Sat. Oct 19th, 2019

Free Justice Day: what resources does the law offer to those who need a lawsuit but can not pay it? | My rights section

Today, July 12, the Day of Free Justice and the Office of Profession are celebrated. The Spanish judicial system makes available to those who do not have the resources to litigate access to a lawyer and solicitor. At present there are thousands of people assigned to this public service. The Law of Free Justice and the norms that develop it establish the conditions and requirements so that any person who needs it can be advised and represented to defend their rights before the courts and in some cases, before the Administration.

Both the Ministry of Justice and the respective bar associations inform any person who needs it when, how and in what this service consists.

Who has the right

Not only Spanish citizens, but also nationals of the European Union (EU) and foreigners who are in Spain can access legal aid, provided they prove insufficient financial resources. For foreigners, it is not necessary to reside legally in Spain; also the irregular ones will be able to have free lawyer and solicitor to appeal the expulsion, refunds or soliloquies of asylum, and, in his case, go to judgment to defend his rights in such matters.

On the other hand, certain legal persons can access this benefit, such as associations of public utility or foundations that do not have sufficient resources either. But no other. For example, a community of owners or an association of fathers and mothers could not go to the office shift.

The workers, in addition, will always have the right to a lawyer and public prosecutor to defend their labor rights in court. Also the beneficiaries of Social Security when they go to litigate about everything related to the benefits they receive. In these cases, it is not necessary to prove any economic requirement.

Victims of gender-based violence, terrorism or trafficking in human beings will also be provided with immediate legal assistance regardless of whether they have resources or not, as well as victims of accidents with permanent sequelae that prevent them from performing daily tasks and require assistance from others. They will be able to go to trial without paying any expenses to be able to claim the compensations that correspond to them, or the minors or people with psychic disability when they are victims of abuse or mistreatment.

What is the income limit?

Individuals who must prove insufficiency must calculate their annual income, for all concepts and by family unit. The family unit is formed with the non-separated spouses and their children, if any. It can also be composed of the father or the mother and the children.

To make the calculation will take into account the Public Indicator of Multiple Effects Income (IPREM), which is an index used in Spain as a reference for the granting of grants, subsidies or unemployment subsidy. It was born in 2004 to replace the Minimum Interprofessional Salary or SMI and are established in each Budget Law.

These limits can not be exceeded. In the case of a single person not integrated into a family unit, the limit will be 2 times the IPREM in effect at the time of making the request; For example, in 2019 the annual value of the IPREM is fixed at € 6,454.03 if there are 12 payments or € 7,519.59 if there are fourteen payments. If the applicant is integrated into a family unit of less than 4 members, the limit will be two and a half times the IPREM; while in the case of family units with 4 or more members, the limit will be triple that indicator.

Lawyer and attorney free

For the person who has been granted free legal advice and guidance prior to claiming their rights will be free. And also the lawyer and the attorney during the whole judicial procedure. In addition, if it is necessary to insert announcements in the BOE or in other official bulletins during the procedure, you will not have to pay any amount either. The court fees and the payment of deposits to appeal are also exempt for these people and you will not have to pay fees to the expert professionals that can be used during the trial (doctors, architects, psychologists, etc).

All copies that must be requested from notaries during the procedure will not be paid and the fees of notaries and registrars for certain actions will be reduced by 80 percent.

How to request it

The services of legal guidance that are in the bar of lawyers of each locality help the citizens to request the benefit of gratuitous justice, orienting and giving information on each concrete case.

You can also obtain the application form directly from the Ministry of Justice website, attaching the identification and economic documents that are necessary. Who decides if they meet the requirements for the right to free legal assistance will be the bar, who must answer within a maximum period of 15 days. If the required requirements are met, a lawyer and attorney will be assigned if necessary.

But it is possible that the request is denied, so the applicant will be notified that the errors in his case will be corrected, or he will transfer the request to the Commission of Free Legal Aid so that it finally resolves.

Problems with the designated lawyer

In principle the lawyer or attorney who has been appointed can not be changed, but if the beneficiary has lost confidence in his lawyer or has any problem with him, he can direct a communication or complaint to his bar association who will assess the change, depending on the circumstances, or the possibility of opening a disciplinary file to the professional.

What happens if I win the lawsuit and they pay me money?

If the applicant, for any extraordinary circumstance, increases his income or economic resources in a certain amount in such a way that the conditions to be entitled to the right have ceased, he will have to pay the fees of attorney and attorney and the invoices of the experts if said increase of Income occurs within three years after the completion of the judicial process.

In addition, if the applicant wins the lawsuit, he obtains an economic benefit (for example, compensation, or the return of money owed to him and for which he pleaded) and, in addition, the sentence does not order the other party to pay the costs. also pay the fees of your lawyer and attorney, but with a limit, which is a third of the benefit obtained. If the costs exceed that third part, they will be reduced to that percentage.

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