Spanish Debt Collection Explained

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With many countries recovering and if not flourishing after an economic crisis, Spain, a country which despite the severe conditions imposed by the crisis is now once more one of the thriving economies in Europe and the European Union. Despite that, there are cases in which debt collection is still necessary, as the discrepancy between the rich and the poor is still high.

However, in Spain the government in collaboration with various authorities have made it possible for the country to have a balanced debt collection process which protects both the creditor and the indebted.

Conditions to recover a debt in Spain

The current Spanish Code of Civil Procedure concerns debt collection proceedings in Spain.

It describes the accelerated procedure through which the payment of a due and payable specified sum is claimed. The proceedings must be supported by the correct documents, such as invoices, delivery notes or any other documentary evidence which demonstrates the commercial relationship between the creditor and debtor and above all, the existence of the debt.

There are no special conditions when the damaged party decides to ask for a debt to be recovered, as the law does not impose a minimum amount of time to be waited before starting one of the two procedures: the amicable or the legal one. With respect to the minimum amount which can be recovered, it usually starts at 2,000 euros, but in the case of employment-related debts the amount starts at 6,000 euros.

Procedures for debt collection in Spain

There are two ways of commencing a debt recovery process: amicably or directly in the court of law. In the case of amicable procedures, these can be handled by the creditor himself or by a third party with experience in this field, such as a Spanish law firm.

In the case of judiciary proceedings, the application must be filed directly with a First Instance Court in the defendant’s area of residence.

In both cases, the claim must be supported by:

  • invoices;
  • documents which prove the existence of a commercial relation between the parties;
  • any other evidence showing the request of the petitioner for repayment of the debt.

Once submitted, if the documentation is valid and constitutes a prima facie case, the claim will be admitted to proceedings and the Court clerk will require the debtor to pay the petitioner (through the court) within 20 days or present a notice of opposition, which succinctly lays out the reasons why the claim should not be admitted in total or in part.

These 20 days starts to run once the claim has been served on the debtor in accordance with the terms

The debt collection process has been simplified in order to maintain the right of the client to any outstanding amount of money, but also to offer the defendant sufficient time to become aware of the debt and reach an agreement, especially when the procedure is handled by a Spanish court. The documentation submission process has also been streamlined; therefore recovering a debt in Spain nowadays has become simpler for both the creditor and the debtor.



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