Buying Spanish property, use an English or Spanish lawyer
When you decide to buy a property abroad, many questions come to your mind. One of these, typically, is whether you should use a UK lawyer or a Spanish lawyer for the conveyancing of your intended Spanish property.
Well, I would recommend that you use a Spanish Lawyer who works in Spain and has his/her offices near to where you intend to buy your property.
On a daily basis, I receive e-mails from people buying property all over Spain, i.e. on the Green coast, the Balearic Islands, in Andalusia and so on… However, unfortunately, I am unable to assist them because it is important that a Spanish conveyancing lawyer knows what is happening ‘on the ground’, is familiar with a local area and can get things done local to the Spanish property concerned.
Furthermore, sometimes issues occur after you have bought your property. In this case, you may need to react quickly. If this is the case then having your lawyer close to you can be important and make matters far more efficient.
Over the past few years, I have read many articles about Spanish Lawyers written by English Lawyers which have not always been complementary! So, I wanted to ‘put the record’ straight about the Spanish legal system and Spanish lawyers:
1- Independence of Spanish Lawyers:
Spanish Lawyers have strict rules governing Conflicts of Interest and a breach of these rules can result in very considerable sanctions for the lawyer concerned.
Equally, not all lawyers in Spain work for developers or estate agents. You can find lawyers who work independently and will protect your interests.
2- Regulations for lawyers in Spain:
Lawyers in Spain are regulated by their professional body called the Colegio de Abogados (rather like the Law Society in the UK).
If you want to be sure if your Spanish lawyer is regulated by this body – then ask him/her for his registration number. If he or she is registered – and you are not happy with his/her services – then you can always contact the Colegio de Abogados and submit a complaint.
3- Professional Indemnity Insurance for Spanish lawyers:
If your lawyer in Spain is registered before the Colegio de Abogados, he/she will have professional indemnity insurance. Obviously, the amount will depend on the type of work that he/she undertakes as it is not the same for every lawyer some of whom deal with properties around 100,000 Euros and others over 500,000 Euros
4- Spanish lawyer’s Client Account:
Spanish lawyers always have a Client Account and are under a duty to make sure that money paid by clients is used correctly. If this is not done then it is a sueable offence.
5-Legal Recourse against negligent lawyers in Spain:
If you have a complain about the work done by your lawyer then you should complain and then take legal action if your lawyer has made a mistake and not corrected it.
Unfortunately, few people take action against their lawyer in Spain when they are not satisfied by the service they receive and this is a mistake, in my view. At the very least, contact the Colegio de Abogados and submit a complaint!
Carolina Just Miró – Spanish lawyer