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Legal System in Spain

The Spanish Legal system has been created within a complex and political framework. The civil law is the integral part of Spanish legal system. All legal sources are supervised and regulated by the Civil Code. The Spanish legal System is in many ways different from the British Legal System. The Spanish Legal System is a hierarchical one. So laws prevailing in the lower level of jurisdiction cannot conflict those of a higher jurisdiction. The Supreme Court is the highest level of justice in the Spanish Legal System. Below it, there is a hierarchy of courts like National Court, Regional High Courts, provincial audience and finally the Tribunals.

In the structure of the Spanish Legal System, there is no nanny state. There is no law in existence that will protect you from yourself. You hold sole responsibility for all your actions. The general opinion prevails that the Spanish Legal System is a slow one. The courts are struggling with thousands of pending cases. Hence you are advised to be very cautious while starting any new venture in Spain and ensure that all legal formalities are met with perfection. The significant characteristics of the Spanish Legal System are co-existence of regional and national civil law, the territorial and political division of the State into Autonomous communities and the relationship between central state legislation and autonomous legislation.

The Spanish Legal System is moderately favorable to the consumer and offers him protection against any off-plan bankruptcy by the developer like during the construction of the property. However, it is advisable to seek proper legal advice before venturing out on a property purchase mission. The Spanish Legal System has been undergoing frequent changes both in the civil and criminal code. These modifications are being made with a view to broaden the arena of protection for victims of violence of any kind. Measures have also been taken to improve the effectiveness of preventive measures. The civil procedures have been simplified to ensure that litigation can be streamlined.

While starting any new venture in Spain and while talking of Spanish Legal Systems, we cannot undermine the importance of Banks and Mortgages in Spain. The banking system is a well established one in Spain. In recent days, the banks in Spain have undergone many changes leading to an era of modernization. You find many banks in the country. The entire banking activity is subjected to a rigorous system of supervision by the Bank of Spain.

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Basically banks in Spain can be classified into clearing banks and savings banks. Earlier there were many players in this industry. However, as a result of mergers happening all over the world, this has considerably shrunk. In today’s Spain, you can find 2 major banks. They are the BBCH and The BBVA. There are other important banks too like Banco de Andalucia, Banco Atlantica and Banco Zaragozano.

Apart from the local banks, a number of foreign banks have also become an important part of the Spanish banking system. British banking is represented by Barclays, Bank of Scotland and Solbank while the American representation is taken care of by Citibank and Chase Manhattan.

Internet banking has evolved in a big manner in Spain - all the major banks of Spain today offer internet banking facilities. We can also find some internet-only banks like ING, Patagon and EvolveBank. Both residents and non-residents can open an account with the banks in Spain.

Talking about the banks in Spain, we must not forget the fact that the mortgage industry has developed in a significant manner in recent years. There are over 200 banks that offer mortgage facilities to their customers. Mortgages in Spain are extended by the banks to some non-customers also. In fact, it is widely believed that Spanish mortgage providers target non-resident property buyers as a lucrative group. Residents are allowed to theoretically borrow up to approximately 90% of their property value. Non-residents can borrow only up to 50%. Not all banks in Spain offer mortgage facilities to non-residents. Both residents and non-residents are allowed to take out a mortgage even on a state-subsidized housing. However, there may be a slight alteration on rules depending on the status of residency.

Mortgages in Spain are available through a number of financial and non-financial institutions. You have many advantages as well as disadvantages of taking up mortgages in Spain rather than UK. The set up costs turn out to be high in Spain. However, the borrower enjoys the advantages of lower interest rates and very flexible lending pre-requisites. One must remember that when seeking an overseas mortgage, the borrower has to declare full details and the assessment will be made on the basis of his affordability to repay and not just on his income levels. Mortgages are available up to 25 years although the most common are 10-15 year mortgages.

The Spanish financial system is coping up to meet the standards of the best financial systems of the world. The system is constantly working to meet the challenges of monetary and financial stability in the world economy.

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