Author Archives: antonio

June 26th, 2023

The Supreme Court of Spain has made a surprisingly positive ruling that directly affects temporary residency card holders: it has nullified an important article that states that foreign citizens with temporary residence in Spain would lose their permits if they stayed outside Spain for more than six months within a year. The Court has now found that this provision violated the EU fundamental right to free movement, which can only be restricted by a law, not a regulatory provision.

This ruling came about after a citizen of Iran had her temporary residence and work permit terminated due to an absence in Spain of over six months. The Supreme Court has now overturned this decision, highlighting that restricting the right to be in Spain must be done by law, and not be a regulation or decree.

Many temporary residents have lost their cards due to not being in Spain for six months, but a large number will now benefit from this ruling by being able to apply for renewals successfully.

If you have been affected by the minimum 6-month stay requirement for temporary residency in Spain, we are here to help. Contact us now to understand how this recent ruling by the Spanish Supreme Court may impact your situation and explore your options for renewal. Don’t hesitate, reach out to us today!

July 8th, 2020

Starting Monday 6th of July 2020, the Directorate General of Migration and the National Police will issue -upon application- a new residency card and, with it, a new residency status for British expats specifically created pursuant to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (Part Two), published jointly by the EU and the UK on the 14th of November 2018.

This new residency sits in between the standard EU-citizens and the non-EU citizens status, and will have its own terms and conditions, in particular in respect to duration of the residency cards (and notably the introduction of a photo on the card).

These are the most important points to consider:

  • UK nationals residents in Spain prior to the 31st of December 2020 will have the rights to residency, freedom of movement and Social Security as recognized in the Withdrawal Agreement. Applicants for residency after this end date may have others, either those recognized in a future agreement between the EU and the UK or, by default, those recognized by existing Spanish laws and those that may be approved.
  • UK nationals (and their family members) will not have to apply for a new status but will be entitled to receive a card that confirms their status as beneficiaries of the rights contained in the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • The Instruction refers to various “statuses” and procedures:
    • Applicants who have been residents for a period above 5 years and do have a permanent residency certificate, will submit their applications at the Police Station, receiving a permanent 10-year residency card.
    • Applicants who have been residents for a period above 5 years but do NOT have a permanent residency certificate, will submit their applications at the Police Station, receiving a permanent 10-year residency card.
    • Applicants who have been residents for a period under 5 years but do have a residency certificate, will submit their applications at the Police Station, receiving a “temporary” 5-year residency card.
    • Applicants who do not have a residency certificate will submit their applications initially at the Foreigners Office and once approved, they will need to request the issuance of their 5-year validity cards at the Police Station.
  • UK nationals arriving in Spain after the end date of the transition period (31st of December 2020), will have 3 months to apply for residency. Where not, the authorities reserve their right to grant extra time to submit the application.
  • Temporary or extended absences from Spain will not affect the rights under the residency cards.

Finally, further to the end of the transition period, Spanish authorities may request that British citizens apply for residency under the various options granted to any non-EU does (non-lucrative residency permits, self-employed work authorization and residency permit etc.).

November 11th, 2016

(Photo: M. Lorenzo)

A Court in Madrid has awarded 6 off-plan property buyers a grand total of circa four hundred thousand Euros, inclusive of interest, as a result of a bank guarantee claim filed against BBVA bank, the second largest in Spain.

The Court found against the bank as a result of the existence of a collective bank guarantee issued by the bank, despite no individual guarantees being available for each investor. On this occasion, it was not necessary to invoke the Supreme court case law as the merits for winning the case had been already established by previous Appeal Court rulings.

June 9th, 2014

The Malaga Mercantile Court 1 Bis, with datePalacioJusticia of the 7th of May 2014, has formally accepted a lawsuit filed by 15 pensioners against Rothschild, its jurisdiction on the subject matter and service of process on the Spanish addresses provided for N.M. Rothschild & Sons (Madrid and Barcelona).

According to the Unfair Competition and Protection Against Consumer Advertising, as ammended, (law 29/2009, of December 30, 2009), any service provider that advertises in Spain is obligated to run decent, legal, honest and truthful advertising.

According to Lawbird Legal Services Rothschild offered a product, the Credit Select Series Mortgage Loan, that was sold to pensioners as a legal means to reduce the value of their otherwise unencumbered homes, for Inheritance Tax mitigation purposes.

The Tax Office, on the contrary, has ruled that such scheme constitutes fraud.

Acting pensioners have demanded from Rothschild that their mortgages, with a combined value of over €4 million, are cancelled (action for removal of effects). But also, lawyers have filed, in conjunction with the most pressing ‘removal of effects action’, a main and principal declaratory action, an action for cessation, future prohibition and for rectification of misleading, inaccurate or false information.

With the new law it is also possible, if the court deems appropriate, to order that the judgment be published in whole or in part (this remedy is no longer dependent on an action for damages), or that a corrective statement be made.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that this case, alongside another one dealt with by the Criminal Courts in Denia, was a matter of Parliamentary discussion by MP Huw Irranca-Davies and Conservative Treasury Minister Sajid Javid. 

July 25th, 2013

Cajasol has been ordered to pay €180,000, plus costs and legal interest, to 2 claimants who had bought 2 properties in Jardines de Manilva (Gardens of Manilva) some years back, through Ocean View Properties.

In spite of the properties being finished, it was established by the Courts that the unattained licenses of occupancy on the completed projected were a fundamental breach of contract that hampered the legitimate aspirations of property purchasers, following undisputed case law on the matter.

With regards to Cajasol, who was found jointly liable to repay the deposits as they had offered a collective bank guarantee to protect advance deposits (no individual bank guarantees had been issued) the Judge dismissed the allegation that the collective bank guarantee was capped at €2,500,000 and that it had already been fully used up to repay other claimants.

Quoting the Judge in charge of Court number 3 in Estepona, article 1 of the 57/1968 Act on Guarantees on Off-Plan Property Deposits states that the bank is responsible of ensuring, under its own responsibility, compliance with the conditions of the guarantee as well as the above cited Act for which reason, it is not acceptable that the bank now tries to excuse its obligation by invoking a quantum limitation established on the collective bank guarantee to now pay. 

Cajasol should be paying out the sums ordered by the Court within the next 3 weeks.

As usual with cases dealt with by Lawbird Legal Services, a copy of the ruling is available for review.

May 6th, 2013

Within a space of time of less than 2 weeks, Huma Mediterraneo S.L. and Promociones Inroal S.L. have filed for voluntary insolvency (CVA) due to the adverse current economic climate.

Huma Mediterraneo’s flagship development, “Cuevas de Almanzora”, was never built in spite of which approximately 400 buyers paid their deposits.

Promociones Inroal S.L. has taken money from a large group of investors and equally, has left them stranded, “Azahar Villas” and “Los Olivos” being some of the unfinished developments.

Customers who had bought off-plan property from them and have not received their properties, or money, are now requested by the Courts to register their rights with administrators.

Experience tells us that whilst registering the credit (paid deposit) is convenient, adhering to a future creditors proposal would be counterproductive to the investor’s interests for legal technicality: banks will use this to stop payment under a “Bank Guarantee Action”  arguing that they are bound by the investor’s adhesion to the agreement in respect of delayed and reduced debt repayment terms.

The advice we can provide is that investors study the options offered by different firms against bank(s) that should have guaranteed the deposits, in the first, or the lawyers whom, in spite of their statutory obligations, failed to obtain a bank guarantee to secure the investment.


April 29th, 2013

Justice Mr. Jose Emilio Coronado Ruz, in charge of investigating the criminal claim against Ricardo Miranda Miret and Ocean View Properties former directors -all indicted for missapropriation and swindle- has been himself removed from the post following a recusal petition filed by firm Lawbird.

The reason why Justice Coronado Ruz was forced to leave the investigation by the Madrid Appeal Court was the implication of his brother, Ignacio Miranda Miret, in the sale of the land on which Punta Perla was to be built (via sale of shares of the company Paraiso Tropical).

Lawbird exposed the Judge after noticing that at least €100,000 worth of deposits paid by bona fide customers ended up in the pockets of the brother. The payment had seemingly gone unnoticed to the Judge as was, shockingly, the younger brother’s involvement in a high-profile case that could have not gone past him without knowledge of some degree of participation, a claim that The Honourable responded to by stating that for “reasons that he will not disclose, he has not been in touch with his brother since 1998 and hence, could have not known”.

What are the odds of a case lodged with the Madrid Courts of First Instance– 101 in operation- ending up in one whose boss happens to be the brother of a party implicated in receiving money? Well, 1 in 101. But then, what are the odds of that Judge not knowing that his brother could have been implicated in such case, and furthermore, the odds of both brothers not talking to each other for the best part of 15 years? 


April 28th, 2013
Story by ROB SMYTH | Burton Mail

LAWYERS have called a halt to a case concerning an alleged multi-million pound overseas property scam involving a Yoxall businessman in an effort to get the judge changed – after they claimed his brother had links with some of the firms involved with the case.

In a letter to hundreds of people impacted, legal bosses have revealed that they have asked for Judge Jose Emilio Coronado Ruz to be removed from presiding over a class action lawsuit against Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret.

Lawyers are delaying the case until the judge is replaced after links between his brother and one of the developers involved in the case were uncovered.

Previously, the Mail has revealed that Colin Thomas, of Town Hill, had been subpoenaed to appear in Madrid.

The criminal claim for fraud and misappropriation of funds was lodged in 2011 in an effort to recover money on behalf of dozens of Ocean View Properties (OVP) victims.

Mr Thomas’s company, OVP, was behind a string of successful overseas propoerty enterprises but ran into difficulties when it became involved as a UK agent for Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret.

More than 1,000 British investors, who paid a total of £45 million for ‘off-plan’ overseas property developments, have lost their money after the firm was formally dissolved in 2009 with the appointment of liquidators Grant Thornton.

The court claims made in Madrid are linked to developments which never materialised at the Estepona Country Club on the Costa del Sol and Punta Perla, in the Dominican Republic.

Mr Thomas is currently banned from being a company director for nine years following an Insolvency Service investigation.

He was also cleared by the Serious Fraud Office and Staffordshire Police following an investigation into the collapse of OVP.

Neither Mr Thomas nor his advisors were available for comment.

February 11th, 2013

Arrohabitatge and Caixa Galicia, the saving’s bank in charge of providing the bank guarantees, have been jointly and severally found guilty of contractual default and forced to return the deposit of a British claimant.

The developer, in a brazen display of arrogance, rescinded its agreement with the investor due to his unwillingness to close the transaction, on grounds that no license of occupancy had been granted on the development. When sued, the developer’s defense was based around the fact that the works had been halted by the Town Hall due to a dispute with owners of a neighbouring plot, the Spanish Railway Company (RENFE), a dispute totally beyond the control of the developer.

Roberto Leiro, for the claimants, successfully argued that force majeure, or superior force, could not be invoked because the Spanish Supreme Court has established that this ground to oppose fullfilment must be of a decisive, unforeseeable, insuperable and inevitable nature, due to its alienness, characteristics not appertaining to the delay suffered. And it was not because Arrohabitatge  S.L. is a construction company that could have not been unaware of this matter since, within the scope of their activity, a neighbouring dispute is a vicissitude that can be expected to happen and prevented where possible, or at the very least warned of its likely happening, and never transfer the consequences of it to the consumer.

December 30th, 2012

Following the enactment of the Royal Decree 13/2010, almost anyone setting up a new company in Spain has opted for the fast track Spanish “Express” Limited Company. The reason? It takes no more than 24h to have a fully functioning limited company (up to 3 days where the company’s share capital exceeds €3,100 but is less than €30,000).

Interestingly, the number of newly incorporated companies has increased 18% compared to last year, being October 2012 a record month in the last 5 years. This is not only thanks to the economic crisis pushing unemployed individuals to take up the self-employed option after the little chances to find employment but also to the reduction in the timing and registration expenses. Additional benefits include the standard limited liability,  to many the most strong incentive to start a business securely.

Lets revisit what the specific limitations are in respect of this expedited company incorporation format:

  • The share capital is limited to €3,100.
  • Founder members have to be individuals; this leaves out companies, whether national or offshore.
  • The Directorship configuration is limited to one of three: a sole administrator, 2 joint administrators or more than one joint and several administrators.
  • Compliance of the statutes of such company with the new regulations in place.

The listed limitations make sense: the Mercantile Registry will not carry out due diligence on national founding companies nor the authenticity and legitimacy of an overseas company in such a brief period of time, even if the Notary already does this; yes, the drawbacks of a legality control double-filter system imposed in Spain.

One important recommendation for a non-Spanish shareholders and/or director is to have an NIE number, registered at the Tax office if possible, prior to attending the Notary Public meeting (in fact, this is a compulsory requirement nowadays for any public document). That, or else the process will be delayed by10 days approximately.

Have you had any problems when incorporating this type of company? Do you need help in setting up one?

Patricia Martín Benítez