Functioning and Independence of the Constitutional Court of Spain: Guarantees and Challenges

  • Major threats to the Spanish Constitutional Court’s independence and authority have come, first, from political parties and the media and, second, by the Catalonian secession movement. The authority and the legitimacy of the Constitutional Court were tested in the stormy proceedings on the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 2006 that ended in 2010 and, above all, in the period of 2013–2017, when successive acts directed at the secession of were recurrently Catalonia challenged before the Court and subsequently overturned, and to stop the continued disobedience its rulings the of Court was given extended execution powers for its judgments. These new powers include the temporary replacement of any authority or public official that does not comply with a Court’s ruling and the ordering of a substitutive execution through the central government. The Court declared the new powers to be consistent with the Constitution (with three dissenting votes by four constitutional judges) and it even used them for the first time to enforce its prohibition of the referendum on the independence of Catalonia of 1 October 2017. Nevertheless, the Venice Commission has raised doubts about the opportunity of those powers, which are unusual in European constitutional jurisdiction models. At the end, the Court’s powers were not enough to stop the Catalonian secession process, and on 27 October 2017 the state government implemented the federal coercion clause and suspended Catalonian autonomy until new elections were held.

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Author:Xabier ArzozORCiDGND
Series (Volume no.):Rechtspolitisches Forum (79)
Place of publication:Trier
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of publication:2019
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Release Date:2019/09/26
GND Keyword:Spanien; Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit
Number of pages:63
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 34 Recht / 340 Recht
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY-NC-ND: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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