According to Article 119 of the Spanish Constitution, legal aid is a procedure by means of which those who can prove that they lack sufficient economic resources are granted a series of benefits consisting mainly of exemption from the payment of lawyer’s and solicitor’s fees, the costs derived from expert opinions, bonds, court fees, etc.
The right to free legal aid includes, in general terms, the following benefits:
– Free advice and guidance prior to the start of the process in transfer of property ownership in Spain.
– Assistance from a lawyer for the detainee or prisoner.
– Free defence and representation by lawyer and solicitor in legal proceedings.
– Free insertion of notices or edicts, during the course of the proceedings, which must be published in official newspapers.
– Exemption from court fees, as well as from the payment of deposits for the lodging of appeals.
– Free expert assistance under the terms established by law.
– Free copies, testimonies, instruments and notarial acts.
– Reduction of 80% of the corresponding notarial fees for certain notarial acts.
– Reduction of 80% of the corresponding customs duties for certain actions in the property and mercantile registers.
Who can apply for legal advice?
This can be requested by those citizens who, being immersed in any type of legal proceedings or intending to initiate them, do not have sufficient assets to litigate.
The right to free legal aid will be recognised for those natural persons who lack sufficient assets and have gross economic resources and income, calculated annually for all concepts and per family unit, which do not exceed the following thresholds.
– Two times the public income indicator for multiple effects in force at the time of making the application in the case of persons not forming part of a family unit (in 2016 €12,780.26).
– Two and a half times the public multi-purpose income indicator in force at the time the application is made in the case of persons who are members of a family unit with fewer than four members (in 2016, €15,975.33).
– Three times this indicator in the case of family units with four or more members (in 2016 €19,170.39).
They constitute modalities of family unit:
– That made up of the spouses who are not legally separated and, if there are any, the minor children with the exception of those who are emancipated.
– The one formed by the father or mother and the children who meet the requirements referred to in the previous rule.
Specifically, they shall be entitled to free legal aid:
– The spanish citizens, the nationals of other Member States of the European Union and the foreigners residing in Spain, when they can prove insufficient resources to litigate.
– The Management Entities and Common Services of the Social Security.
– The following legal entities, when they can prove insufficient resources to litigate:
- Associations of public utility.
- Foundations registered in the corresponding Administrative Register.
– In the social jurisdictional order: workers and beneficiaries of the Social Security system.
– In the criminal jurisdiction: all citizens, even if they are foreigners, who can prove insufficient resources to litigate, even if they are not legally resident in Spanish territory, will have the right to legal aid and free defence and representation.
– In the contentious-administrative order: foreign citizens who can prove insufficient resources to litigate, even if they do not legally reside in Spanish territory, will have the right to free legal assistance and free defence and representation in all proceedings related to their asylum application and the Law on Foreigners (including prior administrative proceedings).
What are the requirements to be able to apply for legal aid?
Litigation in defence of their own rights and interests or those of others when they are based on legal representation. In this case, the requirements for obtaining the benefit will refer to the represented party.
That they are Associations declared to be of Public Utility or Foundations registered in the corresponding Administrative Register. Or that their taxable base for Corporation Tax is less than the amount equivalent to three times the IPREM on an annual basis.
To apply for legal aid, the interested party must fill in a standard application form, which can be obtained on this website by printing out the annexes of R.D. 1455/2005, for the defence and legal representation of women who are victims of gender violence and R.D. 996/2003 for the application for free legal aid and for the special procedure for rapid prosecution, together with the documentation mentioned therein, which accredits insufficient resources to litigate. The applicant for the right to legal aid must indicate which claims are to be recognised.
The forms are also available at:
- The Legal Guidance Services of the Bar Associations.
- Free Legal Aid Commissions.
- Judicial offices.
- Online application