6 April 2017


Supreme Court Ruling 222/2017 of 29 March: Legal Costs of the Private Prosecution


The Supreme Court upholds an appeal for reversal filed by Sánchez-Cervera Abogados involving the legal costs of the private prosecution.


Our client was intentionally run over by a vehicle. The case was heard by the Provincial Court of Guadalajara which found the defendant guilty of attempted homicide, which was the charge that had been brought by the Public Prosecutor and supported by the private prosecution, represented by our firm.


However, the Court excluded the private prosecution’s legal costs when ruling on the award for damages.


In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court upheld our appeal for reversal based on the well-known doctrine which holds that, as a general rule, when a person convicted of a crime is ordered to pay the legal costs, that includes the legal costs of the private prosecution. The only exception to this rule would be in the unlikely event that the actions of the private prosecution were deemed to be useless or superfluous, which the Supreme Court has rightly determined was not the case here. Moreover, the ruling of the Provincial Court included a specific request which was a direct consequence of the actions of the private prosecution relative to amount of the award. 


The Supreme Court has concluded that: "Clearly, the participation of the private prosecution in the case - coinciding with the criminal charges brought by the public prosecutor's office – was neither superfluous nor futile nor dilatory", adding that, "On the contrary, the victim of the crime, a very serious crime as reflected in the facts of the case, exercised his right to take part in the process and to claim what he considered to be fair, on the whole a wise course of action."


The Supreme Court, based on the arguments outlined above, upheld the appeal and overturned the ruling of the Guadalajara Provincial Court, ordering the legal costs of the private prosecution to be included in the damages awarded.





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Recorded in the Madrid Companies Register in volume 34.303, of the 8th Section, sheet 131, page number M-617104.