Threats to Judicial Independence in Spain Detailed in New Report

A report by judges and prosecutors, prepared at the request of the Council of Europe, highlights a number of potential threats to judicial independence in Spain.​
The Consultative Council of European Judges and the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors have drawn up a report at the request of the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, entitled "Challenges for judicial independence and impartiality in the member states of the Council of Europe."

The report criticizes a series of challenges that threaten judicial independence in Spain, such as the way in which both the attorney general and the members of the General Council of the Judiciary are appointed.

According to the report, the appointment of the attorney general poses concerns because it is the king who appoints him or her, after being chosen by the government, to which he or she is accountable.

Endangering the rule of law

As for the election of the members of the General Council of the Judiciary, experts have warned that the way in which the components of the governing body of justice (with functions such as disciplinary sanctions and professional promotions of judges) are appointed also calls into question judicial independence.

The members of this body are appointed by Parliament through a quota agreement between the main political parties, which, in the words of these experts, "poses a potential threat to judicial independence."

Rights International Spain has reported both issues to the UN and several European authorities, highlighting that the lack of judicial independence endangers the rule of law and civil rights and freedoms. Citizens need independent justice to protect their rights.