Fiches Belges
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Fiches Belges: Spain

Summoning witnesses (701)



Is this measure possible in your Member State under International Judicial Cooperation?

Yes, the aplicable law is the Criminal Procedural Act (art 166 to 172)



International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

Convention of 29 May 2000 on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959



* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

The request shall be sent to the: a) Public Prosecutor Service; or b) Investigating Judge or the central investigation judge acording the scope of their competence (see Judicial Atlas).

* execute/recognise the measure (if other than the receiving authority)

Public Prosecutor Service or Investigating Judge



Accepted languages for the request/decision

The only accepted language is Spanish.



Deadlines for the execution of the request/decision (where applicable)

There is not deadline.



a. Special requirements


b. Other useful information

The witness is usually given the summons in writing at his domicile, where the proceedings giving rise to the summons are indicated on the document he receives, together with the place and time where he is due to appear and time, as well as other useful information. If he cannot be found at his domicile, the summons is given to the member of his family or domestic employee found there. The person receiving the summons signs to acknowledge the receipt. Other methods may be occasionally used, especially in urgent cases. However, it is essential for the court dossier to contain a written record of the addressee having received the required information on where he has to appear and the purpose of his appearance. The party serving the summons must also be clearly indicated. The letter of request may also ask for the summons to be delivered personally to the witness, indicating that it is not sufficient for it to be delivered to other individuals. It can also be accompanied (in Spanish and in the original language of the letter of request) by a summons form to record the fact that the summons has been served. Certain requirements or formalities necessary for the validity of the summons in the state of issue can also be requested. When a letter of request is issued by a state forming part of the 2000 Agreement for Judicial Assistance between the States of the EU and the purpose is to summon a witness, the letter of request should specify the reasons that prevent the summons from being sent directly by registered mail or methods other than the letter of request. The states party to the 2000 Convention should resort to sending a letter of request only when the summons cannot be sent directly. Those that are not a party to the said Convention can choose to send the summons directly or resort to a letter of request. In the case of a summons corresponding to the Spanish courts, if the witness fails to appear, he/she may be subject to criminal liability; however, the said liability does not arise automatically. When the witness fails to appear, he/she must be summoned again, this time with a fine, and warned of the fact that should he continue not to appear, he may be subject to criminal liability.

Last reviewed on 6 July 2016 by EJN Secretariat

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