COVID-19. Effects of the alarm state declared in Spain

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COVID-19. Effects of the alarm state declared in Spain

On 14 March, the Spanish Government approved Royal Decree 463/2020, declaring the state of alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19. The state of alarm affects the entire national territory for a period of 15 days, which is the maximum provided for in the Organic Law that authorizes it. This may only be extended with the express authorisation of the Congress of Deputies, which may establish the scope and conditions in force during the extension.

Suspension of time limits and statute of limitations or lapse of time

As far as court proceedings are concerned, the following measures are envisaged:

  • Terms are suspended and time limits provided for in procedural legislation are suspended and interrupted for all jurisdictional orders.
  • The calculation of the terms will be resumed at the moment that the Royal Decree or its extensions, as the case may be, become ineffective.
  • Certain exceptions are provided for in criminal, administrative and social court orders.
  • The judge or court may agree to take any legal action that is necessary to avoid irreparable damage to the rights and legitimate interests of the parties in the proceedings.

With regard to statutes of limitation and time limits, these are suspended while the state of alert is in force.

Effect on intellectual property proceedings

In the field of proceedings concerning the protection of civil or commercial rights, including intellectual property, the following should be taken into account:

  • The hearings scheduled during the time of the state of alert are suspended and will have to be rescheduled once any time extensions have expired.
  • All the scheduled deadlines are suspended and interrupted and will not be resumed while the state of alarm persists. If there are three, five or ten days left from the date of effectiveness of the Royal Decree, these will be counted from the date on which the alarm state ceases to be effective.
  • Judges and courts may agree to take any legal action they deem necessary to avoid irreparable damage. These include the following:
    • Preliminary injunctions
    • inquiries to substantiate facts
    • Protective letters
  • The limitation or lapse periods provided for on intellectual property, unfair competition (one or three years), intellectual property (five years), the filing of complaints after the adoption of preliminary injunctions (20 days) or inquiries to substantiate facts (30 days), remain unchanged.

Suspension of administrative deadlines

The terms and time limits for the prosecution of proceedings before the public sector bodies are also suspended and interrupted similarly to those in the procedural field as long as the state of alarm is in force, with the exception of situations closely linked to the state of alarm. As in court proceedings, it is also provided that the authority may agree to the measures of organisation and instruction strictly necessary to avoid serious damage to the rights and interests of the person concerned in the proceedings, provided that he or she agrees.

Continuity of the activities of Vidal-Quadras & Ramon during the state of alarm. Acknowledgement

While the state of alarm situation lasts, the lawyers of Vidal-Quadras & Ramon, following the recommendations of the health authorities, will continue to be available to our clients remotely connected from our homes. We would like to express our solidarity with all those who are suffering the effects of the disease, as well as their families, the elderly and the most vulnerable in our society. Our gratitude to all the medical and health personnel that are devoted day and night to the patients. And with all those who are watching over our safety and are trying to curb the effects of this pandemic. It is to all them that our thoughts and prayers are addressed today. As far as we are able, we will try to do our part to try to return to normality as soon as possible.

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