Appointment of Regional Judges

21 September 2010

Advances in the professionalization of Justice. The General Council of the Spanish Judiciary sets the appointment of regional judges in motion.

There are 4,528 judges in Spain which, as any legal player knows, are not enough. The average is 10.1 judges per 100,000 residents, whereas the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice recommends 19.8.

Parliament has nevertheless been progressively increasing judicial staff and at the same time been counting on, as is the case in other countries, so-called provisional justice through the person of the substitute judge. Said judge is one who holds a law degree and has been selected by the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary although they have not passed the civil servant exam for a judicial career.

There are currently 1400 substitute judges acting in Spain. Their work has at times been criticized as their training obviously is not that of a career judge. To that end Parliament has reformed the Organic Law of Judicial Power, LO 1/2009 of November 3, and in article 347 bis thereof has created regionally appointed judges. This category of judges is composed of career judges, who based on need, will be called to substitute or support judges in other districts.

The creation of the regionally appointed Judge is a sign of Parliament’s decision to provide citizens with the most professionalized judgeship possible and means the disappearance or at least a significant reduction in the number of substitute judges.

We hope that this new category of judge results in an increase in the quality of justice. Unfortunately we will only see the results over the long term since, although this legal reform is dated November 2009, it was only on August 17, 2010 that the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary announced the first 40 posts for regionally appointed Judges.

For further information, please contact César García de Quevedo: