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A Characterization of the Judicial System in Spain: Analysis with Formalism Indices

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18836/2178-0587/ealr.v1n2p213-240



Juan S. Mora-Sanguinetti1


Resumen: El desarrollo de una economía de mercado necesita de un sistema judicial eficiente que garantice el cumplimiento de los contratos. La literatura destaca que el sistema judicial español sufre de un bajo rendimiento. Este trabajo proporciona, en primer lugar, un análisis del sistema judicial español y una medida de su grado de formalismo a la hora de juzgar conflictos civiles en el período 1966-2006. El grado de formalismo mide la complejidad de las formalidades necesarias para alcanzar el final de un proceso. Este trabajo analiza todos los tipos de procesos civiles disponibles, que en España dependen de la cuantía en disputa, y concluye que el grado de formalismo se ha reducido en los últimos años. La tasa de formalismo calculada es además diferente a aquélla de otros trabajos a nivel internacional. En segundo lugar, gracias a ese resultado, el trabajo proporciona una posible explicación a los grandes cambios en las tasas de resolución, pendencia y congestión del sistema de la última década.

Palabras clave: Eficiencia judicial, formalismo, ejecución de contratos, desarrollo económico.


Abstract: An efficient system of contract enforcement is an essential issue for the development of a market economy. Several surveys have drawn attention to the low performance of the Spanish judicial system. This paper provides an analysis and a measure of “procedural formalism” of the Spanish judicial system in the long run (1966-2006). Spain has a multiplicity of procedures for the same type of civil dispute depending on the amount in litigation. In this study, all those procedures are analyzed and it is suggested that formalism of the Spanish judicial system has diminished in the most recent years. These results help to explain the recent developments of the resolution, congestion and pending cases rates of the system and also contest the level of formalism assigned to Spain by previous works in the field.

Key words: Judicial efficiency, procedural formalism, contract enforcement, development.


1 I am grateful to the participants in the following fora: the IV annual Conference of the SIDE-ISLE (Università di Bologna) (2008), the Law Department seminar of Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2008) and the research seminar of the Master of Law and Economics of Universidad de Salamanca (2009). I am also grateful to Stefano Battilossi, Nuno Garoupa, Fernando Gómez Pomar, Philip Hill, Pilar Arróniz and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments and suggestions. Contact: juansmora@hotmail.com. The views expressed in this paper are entirely those of the author and should not be attributed to the Banco de España or the Eurosystem. Banco de España-Eurosystem


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