December 05 2006
On September 1 2006 the Supreme Court issued a judgment(1) in an unusual case where the plaintiff was a minor.
A minor brought an action against two individuals, seeking payment of a sum of money. Under Spanish law, minors are not entitled to bring actions. This does not mean that the interests of a minor cannot be defended before the courts, but rather that his or her parents must exercise this right on his or her behalf.
In the case at hand, the minor herself brought the action before the judge of first instance. The fact that the plaintiff was a minor became apparent to the judge and the defendants only when the plaintiff was heard. The judge immediately ordered that the proceedings be remanded for a pre-trial hearing - that is, the stage during which compliance with the regulations on legal representation and legal capacity, among other procedural requirements, is assessed. The parents of the plaintiff appeared before the judge to establish their consent. The judge considered that the claim was valid. The defendants asked the judge to reconsider his decision, but he refused. Finally, the judge ordered the defendants to pay a sum of money to the plaintiff.
On appeal, the appellants did not raise the issue of the age of the plaintiff before the court of appeal.
Before the Supreme Court, the appellants raised the issue of the age of the plaintiff, alleging that the appellate judgment was null and void.
The Supreme Court rejected the submission of the appellants because (i) the appellants failed to raise the issue of the age of the plaintiff on appeal, and (ii) the appearance of the parents of the plaintiff overrode her lack of capacity. Therefore, it was unnecessary to initiate new proceedings.
For further information on this topic please contact Jorge Hernández by telephone (+34 91 524 71 00) or by fax (+34 91 524 71 24) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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