Castilian is the official Spanish language coexisting with other regional languages that are official in their respective Autonomous Communities art. The capital of the State is the city of Madrid art. The Constitution contains the basic principles of the political system and it is the supreme rule of the Spanish legal system. Spain is defined by Constitution as a social and democratic State of law whose sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people arts. The politic form of the Spanish State is the Parliamentary Monarchy art. The King is the Head of State and exercises only the functions expressly attributed to him by the Constitution and the laws art.
The country is divided in 17 Autonomous Communities, each with its own Parliament and Government. Even though the Constitution defines Spain as unitary and indissoluble it also recognizes and guarantees the principle of autonomy of nationalities and regions art. Especially significant are articles and referred to the distribution of domains between the State and the Autonomous Communities. Spanish Parliament is the institution that represents the Spanish people.
Its functions can be described mainly as:. The Parliament is divided in two chambers Art. This division is mainly a consequence of the recognition of the right to autonomy: the Congress is the chamber of popular representation and the Senate is the chamber of territorial representation. At practice the Congress is in a real superiority position over the Senate.
Both Chambers work in Plenary Sessions and in Commission art. Due to the difficulty or impossibility of discuss each question in a Plenary Session, Chambers may delegate to the Commissions which study the different proposed regulations and the technicalities involved therein. Commissions have full legislative power in most matters, they can approve bills or proposals of law although the Plenary Session may require debate and voting on any bill or proposal of law art. As stated in art The Government is composed by the President, Vice-Presidents one or various , the Ministers and other members the law may establish art.
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According arts. The provision of unitary also means that the existence of special courts, courts of exception art. Although Art. Military jurisdiction is a part of the Judicial Power too. The judicial power is general and is extended to all people, all matters and entire territory art. HE enjoys a special immunity and is inviolable and shall not be held accountable art.
Judges are independent and they are subjected only to the rule of law.
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Judges are not subjected to any orders or instructions by any other power of the State or other judges art. They may only be dismissed, suspended, transferred or retired on the grounds and subject to the safeguards provided for by the law art. This Organic Law is the provision for the setting up operation and internal administration of courts and tribunals as well as for the legal status of professional judges and magistrates.
The members are proposed by the Congress and the Senate. Twelve of its members shall be judges and magistrates of all judicial categories and eight members chosen amongst lawyers and other jurists of acknowledged competence with more than fifteen years of professional practice. The members of the Council are appointed for a five-year period and they can not be reelected with the exception of the President.
This division coincides with the administrative division of the territory and it corresponds to the administrative demarcation with the same name. Municipalities in which there is no First Instance and Examining Court have Courts of Peace Juzgados de Paz whose particular status and functions are defined at arts.
Spanish courts are also organized hierarchically. There is a system of appeals against the decisions of lower courts to higher courts and to the Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial body in all branches of justice excepting provisions concerning constitutional guarantees art. According to the subject of the matter Spanish courts are organized in four categories art. As a consequence of the recognition of autonomy at Spanish Constitution, Autonomous Communities can organize:.
Autonomous Communities issue their own legal provisions. The Statute must contain art. The composition of the Executive Councils has also followed similar guidelines. Constitutional Court is not a part of the court system. It has its own regulation. Their mandate is for nine years and they are renewed every three years by thirds art. Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over the whole territory and its functions are stated at art. These functions are:.
Both procedures are referred to declarations of unconstitutionality Title II, arts. Entities or individuals entitled to lodge the mentioned procedures are stated at. Issues of unconstitutionality can be held only by judicial bodies. If an international treaty contains stipulations contrary to the Constitution its conclusion will require prior constitutional amendment. As stated at art.
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The Constitutional Court is also entitled to hear about disputes among the different organs of the State art. Sources of law should be regulated by the SC but due to historical reasons sources of law are regulated by the Civil Code. Case law issued by the Supreme Court is a complementary source of interpretation and application of the law.
The Supreme Court is allowed to decide not only if the if decisions are against the law, but also, if judicial decisions of the lower courts were against the established jurisprudence. The decisions of a court may be appealed if they not confirm are not in the conformity with the case law decided by the Supreme Court on the same issue in at least two judgments.
No applicable rule can be derived from legal doctrine.
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Its not mentioned as a source of law and the Supreme Court has denied this character. Legal doctrine just provides an interpretation or clarification about the other sources of law.
Spanish legal system is hierarchical, so laws of lower jurisdiction can not conflict laws of a higher jurisdiction. The rank, from higher to lower level, is:. Organic Law Ley Organica. Organic Laws are a specific type of statute. They are regulated at art. The matter of the regulation. Exercise of fundamental rights and public liberties, Statutes of Autonomy, the general electoral system and others provided for in the Constitution must be issued by an organic law art.
The matters provided for in the SC include: ombudsman Defensor del Pueblo ,art. The requirements for their approval, modification or repeal. Organic laws require an absolute majority of the Congress in a final vote of the entire bill art. Ordinary Law Ley. Ordinary laws are all the laws whose subject matter is not reserved to organic laws by the Constitution. They require a simple majority of the Congress and of the Senate, with the Congress adopting the final decision. Decree-Law Decreto-ley; art.
They are provisional legislative decisions that Government may issue for extraordinary and urgent matters and rank as laws. Decree Laws may not affect basic institutions of the State; rights, duties and liberties of the citizen regulated in Title I; the system of the Autonomous Communities or the general electoral law. Decree Laws must be ratified by the Congress, convoked for that purpose if it was not gathered, within a period of 30 days.
Legislative Decree Decreto legislativo. Legislative decrees are dispositions of the Government containing delegated legislation art. This legislative delegation must be granted by a Basic Law Ley de Bases when its objective is the formation of articled texts or by an ordinary law when is a matter of arranging several legal texts in to a single one art.
This delegation must be granted to the Government in an express form, for a concrete matter and establishing a period of time for its exercise art. Regulation Reglamento. Regulations are legislation of a lower status. The term Regulation is referred to any general rule dictated generally by the Government. For instance: Congress and Senate art. Regulations may regulate matters without legislative coverage or develop an existent law. International Treaties. If the treaty attributes to an international organization or institution the exercise of competencies derived from de Constitution, the authorization must be established by means of an Organic Law art.
Any other treaty may be signed for the Government who shall inform to the Parliament art. Government or either the Chambers may request the Constitutional Courts whether this contradiction exists. European Community legislation. In Spain became a member of the European Community and transferred the exercise of certain domains and State powers. European Treaties and the rules produced by the institutions of European Community, as International rules, are directly applicable as a part of the national system once signed, ratified and published in the Official State Gazette.
Spanish Supreme Court and European Court of Justice have both resolved that any conflict between domestic legislation and the European Community legislation must be resolved by ordinary jurisdiction according the principle of supremacy of Community law.
Government exercises the legislative power on behalf a bill Proyecto de Ley. Bills are approved in the Council of Ministers Consejo de Ministros which shall submit them to the Congress accompanied with a exposition of motives and the antecedents art. Once a bill has been approved by the Congress it will be delivered to the Senate that may, through a message explaining the reasons, veto by an absolute majority or introduce amendments into it.
Congress may or may not accept the amendments. If not, congress must ratify the bill by an absolute majority or by simply majority once two months have passed since the presentation of the text. Congress may also accept or not the amendments expressing itself whether or not if it accept them by a simple majority art. Congress and Senate. Proposals of law are regulated in the Regulations of the Chambers. The ones taken under consideration by the Senate shall be sent to the Congress art.
Assemblies of Autonomous Communities may request the Government to adopt a bill or send to the Board of the Congress a proposal of law art. Popular initiative. This initiative shall require at least , signatures and is not applicable to Organic Laws, taxation, international affairs and the prerogative of pardon. Ordinary legislative process is regulated by SC arts. The King shall sanction the laws approved by the Parliament within the period of fifteen days and shall promulgate them and order their publication art 91 SC.
Decisions of special importance may be submitted for a consultative referendum of all the citizens convoked by the King at proposal of the President of the Government authorized by the Congress art.
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As said above Autonomous Communities issue their own legal provisions, in order to organize their institutions and regulate the domains attributed to them by SC. These legal provisions are only applicable in the own Autonomous Community. Grading comment Selected automatically based on peer agreement. Discussion entries: 1. Automatic update in Peer comments on this answer and responses from the answerer.
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