Recently, one of the most important changes was introduced to employment/labour law regarding debt collection in Spain. Just like the debt collection proceedings specified in Civil Law, this law is applicable to specified sums that are due and payable, while also emerging from an employment/labour relationship.
The following claims are excluded from this area:
- Claims against employers that have declared insolvency.
- Claims against employers that have vanished and so public notices have to be published in order to summon them.
- Collective claims that the worker’s representatives can make.
- Claims that are directed at administrative entities and claims that work together with Social Security.
- Claims of a sum exceeding €6,000.
An employee can petition the proceedings to be initiated, preferably through a petition in electronic format. The employer should be precisely identified by the petition. It should specify the amount of the claim, the employer’s CIF/NIF, email address, place of work and telephone number.
The documents that an employee should submit with the initial petition, include a copy of acknowledgement of the debt, the contract, payslips, a social security worklife report, etc. The purpose of submitting these documents is to ensure that the employment relationship is proved. Moreover, any documents that show that the employee had sought a solution prior to the presentation of the petition should also be submitted.
Once the documentation has been received by the court clerk, a time limit of 4 days is provided for the rectification of any defect that is deemed rectifiable. Where the defect is not remediable or an employee does not rectify the defect within the time allowed, a report is sent by the court clerk to the court. A decision is then made by the court of whether or not the petition that employee has filed is to be admitted.
If the petition is allowed by the Judge, 10 days are granted to the employer for the claimed amounts to be paid. The notice of opposition can also be submitted by the employer in which reasons why the employer feels they should not admit the claim in part or in whole are briefly outlined.
The bottom line is that the purpose of employment/labour related debt collection proceedings is the same as collection proceedings involving civil debt. However, there still happens to be significant differences when it comes to employment/labour related debt collection in Spain. Only debt collection agencies take these differences into account when the claim is being filed.
When a solicitor served court summons on a debtor through Facebook in 2011, the legal fraternity and general public in the UK did take notice of it. It was the first ever incident in the country when social media was used to serve legal summons. It showed the social network can be used to force one to pay the debt or face the court.
Before the solicitor took to social media, she had exhausted all conventional means of contacting the debtor in question. She then applied to use the social networking site in East Sussex for permission to use the Facebook to serve the summons, showing up the evidence that the defendant frequently visited the social media website.
It is great to find that the courts are willing to embrace new technology. Creditors often face great trouble serving the summons to the debtors as they may not know their exact whereabouts.
Creditors or the debt collection agencies may deploy several means to locate the debtors. These include social media, credit card applications, self-supplied information such as phone numbers, voter registration forms, department of motor vehicles and change-of-address forms, etc. They may also employ tracers whose job is to locate a person’s whereabouts.
If a debtor is successfully traced, a court action can be raised and the summon or the other relevant papers served upon them.
However, not all traces will produce positive outcome and some debtors would manage to disappear successfully. Nevertheless, you have to raise a court action in any case in an attempt to recover the debt.
In such scenario, the law allows newspaper advertisement or walls of court service, but only when a Sheriff has authorised these means.
Service by newspaper advertisement: An advert is placed in a newspaper circulating in the area of the debtor’s last known address.
Walls of court service: The court papers are placed upon notice boards within the court for a period of time.
These means can be used by the creditors or the debt collection agency in the UK they have hired.