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9. Dispute resolution

9.1. Court proceedings

Judiciary Organic Law 6/1985, of July 1, regulates the constitution, operation and governance of courts and tribunals in Spain. For judicial purposes, the State is organized on a territorial basis into municipalities, judicial districts, provinces and Autonomous Communities, in which the Justices of the Peace, the Courts of First Instance, Examining Courts, Commercial Courts, Criminal Courts, Judicial Review Courts, Labor Courts, Provincial Appellate Courts and High Courts have jurisdiction. The Supreme Court and the National Appellate Court (Audiencia Nacional) (the latter only for certain specific matters) have jurisdiction over the entire national territory. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority with the sole exception of the guarantee of constitutional rights, which are safeguarded by the Constitutional Court.

Law 1/2000, the Spanish Civil Procedure Law, came into force on January 8, 2001. Criminal, labor and administrative proceedings are governed, respectively, by the Criminal Procedure Law approved by the Royal Decree dated September 14, 1882, Law 36/2011, of October 10, 2011, regulating the labor and social security jurisdiction, and Judicial Review Procedure Law 29/1998.

Although the Spanish litigation system should be considered as a continental law system, certain features of the Civil Procedure Law have their roots in the common law system. An example of this is the predominance of the oral proceeding. The Civil Procedure Law reduces formalities and promotes more expeditious proceedings and a quicker and more efficient response from the courts.

Spain has signed numerous bilateral and multilateral treaties on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judicial decisions.