Over the past year to eighteen months, we have seen a great change in how the courts are dealing with the many timeshare cases being brought by Canarian Legal Alliance on behalf of our clients.
At one point it was a very long-drawn-out process with first a date set for a pre-trial. This is basically the last chance saloon whereby the court weighs up the evidence to see if there is a case which should go to a full hearing. It is also the last opportunity for both parties to reach an agreement and settle the matter.
If no agreement can be reached then a date is set for a full hearing, with all witnesses being compelled to attend. This can cause clients great distress, having to arrange time away from work, book flights and accommodation. There is also the matter of having to appear and be questioned in a foreign court which is working in a language they do not understand.
This also slows down the proceedings as each question and answer has to be translated.
We then began to see a change in how the magistrates were working in the pre-trial stage, they began to dismiss the need for a full hearing and the questioning of the clients, deciding instead to issue the sentence and judgement without the need for the full hearing.
Their reasoning is that the case revolves around the contracts, that these contain infringements of Spanish Timeshare Law and the evidence is in the contracts themselves, negating the need to interrogate clients in court. This is all based on the more than 100 rulings from the Supreme court.
Last week CLA received the news that another magistrate at the Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana is following the criteria of those three judges who are already dictating the sentence and judgement after the preliminary hearing. This mainly affects our clients who litigate against Anfi. At this particular courthouse, there is now only one judge who is still insisting on the full hearing and the questioning of the client if the other party so requires.
We are also seeing this move by other courts, particularly in Tenerife, but also in mainland Spain, for cases against companies such as Diamond Resorts, Club La Costa and Silverpoint.
We greatly welcome and appreciate this wise decision of the judges, as not only our clients benefit from it by cutting down the timeframe for the whole process, and saving them from the inconveniences of traveling to the hearing, but the whole justice system. This way no time will be spent on unnecessary procedures, and the judges can apply their valuable efforts on more pressing issues.