Spanish Royal Decree-law 6/2023

Granada, 2024-04-11

The Spanish Royal Decree-law 6/2023 was published on 20 December 2023 and entered into force on 20th March 2024. It approves urgent measures to implement the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the justice system, civil service, local government and patronage.

Its main purpose is, among others, to contribute to the modernisation and digitalisation of the justice system by adapting the Spanish courts to modern technology.

  1. In civil and criminal proceedings, the general rule will now be to hold virtual hearings by videoconference or similar systems, with some exceptions and specific situations provided for in the laws regulating the different types of courts.
  2. Thus, in civil matters, for example, judicial hearings in which parties, witnesses and experts are heard and examined will be held in person; but even in these cases virtual hearings may be requested in certain circumstances, such as when the person who has to intervene resides in a different municipality to that of the court.
  3. Trials, hearings and other procedural acts that, in accordance with procedural laws, must be held in open court, can be broadcast when everyone taking part is doing so virtually.
  4. All procedural notifications must be sent electronically, except in the case of individuals not represented by a solicitor (procurador), who may choose to make and receive them in paper or electronically.
  5. Electronic judicial platforms (sedes judiciales electrónicas) have been created to give parties access to different types of content using a secure login system. These include the "Justice Folder" (Carpeta Judicial), the "General Access Point to the Justice System" (Punto de Acceso General a la Administración de Justicia) and the "Electronic Judicial File" (Expediente Judicial Informático).
  6. The "Electronic Judicial File" (Expediente Judicial Informático) will be the focal point for digital justice going forward. In conjunction with the application of the general principle of data orientation, the intention is to open the door to new technological solutions and the use of artificial intelligence.
  7. Bodies and mechanisms have been created to ensure cooperation between the authorities involved in the justice system, and the "Judicial Interoperability and Security Scheme" (Esquema Judicial de Interoperabilidad y Seguridad) will be developed as a set of mandatory technical instructions.

This legal change has crucial implications for companies, especially with regard to first summons. The change in the regulation implies that first summons and notifications to legal persons will be made electronically, marking a significant change from current practices (which are made on paper at companies' registered offices).

Companies will have to ensure that they have effective control over the designated electronic platforms and, in the event of failure to download the notifications, within 3 days, they will proceed to publication on the Sole Judicial Notice Board (Tablón Edictal Judicial Único).

In addition, it highlights the need for companies to subscribe to alert systems on the aforementioned electronic platforms in order to be aware of judicial notifications in a timely manner.

However, Article 12.5 provides for a specific system of notifications for those companies whose volume of cases could make it difficult to manage through the general access point.

In conclusion, Royal Decree-Law 6/2023 marks a significant change, not only procedurally, but also with respect to the first summons to companies, prioritising telematic and electronic communication (as opposed to the traditional paper notification at the company's registered office).


Author: Luis Sánchez Pérez, Director Mercantil, Medina Cuadros Abogados S.L, Granada, Spain