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Spain/ Constitutional Court/ SENTENCIA 32/2019, de 28 de febrero

Appeal for unconstitutionality filed by more than fifty members of the Confederal Parliamentary Group of Unidos Podemos-En Comú Podem-En Marea in the Congress of Deputies (the Spanish National Parliament), against Law 5/2018, of 11 June, amending Law 1/2000, of 7 January, on civil proceedings, in relation to the illegal occupation of housing

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
The Constitutional Court
Decision date:
18/02/2020

Key facts of the case:

This is an appeal of unconstitutionality, filed by more than fifty members of the Confederal Parliamentary Group integrated by Unidas Podemos-En Compu Podem-En Marea in the Congress of Deputies (the Spanish National Parliament), regarding Law 5/2018, of 11 June, amending Law 1/2000, of 7 January, on civil proceedings, in relation to the illegal occupation of dwellings.

The appellants argued that the amendments made by the sole article of Law 5/2018 to the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter LEC) violate the right to the inviolability of the home (art. 18.2 of the Spanish Constitution, henceforth CE), the right to effective judicial protection (art. 24.1 CE) and the right to decent and adequate housing (art. 47 CE). They make it possible to carry out a forced eviction without a housing alternative and without allowing the judicial bodies to assess the specific circumstances concurrent in each case.

In this sense, according to the appellants, the regulation contained in the new section 4 of art. 150 LEC, added by section one of the sole article of Law 5/2018, does not satisfy the constitutional requirements referring to the rights to the inviolability of the home, effective judicial protection, defence, a process with all the guarantees and to housing. And they affirm that the reform introduced by the aforementioned sole article of Law 5/2018 does not comply with the minimum guarantees regarding forced evictions provided for in instruments issued by bodies dependent on the United Nations.

Key legal question:

Validity of the special and summary process for the immediate recovery of illegally occupied housing. There is no violation of material defencelessness provided for in article 24 CE. The occupant of the dwelling may oppose the plaintiff's claim if he proves that he has sufficient title to justify his possession. Nor is there any unconstitutionality in the possibility of the plaintiff to direct his claim in a generic manner against the unknown occupants of the dwelling.

Outcome of the case:

The appeal was dismissed and, consequently, the proposed legal amendment is given a free hand.