Wednesday, April 17

Llop parks the major reforms to focus on the 2030 agenda

The Ministry of Justice will not lead far-reaching reforms in the remainder of the legislature, a reality that had been confirmed in the public and parliamentary appearances of Minister Pilar Llop since she took office last July to replace John Charles Field. The definitive announcement was made this week by the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, with the presentation last Tuesday, after the Council of Ministers, of the Regulatory Plan of the government.

The compendium of regulations that the Sánchez Executive intends to promote supposes the definitive resignation of the main legislative proposals of Campo, dismissed in the government crisis last summer a few weeks after the controversial granting of pardons to prisoners for the cause of pro-independence ‘process’ in Catalonia.

A new attempt remains in the drawer -the third in recent years- to change the Law of Criminal Procedure (LECrim) and the reform of Penal Code aimed, among other things, at reducing the penalty for the sedition crime.

From Justice They point out to El Periódico de España that they continue to work internally in both projects, but it is a fact that Bolaños expressly ruled out criminal reform and did not mention the LECRIM in the list of 368 regulations that it plans to approve the government this year. The strategic axes that the Executive goes through Economic recovery and the improvement of the living conditions of citizens, according to the head of the Presidency.

In this way, the Llop department will focus, predictably, on the three laws of Efficiency -procedural, organizational and digital- driven by the previous team but whose processing and implementation will correspond to the current minister. For Justice, they represent “revolutionary” laws that are going to completely transform the way of working in the Administration of Justice, but it cannot be ignored that their importance and political weight is less than that of the separated norms.

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“Harmonize” with Europe

The reform of the sedition projected by Campo was justified by the need, it seems that today it is no longer urgent, to “harmonize” the crime of sedition according to criminal conduct in Europe with no more than five years from prison

The changes, according to the studies carried out by the Justice Department, were based on the fact that sedition – punished in Spain with between 8 and 10 years in prison, up to 15 in the case of authorities – it is a crime that does not easily find an equivalent in European legal systems, something that does not occur with rebellion, which although it is not called by this term in other codes, it can be compared more easily with other behaviors severely punished as “high treason” in Germany or crimes against the Republic or the integrity of the national territory in France.

At the time these analyzes were carried out, the matter was urgent, at least in the political debate, because the pardons for those convicted of the ‘procés’ had not yet been proposed, and this reform was seen by some as a way out of the situation created after know the judgment of Supreme Court.

For this reason, Justice came to value the application of the measures that are imposed in other codes with respect to similar behaviors such as those of serious resistance, for which they indicate prison sentences ranging from 8 years (only in Portugal) to sentences that do not exceed 5 in prison in most states, reaching 6 months at its lowest limits, as reported at the time by Europa Press.

Neither Corona nor Lecrim

Another reform that seems parked for the moment, although residing in the Presidency rather than in Justice, was the suppression of the inviolability of the King, consecrated in the article 56.3 of the Constitution, which was announced by Pedro Sánchez himself in July 2020. There was also talk then of other changes in terms of “transparency and exemplary” of the institution, although at the beginning of last December the Government spokesperson herself, Elizabeth Rodrigueztempered these plans by pointing out that there had been no progress in said regulatory plan.

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As far as the LECrim promoted by Campo, the reform seems to have been put in a drawer despite the fact that the Draft Bill presented is, officially, pending report from the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) after obtaining the opinion of the Fiscal Council

In fact, last October Llop announced the creation of Interinstitutional Working Group who will be responsible for reviewing the draft. Thus, the only reform that has been carried out of the LECrim has been that of the article 324 to extend from six to 12 months andl instructions deadline of criminal cases.

The initial Preliminary Bill also includes a very negative report from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which includes the officials most directly targeted by the reform because they would be the ones who take criminal investigation leaving the judges the role of guarantors of the fundamental rights of those investigated. The role given to judges by Campo’s text is excessive for prosecutors, and the attorney general herself, Dolores Delgado, pointed out when presenting his opinion that he is maintained as a “tutor of the investigation” with functions “exorbitant”.

Efficiency Laws

As for the efficiency laws, the Preliminary Draft of the digital impulse was approved by the Council of Ministers on October 19. The standard completes the texts already presented on the reform of procedural efficiency and organizational efficiency designed by the previous head of this department, Juan Carlos Campo, within the Justice 2030 objective and seeks digital transformation with possibilities such as allow electronic consultation of judicial procedures consult the realization of numerous telematic actions.

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It also addresses a regulation that facilitates the offshore work of judges, prosecutors and lawyers of the administration of Justice (former judicial secretaries), and also of forensic doctors and civil servants. The regulation also contemplates the incorporation of new notarial services such as the electronic Protocol, since it includes the transposition of the community directive of telematic constitution of companies before a notary; the protocol and videoconference services before these notaries public.

As for Organizational Efficiency, it creates the trial courts, which will replace the one-person structure of the courts with a collegiate system. The initial proposal sets a total of 431, as many as judicial districts, thus respecting the current territorial distribution of justice in Spain. The Bill also regulates the judicial office and the offices of justice in the municipalities.

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