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In Spanish law, the normal procedure for claiming compensation for damage suffered is in criminal proceedings, during which civil as well as criminal liability is analysed. This is why the examining magistrate offers the victim the possibility of civil action so that he can choose whether or not to make a claim in the criminal proceedings or to reserve the right to claim for damages via civil proceedings. If he decides to go ahead with the claim in the criminal proceedings, he may ask the public prosecution service to proceed with civil action on his behalf (which is what usually happens if he does not express a choice) or opt to be represented (by a lawyer and solicitor) for the same purpose.
If he decides to claim damages outside the criminal proceedings, he must therefore initiate a civil action (ordinary or oral proceedings depending on whether the amount of the damages exceeds €3 000) , complying with the rules governing these proceedings.
In cross-border situations, for instance when the offence was committed in a Member State other than the one in which the victim resides, the latter may claim damages under national law from the offender before the criminal court hearing the case.
Victims of any type of crime or offence can claim damages (Article 109 of the Criminal Code) as mentioned above.
At any time in the procedure, but in any case before the start of the oral proceedings, giving the examining magistrate an opportunity to make the claim during the investigation phase, once he has received notification of the existence of the victim.
You may put forward the claim to the judge either personally in the statement you are asked to make when being offered to choose the type of procedure, or in a written document which must be endorsed or drawn up by a lawyer or solicitor. This written document is not essential since if it is not drawn up, the public prosecution service will proceed with the civil action together with the criminal proceedings.
The petition should specify the damage caused – the amount – and should comprise the corresponding invoices or estimates substantiating the claim, which will be subsequently examined by a court expert.
Yes, free legal aid can be obtained at any time once the criminal proceedings have started and provided that you wish to be represented because you consider that it is not enough to leave the civil action in the hands of the public prosecution service.
Please refer to the reply given under 1.4 for the evidence needed in support of a claim. Moreover, if you are applying for free legal aid, you must submit the necessary evidence relating to income and assets.
No, the procedure for the enforcement of the judgment is the general one (which in the case of civil liability arising from a crime is conducted in the same way as for the enforcement of civil judgments even though the judgment was handed down by a criminal judge and is enforced by a criminal court).
Yes, this is specifically regulated in Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995 on aid and assistance for victims of violent crime and sexual offences.
Yes, victims of intentional violent crimes committed in Spain and sexual offences.
Yes, it is stipulated that the above crimes must result in death, serious bodily injury or serious damage to physical or mental health.
Yes, the spouse or person cohabiting with the victims, children who are financially dependent on the victim, and, in the absence of the above, parents who are financially dependent on the victim (Article 2.3 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
It is limited to Spanish citizens, nationals of Member States of the European Union, persons habitually residing in Spain and nationals of foreign countries that have reciprocal agreements with Spain in this respect (Article 2.1 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
If the crime was committed in a country other than Spain, compensation must be claimed in the country in which the corresponding criminal proceedings are being conducted, which is usually the one in which the crime was committed.
Yes, since the complaint forms part of the documentation which must be produced in support of the petition (Article 10.2 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
Yes, there must be a final court decision terminating the criminal proceedings, either a conviction, a default judgment, a stay of proceedings because of the death of the offender, or a dismissal of the proceedings on the grounds envisaged in Articles 641.2 or 637.3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Article 9 of Law 3/95 of 11 December 1995).
The law does not require this.
Yes, by producing the same type of evidence required in the event that the offender has been identified (Article 9 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
Yes, one year from the date on which the crime occurred (Article 7 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
Death, serious bodily injuries and serious damage to physical or mental health (Article 4 of Law 35/19 of 11 December 1995).
The amount of the compensation may not exceed that established in the judgment. This amount will be determined by taking the minimum intersectoral wage and applying certain parameters and percentages as laid down in Article 6 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
Yes, this will be calculated taking into account what is stated in the previous point.
The compensation covered by the said Law is incompatible with any financial compensation which the beneficiary is entitled to under an insurance policy, except where the amount of the compensation under the private insurance policy is lower than that set down in the judgment (Article 5 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
Yes, in cases in which evidence can be provided of the financial difficulties experienced by the victim or, if the latter has died, by the beneficiaries (Article 10 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
When the police or the court receives a statement or complaint from you, they are obliged to inform you of the content of the said Law and the compensation it offers.
Legal assistance is not necessary since a lawyer or solicitor is not required. The claim may be submitted by the victim himself or by a representative.
To the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
There are crime victim support bureaux located at the seats of courts (Article 16 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).
Yes, there is the possibility of making a complaint before civil courts in civil proceedings.
Last update: 23-05-2006