Supreme Court of Spain

The Supreme Court of Spain (Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de España; TS) is the highest court in Spain for all matters not pertaining to the Spanish Constitution. The court meets in the Convent of the Salesas Reales in Madrid and consists of a president and an indeterminate number of magistrates, appointed to the five chambers of the court.

Supreme Court of Spain
Tribunal Supremo
Spanish Judiciary Badge-Supreme Court Magistrate
Badge of the Supreme Court Judges
Tribunal Supremo, Madrid
Headquarters of the Supreme Court in Madrid
LocationConvent of the Salesas Reales, Madrid
Composition methodAppointed by Monarch on selection by the General Council of the Judiciary
Authorized byConstitution of Spain
Judge term lengthAppointed for life until retired at 70
No. of positions74 (may change by Act of Parliament)
WebsitePortal del Tribunal Supremo
President of the Supreme Court
CurrentlyCarlos Lesmes Serrano
SinceDecember 2013
Vice President of the Supreme Court
CurrentlyÁngel Juanes Peces
Since8 January 2014


The Supreme Court is the court of last resort and can provide finality in all legal issues. It can exercise original jurisdiction over matters of great importance but usually functions as an appellate court able to investigate procedural irregularities arising from actions in the national courts or Provincial courts. It can order ordinary and extraordinary remedies against decisions of lower courts according to the provisions of Spanish law.

The Supreme Court is responsible for processing substantial complaints of wrongdoing against prominent persons such as government ministers, senators representatives and members of the various regional parliaments, senior judges, including the President and judges of the Constitutional Court, the highest tribunal in the country.

It also processes formal applications by the procurator (public prosecutor) to outlaw political parties,

Generally, there is no avenue of appeal against a Supreme Court decision although in criminal matters, the Crown may exercise the prerogative of mercy to invalidate sentences imposed or ratified by the Supreme Court, but constitutionally, such appeals are resolved by the Council of Ministers and then formalized by the monarch, as head of state.

Supreme Court decisions may, exceptionally, be overruled by the Constitutional Court if there has been an infringement of rights and freedoms of citizens embodied in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 or by decisions emanating from the European Court of Human Rights since Spain is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Constitutional status

The Supreme Court is one of the three branches of the Spanish government, alongside the legislature and the executive

To ensure its independence, the Supreme Court has the prerogative to enforce its actions under the principle of obedience to final judicial decisions enshrined in the Constitution. Also, most its resolutions are reliable since they are solutions to appeal against the considered decisions of lower courts.

The Supreme Court is the only entity that can order the detention of members of its own judiciary or the legislature or executive authorities and then impeach them according to the additional civil and criminal obligations, which, by law, it must discharge diligently in the performance of their official duties.

Peer review is provided by the General Council of the Judiciary, a panel of senior Supreme Court judges that monitors the Supreme Court practice and operation, but the decisions of this Council are advisory and may be annulled by due process in a Supreme Court action.


The Supreme Court is divided into five chambers, each dealing with a specific areas of Spanish law that may affect ordinary citizens and four special chambers dealing with state issues.

  1. First Chamber of Civil Law
  2. Second Chamber of Criminal Law
  3. Third Chamber of Contentious-Administrative law (judicial court dealing with issues related to the activity of the public powers, administrative law)
  4. Fourth Chamber of Labour law
  5. Fifth Chamber of Military Law
Supreme Court of Spain
  • The Special unnamed Chamber of Article #61 of the General law (Ley Orgánica) of the Judiciary deals with process of outlawing political parties, the investigation and correction of judicial error on reporting and accountability in the exercise of judicial functions and other legal processes of particular importance. The tribunal is composed of the Chief Justice, sitting with the serving presidents of the five Chambers, and one independent senior judge.
  • The Board of Conflicts of Jurisdiction resolves conflicts of jurisdiction arising between members of different judicial branches such as overlaps or lacunas between different courts or where claims or denials of competence by different chambers are incompatible. The Chief Justice and one Judge drawn of each of the Boards supervising jurisdictions where conflict has arisen.
  • The Board of Jurisdictional Disputes resolves conflicts and deficiencies arising between the ordinary civil courts and organs of military justice. The Chief Justice, two Judges of the Board for the relevant civil court (within the ordinary civil jurisdictional competence of Salas 1-4) plus two judges from the military chamber (Sala Quinta).
  • The Court of Jurisdictional Disputes resolves conflicts and deficiencies arising between the jurisdictional responsibilities of a civil court, the Courts Martial or Administrative courts. It is composed of the Chief Justice, two Judges of the Sala Tercera, and three permanent directors of the Spanish Council of State.

Presidents of the Chambers

  • President of the First Chamber: Francisco Marín Castán.
  • President of the Second Chamber: Manuel Marchena.
  • President of the Third Chamber: Luis María Díez-Picazo Giménez.
  • President of the Fourth Chamber: Jesús Gullón Rodríguez.
  • President of the Fifth Chamber: Ángel Calderón Cerezo.

Governing bodies

In subordination to the General Council of the Judiciary, the Supreme Court's governing bodies are responsible for hearing and resolving administrative issues that may arise:

  • The Office of The Chief Justice (Presidente del Tribunal Supremo).
  • The Administration Division of the Supreme Court, comprising the Chief Justice, the Presidents of each of its divisions and a number of additional judges specified by the Spanish General Law of Judicial Power.

Management bodies

  • The Office of Chief Justice (Presidente del Tribunal Supremo),
  • The Technical Documentation and Information service
  • The Department of Archives, Library and Information
  • The Department of Computer Science
  • An external relations unit that maintains a General Register of external administrative and technical specialist services that may provide expert assistance.

List of presidents of the Supreme Court

See also

External links

1931 Catalan autonomy referendum

A referendum on the Statute of Autonomy was held in Catalonia on 2 August 1931. It was approved by 99% of voters.

Antena 3 Canarias

Antena 3 Canarias was a Spanish television channel broadcasts to the Canary Islands and in Spanish, launched in 2008. It was founded and started to broadcast in 2008. The channel was closed on 1 April 2013 by own decision of Atresmedia because Supreme Court of Spain had upheld the invalidity of TDT licenses.

Arnaldo Otegi

Arnaldo Otegi Mondragón (born 6 July 1958) is a Basque politician from the Basque Autonomous Community in Spain, who is the current Secretary General of abertzale Basque separatist party Sortu. He has been a member of the Basque Parliament for both Herri Batasuna and Euskal Herritarrok. These two parties and Batasuna were banned in 2003 for having links to ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) which was proscribed for being a terrorist group. He was one of the key negotiators during the unsuccessful peace talks in Loiola and Geneva, in 2006.Before joining politics he had been convicted of being an ETA member and taking part in several actions, amongst which was the kidnapping of the Basque entrepreneur Luis Abaitúa. In the 1990s he started his political career and quickly gained prominence within the Basque separatism movement, becoming the leader of Herri Batasuna in 1997 after its whole National Committee was arrested. However the party was declared illegal in 2003 due to its relationship with ETA. In June 2007 he was convicted of "praising terrorism", imprisoned, and then released from prison in August the following year. In October 2009 he was arrested for attempting to put Batasuna back together, and was given a ten-year sentence. In May 2012 his sentence was reduced to 6½ years by the Supreme Court of Spain as they found enough evidence to prove his membership, but not the alleged leadership of ETA. He was chosen as candidate for the post of Lehendakari by EH Bildu for the Basque parliamentary election of 2016 but the electoral committee invalidated its candidacy due to his penal disqualification. Otegi was released from prison on 1 March 2016. In November 2018, the European Court of Humans Rights ruled against Spain for the Spanish National Court's breach of the defendant's right to have an impartial trial, for which he had spent 6 years in prison.

Audiencia Nacional

The Audiencia Nacional (Spanish pronunciation: [awˈðjen.θja naθjoˈnal]; English: National Court) is a special and exceptional high court in Spain. It has jurisdiction over all of the Spanish territory, as well as over international crimes which come under the competence of Spanish courts. The Audiencia Nacional was created in 1977 at the same time as the Public Order Tribunal (Tribunal de Orden Público), a Francoist institution, ceased to exist. Its seat is in the city of Madrid.

In most cases, the rulings and decisions of these different divisions of the Audiencia Nacional can be appealed before the Supreme Court of Spain.

Convent of the Salesas Reales

The Convent of the Salesas Reales is an 18th-century architectural complex in central Madrid, Spain. Formerly a convent, specifically the convent of the Visitación de Nuestra Señora (Visitation of Our Lady), it was constructed and occupied by the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, which had been founded by St. Francis de Sales and St Jeanne de Chantal. The convent's church (dedicated to St Barbara) is now a parish church, and the remainder of the complex houses the Supreme Court of Spain.

Cándido Conde-Pumpido

Cándido Conde-Pumpido (born September 22, 1949), was the Attorney General of Spain (2004–2011). He has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Spain since 1995. Since March 2017 he is Magistrate of the Constitutional Court.

Demokrazia Hiru Milioi

Demokrazia Hiru Milioi (Spanish: Democracia Tres Millones; D3M; also called Demokrazia 3,000,000) was an electoral platform which was formed to participate in the Basque Parliament elections in 2009. It was declared illegal on February 8, 2009, as the Supreme Court of Spain considered that it was linked with the separatist organization ETA.

Dolors Bassa

Dolors Bassa i Coll (born Torroella de Montgrí, 1959) is an educator, psychopedagogist and Spanish Catalan politician who held the position of Counselor of Labour, Social Affairs and Families from the Generalitat de Catalunya until 27 October 2017. She is renowned for her syndicalist career in the major Spanish trade union, Unión General de Trabajadores. Since March 2018 she has been in custody by order of the Supreme Court of Spain, accused of sedition and rebellion

Executive Council of Catalonia

The Executive Council of Catalonia (Catalan: Consell Executiu) or the Government of Catalonia (Catalan: Govern de Catalunya) is the executive branch of the Generalitat of Catalonia. It is responsible for the political action, regulatation and administration of the government of the autonomous region.The President of the Generalitat is the head of government: he or she may also appoint a First Minister (Catalan: Conseller(a) primer(a)) to serve as their deputy, although since 2006 the office has been replaced by that of the Vice-President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, who must be approved by the Parliament of Catalonia. The various ministers (Catalan: consellers) are also appointed by the President of the Generalitat. Ministers need not be deputies in the parliament, as they have an automatic right to intervene in parliamentary


Serving members of the government may not be arrested for any acts committed in Catalonia, except in flagrante delicto, and may only be judged before the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, or the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Spain outside of Catalonia.The Parliament of Catalonia unilaterally issued a declaration of independence from Spain on 27 October 2017 in favour of a Catalan Republic. In response Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dissolved the Parliament of Catalonia and called a snap regional election for 21 December 2017.

High Court of Justice of Andalusia

The High Court of Justice of Andalusia (Spanish: Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía, TSJA), is the highest court of Andalusia, and for the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Its seat is the former Royal Chancery of Granada. Its jurisdiction is defined by the Organic Law intended to govern the resources, procedures and distinct jurisdictional orders and to protect the laws recognized by the Statute of Autonomy of Andalusia of 2007. The TSJA has full power over all the jurisdictional orders: civil and penal Law, social law, administrative disputes, and any other orders that may be created in the future.The TSJA is the final jurisdictional court of all trials initiated in the autonomous community of Andalusia (and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla), and is the final recourse for all legal processes that occur in those areas, whatever law is invoked as applicable, in accord with the Organic Law of Judicial Power and without prejudice to the powers reserved for the Supreme Court of Spain. The Organic Law of Judicial Power determines the scope and powers of the latter, as well.

Jordi Turull

Jordi Turull i Negre (born 6 September 1966) is a Spanish politician associated with the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT). Since March 2018 he has been in custody by order of the Supreme Court of Spain and accused of sedition and rebellion. On July 10, 2018 a Supreme Court judge suspended him as a deputy in the Catalan parliament.Since December 1st, 2018 he and Jordi Sánchez are on a hunger strike in protest against Spanish justice.

José María Calatrava y Peinado

José María Calatrava y Peinado (26 February 1781 in Mérida, Spain – 16 January 1846 in Madrid) was a Spanish politician who served as the Prime Minister of Spain and Minister of State between 1836 and 1837.

The main action of Calatrava's administration was proclaiming the constitution of 1837 which granted freedom of religion in Spain while still requiring the state to support the Roman Catholic Church. This was too drastic a change for many in Spain and it caused the downfall of Calatrava's government.He finished his career as President of the Supreme Court of Spain (1840–1843).

List of Presidents of the Supreme Court of Spain

The following is list of presidents of the Supreme Court of Spain, beginning with its creation in 1812. In 1978, when the Constitution created the General Council of the Judiciary, it was established that the president of the Supreme Court is president of the General Council of the Judiciary as well.

Manuel Marchena

Manuel Marchena Gómez is a Spanish judge and prosecutor. He currently serves as Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Spain being the President of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court.

On November 11, 2018, it was rumored that he would been proposed to be the next President of the Supreme Court and of the General Council of the Judiciary. On November 20, he announced that would not present his candidacy to chair the Court.

Manuel Prado y Colón de Carvajal

Manuel Prado y Colón de Carvajal (1931 - 5 December 2009) was a Spanish diplomat, businessman and politician. He served as an administrator for King Juan Carlos I of Spain for more than twenty years.Colon, the son of a Chilean diplomat, was born in Quito, Ecuador, in 1931. A businessman by profession, Colon worked in the automobile, telecommunications and financial industries. He was chairman of Iberia Airlines from 1976 until 1978. He also sat on the boards of directors of both Infeisa and WWF/Adena at various times during his career.Colon was sentenced to two years in prison in 2004 in Sevilla, but was granted an early release two months later due to humanitarian reasons. However, in 2007 the Supreme Court of Spain sentenced Colon to one year in prison for diverting funds to the Torras Group. He was given an additional three months sentence in February 2008 in the Grand Tibidabo case.A personal friend and advisor to King Juan Carlos for more than twenty years, Colon founded the Foundation for Help Against Drug Addiction (FAD). Queen Sofia currently serves as FAD's president.Manuel Prado y Colón de Carvajal died of cancer at his home in Sevilla, Spain, on 5 December 2009, at the age of 78. He was survived by his second wife, Celia García Corona, and his children. His son, Borja Prado, is the chairman of the Endesa power company as of 2009.

Margarita Robles

María Margarita Robles Fernández (León, November 10, 1956) is a Spanish judge and politician, currently serving as Minister of Defence of Spain.

She was the first woman ever to chair a Contentious-administrative chamber, the first to ever preside a provincial court (Barcelona's) and the first woman to reach the Supreme Court of Spain. She has also held the positions of Secretary of State of Security and of Justice during the González Governments.

From may 2004 until may 2016 she was a Justice at the Supreme Court, in the third Chamber. She was a member of the General Council of the Judiciary from september 2008 until December 2013 on the proposal of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. she belongs to the progressive judge association Judges for Democracy.

In May 2016 she was elected to the Congress of Deputies for the PSOE representing Madrid.

President of the Supreme Court of Spain

The President of the Supreme Court and also President of the General Council of the Judiciary, is the first judicial authority of the Nation and holds the representation of the Judicial Power and its governing body (CGPJ), corresponding to the treatment and honors inherent to that condition.The current holder of the office is Carlos Lesmes Serrano since 2013.

Reimund Dietzen

Reimund Dietzen sometimes written Raimund Dietzen (born 29 May 1959 in Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate) is a retired road and cyclo-cross cyclist from Germany, who was a professional rider from 1982 to 1990.

Dietzen was a successful amateur winning the German cyclo-cross championship in 1980 and 1981 as well as winning in road races. He turned professional with the Swiss team Puch in 1982. He won the cyclo-cross race the Grand Prix Jean Bausch-Pierre Kellner that year. The following year he joined a Spanish cycling team Teka with whom he would stay with for the rest of his career. In his first year with his new team he won the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The following year he became the champion of Germany in the road race and cyclo-cross as well his first stage victory in the Vuelta a España. He won the stage to the Lagos de Covadonga which is a very steep climb and a prestigious stage to win. He would finish that year's edition of the Vuelta third overall. The following year he was again cyclo-cross champion as well as the winner of the Vuelta a Cantabria. In 1986 he was again German road champion and won a second stage in the 1986 Vuelta a España. In 1987 he wore the leader's jersey in the 1987 Vuelta a España for five days before losing it to Herrera and then finishing the race second overall to Luis Herrera of Colombia. Dietzen finished the 1988 Vuelta a España second overall, this time to Sean Kelly of Ireland. In the 1989 Vuelta a España, Dietzen won a stage but several days later he crashed. He had ridden into a tunnel which was not illuminated and crashed, suffering career-ending injuries. He was only 30 years of age when the following year he stopped as a professional after not recovering. Seventeen years later, the Supreme Court of Spain ordered the organisers of the Vuelta a España to pay damages to Dietzen. Dietzen obtained nearly all of his success in Spanish races with wins in Vuelta a La Rioja, Vuelta a Castilla y León and the Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme. From 2003, Dietzen was a directeur sportif with the now-defunct Team Gerolsteiner. He currently lives in Spain.

Rodrigo Rato

Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo (born 18 March 1949) is a conservative Spanish politician and banker who served in the government of Spain as Minister of Economy and as a vice president from 1996 to 2004. He was managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2004 to 2007 and president of Bankia between 2010 and 2012.

Rato was arrested on 16 April 2015 for alleged fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. His case was still awaiting trial a year later when his name appeared in the Panama Papers. Despite his prior assurances that he did not own companies in tax havens, apparently he used two offshore companies to avoid taxes on millions of euros kept overseas. It has been alleged that he owes taxes to both the Spanish and Panamanian governments.On 23 February 2017, Rato was found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced to 4½ years' imprisonment. In September 2018, the sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Spain.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.