain an express pronouncement on costs, he must pay the costs incurred in his defense, without ever exceeding a third of the benefit obtained. If the costs exceed that third part, these will be reduced to that percentage.
Regardless of the existence of resources to litigate, either because the husband earns a lot of money or the woman who suffers abuse earns more than what is legally established for the granting of legal aid, the right to the same is recognized for victims of violence of gender in all processes that are linked to, derive from or are a consequence of their condition as victims.
The condition of victim will be acquired when a complaint or complaint is formulated or a criminal procedure is initiated, remaining as long as the criminal procedure remains in force or when after its completion, a conviction has been issued.
The abused woman will lose the right to free legal assistance if the criminal case is filed or an acquittal is issued, and from that moment unless she meets the financial requirements, that is, without taking into account the economic situation of the husband, since there are interests opposed between them.
Only legal entities that are associations declared of public utility, provided for in article 32 of Organic Law 1/2002 of March 22, which regulates associations, can request free legal assistance.
The Legal Guidance Services (SOJ) dependent on the Bar Associations are in charge of previously guiding applicants for free legal assistance, as well as informing about compliance with the necessary requirements for the recognition of said right.
The lawyers attached to the SOJ are also in charge of filling in the application forms, of indicating to the applicants the necessary documentation to provide along with the application form and those who, in view of the application and documentation, provisionally resolve the granting or not of free legal assistance.
Not all the documents listed below are necessary in all cases, but each case will have to be addressed, depending on the applicant's place of residence and the circumstances that he / she has alleged in his / her application, which will be those that must be proven. documentary. In any case, an indicative list of what documentation may need to be provided is provided below:
Photocopy of the applicant's DNI, passport or residence card.
Income tax settlement certificate or certificate of not having presented the documentation (of the entire family unit, in the case of not being obliged
Cadastral certificate of real estate
Simple Note of Property registration if charges are alleged on the property
Social Security registration and cancellation certificates
Company certificate proving gross annual income
Certificate of settlement of Corporation Tax (in the case of legal persons).
Photocopy of the declaration of public utility or of the registration in the Registry of Foundations (in the case of legal persons).
Certificate of external signs from the City Council where the address is located.
Certificate of registration.
INEM certificate of period of unemployment and receipt of subsidies.
Certificate of collection of public pensions
Certificate from the State Public Employment Service (SPEE) stating the receipt of unemployment assistance and the period to which it extends
Others (any document that serves to prove the alleged data).
However, in order to expedite the application process, the Bar Associations may, in the event that they are expressly authorized, request several of these certificates on behalf of the defendants. The Electronic File of Legal Aid makes it possible to speed up procedures and avoid displacements for citizens.
The requests authorized by the citizen and processed through the Free Electronic Justice File provide transparency in the management, minimize errors in the administrative file, reduce the economic cost and the processing times of up to 40 days.
The system developed by the Technological Infrastructure of the Abogacía Española, RedAbogacía, now connects 70 Bar Associations electronically and easily with organizations such as the Tax Agency, the National Social Security Institute and its General Treasury, the General Directorate of Cadastre, or the National Employment Institute, among others. With this electronic system, the citizen will avoid traveling and waiting at the windows of each of the competent Administration bodies.
The lawyer assigned to the Duty Shift must have at least three years in the effective exercise of the profession, be in possession of the diploma of the Bar of Legal Practice course or equivalent courses approved by the Bar Association, or have passed the courses or evidence of access to the services of the Office of the Court and legal assistance to the detainee established by the Governing Board of the Bar Association.
Likewise, the lawyer must have passed the approved specialization courses, in those cases in which they are necessary in accordance with the regulations applicable at all times and in order to the specialty of the cases.
No. Just as the lawyer cannot excuse himself from assuming the designated defense.
There is only one case in which the lawyer can excuse himself from exercising the defense that has been assigned to him, and it is in the criminal order and only when there is a personal and just reason, a reason that must be appreciated by the Deans of the Bar Associations.
You must go to the Legal Aid Assistance Commission of your city, a body dependent on the state or regional Administration, so that it requires the Bar Association to provisionally designate a public defender.
If you have any problem with the appointed ex officio lawyer, you should go to the Bar Association where you were appointed, and file, if you deem it appropriate, a complaint explaining what happened, since the Bar Associations are also competent to exercise the disciplinary faculty.
The request for a change of lawyer due to loss of trust must be carried out by the beneficiary of legal aid before the professional association that had made the appointment. The Association will transfer the request to the lawyer whose replacement is interested within a period of five days, then resolving in a reasoned manner within a period of fifteen days.
Said resolution must be notified to the interested parties and to the Legal Aid Assistance Commission, who may, if applicable, deny the request for a change of lawyer.
The resolution that denies the change of lawyer may be subject to challenge by the beneficiary of legal aid.
The lawyer can claim his minute, when the beneficiary of legal aid has won the trial, obtaining an economic benefit and has not made an express pronouncement on costs in the sentence.
The lawyer may also claim his minutes when the Legal Aid Commission dismisses the petitioner's claim and there has been a provisional appointment of a lawyer, then said provisional designation without effect, and the lawyer may claim the fees caused by the intervention carried out until the final dismissal of the resolution.
Yes. If when the applicant goes to the SOJ to deliver the documentation requested by the consultant and the SOJ processor finds that any document is missing, it will indicate to the applicant the exact document that is missing, granting a maximum period of ten days to contribute it. If the applicant does not provide the required documentation, the file will be archived, and therefore the request for free legal assistance will be void.
No. Free legal assistance will have effect until the end of the process in the judicial instance in question (first instance and appeal), and where appropriate also in the execution of the sentences, if this occurs within the following two years to the judicial resolution issued in the instance.
Yes. The Legal Aid Commission may exceptionally grant, by means of a reasoned resolution, the recognition of the right to free legal assistance to those persons whose resources and income, even exceeding the legally established limits, do not exceed five times the public income indicator for purposes multiple (Iprem), and in any case when the applicant holds the status of ascendant of a large family of special category, taking into account the lack of sufficient assets.
Likewise, the Legal Aid Commission may exceptionally and by means of a reasoned resolution grant the recognition of the right to free legal assistance, taking into account the health circumstances of the applicant and the persons with disabilities indicated in the ar. 1.2 Law 51/2003 of December 2, (those people who suffer from long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory deficiencies and who have a recognized degree of disability equal to or greater than 33%, equating that percentage to people who have a recognized pension for permanent disability in a degree of total, absolute or great disability and to pensioners of passive classes who have a recognized retirement or retirement pension due to permanent disability for service or uselessness) as well as to the people who are in their charge when act in a process in your name and interest and whenever it involves procedures that are related to health and your disability.
The Legal Aid Commission
Access to Justice is a basic right recognized both in the Universal Declaration of Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights. It is a constitutional right that includes free legal assistance for those who lack sufficient resources to litigate and affects other fundamental rights such as equality, legal assistance to the detainee, defense and effective judicial protection. It is a public service financed with equally public funds, whose management is legally entrusted to the Lawyers' Office exclusively, with respect to legal defense and to the Attorney General's Office, for the representation of the citizen.
Know the functions, members, projects of the Legal Aid Assistance Commission of the Consejo General de la Abogacía Española.