We consider it important for our clients to know that there are various cases in the civil and commercial sphere, regulated in the Civil Procedure Act (hereinafter LEC) and in the Voluntary Jurisdiction Act (hereinafter LJV), in which they can personally go to the Courts and Tribunals without the need for the legal services of a lawyer and solicitor. This is especially important for those cases in which the small amounts claimed mean that it is not profitable to hire the services of legal professionals to be able to claim for them, since, as is colloquially said, “the collar is more expensive than the dog”.
On the one hand, art. 23 of the LEC establishes the compulsory appearance in court by means of a solicitor, with the exception of a series of cases:
Appearance in court shall be by means of a solicitor, who must be Licensed to practice Law, a Graduate in Law or other equivalent university degree, authorised to practise his profession in the court hearing the trial.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the previous paragraph, litigants may appear on their own behalf:
1. in oral proceedings where the amount has been determined on the basis of the amount and this does not exceed 2,000 euros, and for the initial request for payment order proceedings, in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
2. in universal trials, when the appearance is limited to the presentation of credit instruments or rights, or to attend meetings.
3. In incidents relating to challenges to rulings on free legal aid and when urgent measures are requested prior to the trial.
Likewise, art. 31 of the LEC establishes that the intervention of a lawyer is obligatory, with the exception of the following cases:
Litigants shall be led by lawyers authorised to practise their profession in the court hearing the case. No application may be heard without the signature of a lawyer.
With the sole exception of
1. Oral proceedings where the amount has been determined on the basis of the amount and this does not exceed 2,000 euros, and the initial request for payment order proceedings in accordance with the provisions of this Law.
2. The purpose of the pleadings is to appear in court, to request urgent measures prior to the trial or to request the urgent suspension of hearings or proceedings. When the suspension of hearings or proceedings that is sought is based on causes that refer especially to the lawyer, the latter must also sign the document, if possible.
Likewise, the intervention of lawyer and solicitor will not be necessary in various cases provided for in the Law on Voluntary Jurisdiction (hereinafter LJV), such as for the request for conciliation proceedings (art. 141.3 LJV), the appointment of legal counsel (art. 28.3 LJV), guardianship, curatorship and de facto guardianship proceedings (art. 43. 3 LJV) – “except in those relating to the removal of the guardian or curator and the extinction of preventive powers, in which the intervention of a lawyer will be necessary”-, or to request provisional measures prior to the application for annulment, separation or divorce (art. 771.1 LEC) – “but said intervention will be necessary for all subsequent pleadings and actions”-.
Notwithstanding the above, at Albos Law we recommend in any case to consult with an expert lawyer so that he/she can provide guidance on the approach of the legal actions that are intended to be exercised, make recommendations on the approach of the claim in terms of its content, as well as warn of the essential procedural aspects, all this to avoid making mistakes that may frustrate the desired objective of the client.
Finally, here is a link to the standardised forms that the General Council of the Judiciary makes available to citizens, together with instructions and recommendations.