The word juzgado (= court) emerges in various contracts, for example with matters of jurisdiction. For preliminary legal proceedings, it often takes three or more years to receive a judgement. After preliminary legal proceedings, independent of the amount in dispute, then there is the court of the second instance (audiencia provincial) for the cases on appeal. It can take up to five years before a decision is delivered, including Appeal cases. Because there is no enforceable reimbursement scheme for Costs in Spain, it can happen that with no clear win you must pay your own lawyers and also court costs.


This is a means of enforcement. It concerns for example a possible seizing order against a bank account or a forced mortgage, which is registered in the land registry as an embargo.

registro civil

The Spanish registry office, with which births, deaths and weddings are registered and which is controlled by the local district court. Here you can also get the international personal status document described in the convention of Vienna (1976) in official European languages, needing neither translation nor Apostille.

divorcio (= divorce), separación

The separation of married people, which formerly required a judicial decision when it the parties concerned fall under the jurisdiction Spanish family law. Nowadays, this condition no longer applies.
An amicable separation procedure can be easily and speedily accomplished with only one lawyer. Contested procedures are more difficult. In Spain, an agreement suggestion (Convenio regulador) is submitted when filing for divorce. Disagreements can in this way be settled with the lawyer, saving time and money.


This is the Clerk of the Court, connecting the attorney (= abogado) and the court. It is a costly anachronism, of little practical value, but still used to control stipulated deadlines. At the last reform of civil proceedings, their call by many lawyers for their abolition was successfully resisted.