Yes, the oral proceedings for claims up to €3 000.
In which cases is it applicable?
For claims not exceeding €3 000.
Oral proceedings are applicable to claims not exceeding €3 000. They are also applicable to other types of litigation because of the nature of the subject being decided, for instance the repossession of rented property because of non-payment of rent, expiry of the rental period, repossession of property where the lease is continued at sufferance, claims for maintenance, etc.
Is the procedure obligatory or optional?
This is the procedure which must be used for this type of small claims, although in some cases the order for payment procedure may be used.
Can the parties transfer a small claims case from the small claims procedure to the ordinary procedure?
An application may be submitted by means of a standardised form if the claim is for less than €900. These forms can be obtained at Courts of First Instance. The form is used only for the application document, however use is optional. It can be downloaded from the website of the General Council of the Judiciary (Consejo General del Poder Judicial ).
If the amount of the claim does not exceed €900, legal representation is not compulsory. If the claim does exceed this amount, legal representation is compulsory.
The general rules are applicable to the taking of evidence, except in the case of repossession of rented property because of failure to pay, for which a limitation applies as regards the means of evidence.
The procedure is oral. The only written document is the application. Arguments pertaining both to the procedure and to the merits are put forward orally, with procedural issues being solved there and then. The party who does not agree formulates an objection and is entitled to reiterate this in the court of second instance. By the same token, evidence is put forward and taken orally during the hearing in a concentrated manner, concluding with submissions by the parties (the existence of these submissions is currently being debated).
The judgment is equal in formal terms to that handed down in the ordinary procedure, although in some cases the judgment cannot have the effect of a final court decision (res judicata), namely summary procedures in which the possibilities of pleading are limited to specific points, leaving the question open in order for it to be debated at the corresponding hearing, for which reason it cannot be discussed (for instance procedures for the repossession of property by the owner due to non-payment of rent or a demand for summary protection of tenure).
If legal representation is compulsory, and there is an order to pay costs, the party who obtains the order in his favour may ask for payment of legal costs, once they are assessed, with a limitation of one-third of the amount of the costs, except where the judge has declared the position of the party ordered to pay the costs as frivolous or vexatious, in which case this limitation does not apply (this is rare). This limitation applies to the procedural costs, in other words to those incurred up to the granting of the judgment. It does not apply to enforcement costs.
The judgment may be appealed within five days of notification. Preparation and carrying out of the requisite steps of the appeal do not differ substantially from the general rules. For instance, the intention to appeal is announced in writing in a preparatory document submitted to the same body which issued the judgment to be appealed within five working days from the notification of the judgment. If there are various appellants, the periods are calculated individually. In this document, the intention to appeal against the decision regarded as prejudicial must be stated. The judge then checks that the deadline has been respected and that the decision can be appealed. If so, the appellant is notified that he can submit an application to lodge the appeal within the next twenty days. In this application he must set down, with justification, the reasons of form and substance he considers to be infringed by the judgment. This application is then forwarded to the other parties who, within ten days, must submit a document opposing the appeal or challenging a particular point in the judgment which they consider to be prejudicial to them. In both cases, the document must contain reasons and grounds. Once these pleadings have been submitted, the proceedings will be transferred to a higher court, with the parties being summonsed to appear before it.
In proceedings entailing eviction, it is necessary, if the appeal is to be admitted, that the defendant can establish that he has paid the rent owed and the amounts he owes by virtue of the lease.
In proceedings in which compensation for damages arising from a road traffic accident is being claimed, the party ordered to pay damages must establish that he has deposited the amount of the order plus the interest and charges legally owed.
In proceedings aimed at obtaining an order for a property owner to pay claims to an association of owners, the party ordered to pay must establish that he has paid or deposited the amount referred to in the judgment to be appealed.
Last update: 16-06-2006