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CRIMINAL OFFENCE

COMMITTED IN SPAIN

The two scenarios that Anglo-Spanish Law comes across are: (1) you are in England and you have received some paperwork from Spain that would indicate that criminal proceedings are being taken against you.

(2) Your child is in prison in Spain awaiting trial.

The first scenario almost certainly means that the charges are either not very serious or they are serious but that the evidence is or was, at the time of being allowed to go back home to the UK, very thin.

The second scenario is that your child is facing some very serious charges and the Spanish judiciary thinks that, on the evidence that they have currently got, the evidence is strong enough to warrant holding your child in custody pending a trial.

 

The service that Anglo-Spanish Law can provide

(i) Look at such paperwork as might be available, and, if necessary, translate some or all of it into English.

(ii) Take statements from witnesses, including from the accused. Although the "crime" will have been committed in Spain, quite understandably people tend to stick to their own language group, resulting in most of the witnesses usually being English, and, often, based in England, not Spain.

Furthermore, the first language of most abogados (Spanish lawyers) in Spain is Spanish. It can be incredibly valuable to have an abogado whose first language is English take statements from English speakers even when the English speaker is based in Spain.

(iii) Consider which expert evidence might be of assistance, and give appropriate instructions.

(iv) Liaise with the Spanish lawyer in Spain who'll be handling the Spanish end of the matter. Whilst Mr Wagner never goes on the court record in Spain as the person handling the matter, he sometimes does travel to Spain and go to the prison and / or the court to interview a prisoner and / or assist the official trial lawyer in court. As a qualified Spanish lawyer registered to practise with the Madrid College of Lawyers / Bar Association Mr Wagner is entitled to represent British clients in court in Spain and tends to do so only at the trial and when a meaningful defence can be prepared.

 

The Cost

Whilst there is Spanish legal aid for an accused with no income or assets, it is a miniscule sum of money and the work done for the defendant very limited in scope. Spanish legal aid covers some very basic representation by an abogado and a procurador in Spain, but it does not cover taking statements from witnesses, liaising with a Spanish lawyer based in Spain, or instructing the accused's own experts.

Costs orders of a very limited nature might be made in favour of an accused who is acquitted, but no costs are awarded in favour of an accused who is not acquitted, even if the accused got a much lower sentence than they would otherwise have got if not properly defended.

Furthermore, a costs order against an impecunious accuser is not worth the paper it is written on.

In short, no meaningful costs orders are normally made in Spanish criminal proceedings, and, indeed, to date, after working as a criminal defence lawyer for over twenty years Mr Wagner has never, ever, actually come across an order for costs in a criminal case. Parents / defendants always shoulder the entire cost themselves, with no possibility of recovering a penny from anyone.

However, some compensation is paid by the Spanish State to those who have been remanded in custody and subsequently acquitted.

The good news is that the hourly charging rate of Anglo-Spanish Law for this kind of work is deliberately kept at a very low £65.00 an hour (with no VAT needing to be added on top because Anglo-Spanish Law is not yet VAT registered) in an effort to keep the cost affordable for most people.

Last, but not necessarily least given how often this crops up in practice is the issue of the fixed fee in criminal cases. A fixed fee is somehow often quoted by firms in both England and Spain, (including sometimes by Anglo-Spanish Law), but it is never, ever, for an unlimited amount of work. Lawyers / firms that quote a fixed fee have in mind particular items of work, something defined, limited, even if they don't always express themselves well / clearly.

Costs estimates are often given by Anglo-Spanish Law. They are not the same as fixed price quotes. They tend to give a rough idea of the cost involved in doing something.

Spanish powers of attorney signed in front of Mr Wagner acting in his capacity as a notary public is work that is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The rest of the work done here when working for clients accused of having committed a crime in Spain is not regulated by either the Faculty Office or the Solicitors Regulation Authority / Law Society. If all attempts at mediation / dispute resolution fail it is open to clients to sue Anglo-Spanish Law in the County Court or the High Court of England & Wales.

For detailed terms and conditions of business please phone Mr Wagner on 01433-631508 preferably between 9.30 am and 2.00 pm Monday to Friday.

 

 

Disclaimer: The content of this website does not form part of the contract for services between Anglo-Spanish Law and clients.