Complaints against lawyers ignored in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 27 Jan, 2012 @ 08:34
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Complaints against lawyers ignored in Spain

By Wendy Williams

THE Olive Press has discovered a number of other complaints against lawyers have been ignored by the Malaga Law Society.

One Marbella legal company Lawbird confirmed that it had made several complaints to the self-regulatory body about malpractice that have gone unheard.

One of these involves a commoner passing herself off as a lawyer.

Another property buyer is now being forced to take separate legal action, after the body failed to reprimand a lawyer who overcharged him 34,000 euros.

“It is a clear cut case,” the British businessman told the Olive Press. “The lawyer in question kept promising to give me the money back, but it never came.

“I can’t believe that the society feels there is no case to answer.”

It has also emerged that one of the employees of the embattled society is himself linked to a dubious legal practice investigated by police.

“What chance is there of getting justice here in Andalucia when these sorts of people work in the so-called regulatory body,” asked Antonio Flores, from Lawbird.

“The law society is certainly acting in a strange way and is not at all transparent.

“They have a very lax way of dealing with things.”

Here, the Olive Press shines a light on the three cases:

Case study 1:

A complaint made to the Malaga Law Society by a British businessman after he was overcharged a staggering 34,000 euros by his lawyer has fallen on deaf ears.
According to the expat, the body insisted the lawyer was using his ‘knowledge and expertise’ and that they would take no action.
“It is ridiculous. It is cut and dried. I went to the trouble of documenting everything, translating it in to Spanish and then sending it recorded delivery to the law society and they just said no.”
“What is the point in having the society if it doesn’t deal with these matters?”

Case study 2:

Despite complaints from law firms, one high-profile woman is passing herself off as a registered lawyer and yet she has no qualifications.
Advertising in various rival newspapers, she even speaks at legal seminars for expats.
“We have reported her several times but no-one at the Law Society seems to take any interest,” insisted one lawyer.
“We cannot afford to have a regulating body which allows fraudsters to run bogus law firms,” he added. “It’s very detrimental to the image of the profession.”

Case study 3:

In an ironic twist, a lawyer working for the Malaga Law Society to keep check on the profession has been linked to an alleged fraudster.
Tovar Oliver Hernandez Riverol (above) works in the department that deals with good legal practices and imposters.
Yet, he is mentioned in a police report as having connections to law firm Ramirez & Ramirez, which has been investigated for defrauding victims in the timeshare arena.
Arrested four times, its boss Fabian Marcelo Ramirez was accused of falsely promising his victims to recover money in boiler room, timeshare and cashback scams in exchange for an upfront fee.
“Ramirez backed up his activities using a number of lawyers, including Hernandez,” explained Antonio Flores of law firm Lawbird.
While there is no suggestion Hernandez was conning the victims himself, as Flores adds: “Surely the Law Society must know that a man supposedly protecting the purity of the profession should not have these kinds of connections. Why have they not done anything?”

12 COMMENTS

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  1. Viva España , the third world in europe .
    The legal system serves those who own it . Our friends house burned and the insurance company seems to be only interested in figuring out ways to avoid paying . A friend in the police says it is not uncommon for the insurors to pay witnesses to delay the payment of claims .
    What about all these police checkpoints along the road ? Seems not so much to promote road safeway but to generate money for the government , some cash under the table payments if the rumors are true and to make sure the barsand restaurants have fewer customers .

  2. I appointed a company based in Benalmadena to take care of my late Brothers estate. They extracted large sums of money from me in advance. To date ( 4 months they have done nothing!
    When I complain they refuse to answer. I have now asked for monies to be reimbursed, they refuse. Beware!!

  3. Antonio Flores & his LAWBIRDS staff are one of the best on the Costa Del Sol.. a “mini Garzon”. Sadly for ALL Spaniards on the Costa del Sol – until these “bad apples” abogados and others are publicly removed from the barrel they rot, people will NOT be confident in buying the huge surplus of properties. So they won’t buy in spite of what any Junta Road Show claims at property exhibitions. Maybe if Spain had a faster judicial system and greater financial/prison penalties for the guilty, it would lessen.

  4. Have had the same problem recently with the college in Alicante. Have a solid case against a Spanish lawyer based in Alicante who “stole” our money UPFRONT and then did nothing. The money went into his personal account no factura no answer to use chasing him, even cancelled pre-arranged meetings made with his office. And then the college came back saying that “having examined the case” they decided to file it with no further action – no reasons nothing!!

    Where can we go from here because the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe say they are not a regulatory organisation and do not take up complaints against law firms or individual lawyers and the Colegio de Abogados European Delegation say they have no competence over disciplinary files??
    Like to take this guy to court but that would take years as our Alicante courts are in a right mess even owe hundreds of thousands to correos and anyway the costs (if we could find a lawyer) would be more than the money this guy has robbed us of!!
    Any ideas, help or advice welcomed?

  5. A possible solution.

    If you can formulate the complaint so that it is directed at either the Spanish Government directly or a Spanish Government Institution AND they fail to do anything, you may be able to take the Spanish state to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). An example may be to start litigation for breach of contract etc in Spanish Courts and give them a chance to resolve the problem. If the outcome brings no joy, maybe the decision can be judicially reviewed – if not handled properly you may be able to access the ECJ for redress.

    If you can claim that a European Convention right has been breached (and this may be hard if you cannot be imaginative as to how a recognized right has been breached) perhaps you can also approach the European Court of Human Rights.

    All of these avenues take a long time, but may be worth pursuing if a group of victims get together and start a Group litigation.

    Good luck.

  6. Thanks John, but l think you will find that the European Court of Justice is a very long and tiresome route.. In general the EEC just do not want to get involved in Spain and the way its being run.

    My wife and l are looking “at the moment” to taking our complaint to the Regional Ombudsman in Alicante who “may be” able to assist? Their contact details (in case anyone else has the same problem in Alicante):

    Síndic de Greuges de la Comunitat Valenciana

    Calle Pascual Blasco, 1

    03001 Alicante

    Tel: 900 210 970

    Email: [email protected]

    THANKS, and take care John.

  7. Lawyers in Spain dealing with sale of my property in Spain because I owe management company and tax. They have power of attorney, the buyer have arranged for finance to purchase property so everything is ready to go. I have heard nothing from the lawyers, they ignore my emails, I got my lady who looks after my apartment to phone them and she was told I am not their only client, I do not know when completion is, don’t know how much is to be paid to my debtors, they haven’t sent me a completion statement, haven’t asked for my bank details so proceeds can be paid, I am at my wits end because I have no idea of what is going on. I have sent numerous emails.last time I heard from them was 2 April. What can I do

  8. Very difficult to complain about Lawyers in Spain as their Association is mainly to protect them. You can’t publicise their incompetence on forums or it will be quickly whooshed off the site. I could tell you about one this very week but I am not able. Grin, grin!

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