Court fees

Last Friday, February 27, the Council of Ministers approved the withdrawal of the famous legal fees for individuals, three years after they were implemented, thus ending one of the reforms of former Minister Gallardón, which created so much controversy at the time. The measure, which was unpopular from the beginning, violated, in the opinion of the majority, the constitutional principle of equality and access to effective judicial protection.

The rule by which the court fee system is modified will be published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) immediately, so it will come into force next week, and from that moment on, individuals will no longer have to pay. no court fee.

For lawyers , the withdrawal of court fees is a victory for citizens and the legal profession, which during these years has led protests and movements of all kinds to advocate for the abolition of such fees, to which legal groups have been added. , political parties, consumer associations, traffic accident victims and others.

How does the news affect traffic accident victims?   Obviously, this measure represents an important change in the claim for compensation for traffic accidents in civilian ways.

Thus, when opting for criminal proceedings, that is, filing a complaint against the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident, there is no legal fee to be paid, since the judgment of misdemeanors does not accrue expenses in this regard.

However, when the injuries are of a certain entity, or the circumstances of the case require it, the civil claim for the injuries, damages and losses derived from a traffic accident meant for the victim, an economic outlay that in the situation of The current crisis was impossible for many of them, as the injured party did not have the minimum financial means to meet the costs of a civil procedure.

In a civil lawsuit, the client has to pay the expenses of a solicitor, the amount of an expert, and until now the famous court fee. If the lawsuit was filed for an amount less than 6,000 euros (verbal trial), the court fee amounted to 150 euros plus 0.1 of the tax base (the amount claimed or amount of the procedure). In the case of ordinary lawsuits (amount greater than 6,000 euros) the fee was 300 euros plus 0.1 of the tax base, that is, if, for example, a claim of 30,000 euros was filed, the rate to be paid it was 330 euros.

We have to take into account that legal claims for traffic accidents in civil proceedings will almost always exceed the amount of 6,000 euros, with which we found that the victim who wanted to claim compensation, had to pay the amount of the expert medical, attorney and lawyer expenses, general power of attorney for lawsuits (except in cases of APUD ACTA in court) and the famous fee, which was necessary as a prerequisite for filing the civil lawsuit.

This has meant for many accident victims the waiver of claiming their compensation in civil law, which has meant a limitation of their right to demand compensation from the insurer.

The abolition of the judicial fee opens a horizon of hope for many injured from traffic accidents, who, although they will continue to have to pay the attorney, lawyer and medical expert, are freed from the burden of having to pay a fee for the defense of their rights as victims, since the cost of the lawsuit is considerably reduced.

In turn, we have to take into account that currently more than 75% of traffic accidents where there are deaths and / or injuries are judged as misdemeanors in accordance with the current Penal Code, and in the event that the reform of the same, the Trials of misdemeanors will be suppressed and your claim will have to be made in civil proceedings.

In the current Penal Code, all injuries and deaths caused in traffic accidents that are not classified as gross negligence, are processed and punished as a misdemeanor and not as a crime. This means that no judicial or expert fee is paid (since the injured person is seen by a forensic doctor attached to the Investigating Court that processes the Misdemeanor Trial) and almost always there are not even costs.

If the reform of the Penal Code goes ahead, this panorama will change radically, since the victim of a traffic accident will be forced to make a civil claim. This can also produce another effect, and that is that the victim is forced to accept the offer of the insurer, which is always well below what is really due, as they do not have the means to deal with the civil lawsuit.

Hence, if this reform of the Penal Code culminates, the withdrawal of the judicial fee will be a relief for the victim, since the costs of filing the civil lawsuit are ostensibly reduced with the withdrawal of the fee.

The favorable reaction of the Associations of traffic accident victims to the news of the abolition of court fees has not been long in coming, since the measure harmed above all the slightly injured in accidents, clearly limiting their access to Justice.