Dispute resolution

Requests for the recording of a trial in Spain do not suspend the time limit for appeal

Published on 25th Nov 2022

Decision confirms that the recording's request does not suspend the appeal time limit. 

Supreme Court Judgment No. 612/2022 of 20 September 2022 dealt with an issue of practical interest from a procedural law perspective: the request for the recording of the trial and the suspension of the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Factual background

The Court of First Instance issued its judgment on 6 March 2018. When the plaintiffs only had eight days left to lodge an appeal, they filed a writ with the court requesting a copy of the recording of the trial and the suspension of the time limit for appeal.

On 10 May 2018 – that is, 45 days after they submitted the request – the Counsel for the Administration of Justice issued an order informing the plaintiffs that the recording had been made available to them and they had eight days to appeal.

The appeal court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that, pursuant to the provisions of article 134 of the Spanish Civil Procedure Law, the limitation period to appeal had expired. The Provincial Court added that "the mere request for a copy of the recording of the trial and the suspension of the time limit for appeal until the recording is made available is no reason to let the deadline elapse while awaiting the Court's response".

Previous case law 

Before issuing the judgment, the Supreme Court had already addressed this issue on at least two occasions:

  • Judgment No. 244/2018, of 24 April. In this case, the request for the recording and the suspension of the deadline to lodge an appeal was made only two days before expiration of the time limit. The High Court ruled that the request had to be rejected as inadmissible on the grounds that it had been submitted late.
  • Judgment No. 395/2018, of 26 June. Here, the request for the recording was made after the trial had concluded and before a judgment was delivered, being the request for the recording and the suspension of the time limit submitted again when the interested party realised that he had been given a defective copy. This diligent conduct made the High Court decide that the appeal was admissible. However, the court acknowledged that the decision was exceptional, since the circumstances surrounding the case in question were "very extraordinary".

Supreme Court's ruling 

After assessing the facts and taking into account the precedents, the Supreme Court decided to reject the appeal, thereby upholding the Provincial Court's decision.

The Court of Cassation concluded that the applicant's conduct did not merit protection because the copy of the recording was not requested after either the hearing or the trial had taken place, or even immediately after the judgment was issued, but after more than half of the legal time for appeal had elapsed. The request was submitted to the court only eight days before the deadline to appeal expired.

Osborne Clarke comment

The judgment confirms that the request for a copy of the recording of the trial does not constitute legal grounds for suspending the time limit for appeal.

Therefore, if we want to appeal a court decision, we should be cautious and request the delivery of the recording and the suspension of the time limit for appeal as soon as possible. We should take into account that the  suspension will not be effective until the court has granted it.
 

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