Lawyers condemn court delays

Lawyers condemn court delays

LAWYERS from the Malaga Bar Association have written to the General Council of the Judiciary (CGDJ) asking for changes to the way floor clause mortgage claims are handled.

The group says the use of of just one specially-appointed court to deal with these claims as led to significant delays, hindering justice and leaving claimants with years to wait before their case will be heard.  The Malaga Bar Association says the plant, which was put in place to expedite these claims, has failed and site the 2,100 cases lodged since June 1 as evidence the court is overburdened.  It also warns having one central court in Malaga limits justice to those living in remote areas of the province.

In May, the group warned of delays before the court even opened.  According to one judge, Jose Maria Paez,”unless more resources are allocated, it will be very difficult to process this number of demands without incurring big delays.”A second specialist court to deal with these claims is planned for Malaga but no date has yet been announced.  Jose Maria Paez believes at least another four may be necessary to deal with the weight of cases.

Belen Rincon, a lawyer specialising in bank claims, also explained more claimants than expected were forced to take their cases to court after banks have been reluctant to pay out.  He claimed as a result, “it is estimated that the limit of cases that can be treated by a standard court a year is 1,700 or 1,800; after that it collapses.”

Floor clause claims have featured heavily in the news in recent months after several court rulings have allowed anyone who paid unexpectedly high amounts of interest on their mortgage to claim the money back.

After a European Court of Justice ruling last December, people who believe they were sold a floor clause mortgage have been able to claim the money back.  Lawyers, prosecutors and judges had voted unanimously against forcing one court to deal with so many claims.  It now seems their concerns were well-founded as the court has since received twice the expected annual amount in just two months.

Last week, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled people who have already renegotiated their mortgages with their banks can still reclaim their money in court.The decision means anyone whose bank has agreed to lower their interest repayments can still reclaim excess interest payments made in previous years.

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