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Civil Law in Spain

Civil Law in Spain

The Spanish civil legislation is established under a set of rules of laws and codes, which are applicable at the level of the country’s territory; differences can appear in the legal provisions of the civil legislation when referring to the country’s autonomous regions.

The Spanish civil law is a collection of laws addressing issues related to the the rights and obligations of a person, family laws, the personal assets, the contractual relations and the extra contractual civil responsibility. Detailed information about the legal provisions of the civil law can be offered to you by our lawyers in Spain.

Provisions of the civil law in Spain

The Spanish civil legislation is prescribed under the Spanish Civil Code, a rule of law that was established under the Royal Decree of 24th of July, 1889. It defines the main legal regulations, the manner in which such laws are applied and other relevant legal aspects.  

The Spanish civil legislation is related to the country’s private law and to the provisions of the international private law, but it is also connected with the legislation on employment and social matters. The civil legislation regulates the relations between other branches of law and the competency of a branch in relation with another one. The main legal provisions of the civil law in Spain address the following aspects:

  • •    persons – the legal definition of a Spanish citizen, the statute of foreigners, the civil personality and the distinction between natural persons and legal entities, such as Spanish companies and businesses;
  • •    domicile and marriage – the requirements for concluding a marriage in Spain, the rights and duties of the spouses, the nullity of marriage, its dissolution, the legal effects of separation and divorce;
  • •   the paternity and filiations, the support between relatives –   parent – child relations, the parental authority, the legal representation of children;
  • •    the legal age and emancipation and the aspects of incapacitation – issues related to guardianship, the judicial defender, the legal custody and the provisions of the power of attorney;
  • •   property, ownership, joint ownership and possession – the classification of property, the right of accession, the special properties and the acquisition and effects of possession and the property registry;
  • •    contracts and partnerships – the general provisions of Spanish contracts, their validity, effectiveness and nullity, the obligations of partners and the legal obligations within a contract.

Our law firm in Spain can provide you with a wide range of legal services and representation on any matter related to the civil law. Local and foreign persons can request legal assistance on any matters included in the civil legislation, as our lawyers have the necessary expertise in a wide range of branches prescribed by the Spanish civil law

What is a legal entity in Spain? 

The Spanish Civil Code also describes the legal meaning of a business form in Spain. The definition is prescribed by the Article 35 of the Code, and it mentions that a legal entity can be a corporation, a foundation or association which are incorporated in Spain following the applicable legislation on the matter. 

Such entities can be of private or of public interest and their legal capacity is established under the statutory documents required for each legal entity (the articles of association in the case of a limited liability company or the partnership agreement, in the case of partnerships or associations). 

What should a foreigner know when purchasing a property in Spain? 

Foreigners are allowed to purchase properties in Spain and numerous investors also prefer this option when investing on the Spanish market. As we mentioned above, the Spanish Civil Code applies in the case or properties in Spain, and it covers areas related to contracts signed for local real estate properties, it provides the legal framework applicable in the case of leases and other similar matters. 

At the same time, the Spanish Civil Code also prescribes the legal procedure through which properties under construction can be sold on the local market. If any local or foreign person is interested in purchasing a property that is under construction, it is necessary to know that the sale contract will be signed prior to the completion of the respective property. 

The Spanish Civil Code stipulates that this type of sale is legal and it defines a property under construction as the sale of a future good. Thus, when signing this type of contract, it is necessary to clearly define the terms of the agreement and what is the definition of the final good that will be delivered to the purchaser at a given deadline. The Article 1445 of the Civil Code mentions that it is compulsory to define the future good in order for the contract to be recognized. 

Following the provisions of this section of the Civil Code, the buyer will become the owner of the property once the agreement is signed, which also means that he or she is the same person that will hold the risks associated with purchasing that property. However, in practice, there is a trend of transferring the ownership rights once the property is finalized. Our team of Spanish lawyers can provide further legal assistance regarding the regulations available for local properties.   

What are the main characteristics of a contract in Spain? 

The Spanish Civil Code also provides a clear image on the characteristics of a contract, regardless if it is signed for commercial purposes or for other types of purposes. In order for a document to be considered a contract, it needs to have certain compulsory parts – the consent of the parties, the object of the agreement and the obligations deriving from the respective agreement. 

The consent in a Spanish contract can only be offered by persons who respect the legal requirements stipulated by the Civil Code and thus, underaged persons (non-emancipated minors) and incapacitated persons are not allowed to be part of a contract. Also, these two categories of persons are forbidden to sign a will in Spain (in the case of children with an age below 14 years).

Regarding the persons who do not have legal capacity, the regulation is available for persons who, as a general rule, lacked capacity, or in the case of those who suffered any type of accident that led to the event of losing the mental capacity. 

Regarding wills, it is also important to know that the Spanish Civil Code stipulates, under the Section 2a, that this type of document can be drafted and signed by a single person, two or more persons can’t jointly participate in drawing the same document, regardless of the conditions, as the testament is seen as personal matter; this is applicable no matter what type of will a person completed.   

The history of the civil law in Spain 

The legal system in Spain is a civil law one and the main sources of law are the following: the law, custom and general principles of law. If you need more details about the Civil Code in Spain, you may refer to our lawyers in Spain. This type of legal system is very common all over the world and it is also known as the European continental law. The civil law has major elements from the Roman Body of Civil Law since A.D. 565.

The civil law is applied on the entire territory of Spain, but there are autonomous communities that have their own civil law system that is applied on certain legal issues. When a local or a foreign investor has a legal matter and he/she doesn’t know what civil law must be applied, he/she may contact a law firm in SpainOur attorneys in Spain will explain to him/her the rules that must be respected and will provide legal assistance for any litigation in this country.

The civil law has an important tradition in Europe and it was adopted also by countries in other regions, such as Japan and Russia, that wanted to be as successful as the countries in Europe in terms of economic and political power. The countries that applied the Civil Law system use to change the laws frequently and update them and you have to review quite often the rules in order to have an updated version of them.

If you need legal assistance for your business in Spain, you may contact one of our Spanish attorneys who will represent you in front of court of justice in this country. Our law firm in Spain can also provide legal representation to matters related to the family legislation or to inheritance rules. 

We invite you to address to our team of lawyers in Barcelona if you want to know more on how you can be legally represented under civil law matters

Civil law mainly deals with matters concerning the rights of individuals as citizens or residents of this country, how these rights can be obtained by foreigners and how they can be annulled. For any of these, our lawyers can offer legal representation.  

Our law firm can provide legal representation in front of the Spanish courts on any litigation case concerning the rights of an individual. If you live in Madrid or you plan to relocate to this city, you can refer to our lawyers in Madrid for in-depth legal assistance. 

As mentioned above, civil law also covers matters concerning property and who has the right to own property in this country (and the types of properties to be owned).  

Regarding the latter, please know that foreigners can acquire property in Spain without any legal impediments. They will, however, need to comply with prior immigration procedures – obtaining a residence permit, a visa, etc., depending on the country or origin. 

Our property lawyers in Spain can provide legal information on the steps to acquiring real estate for residential or commercial purposes.