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In Spain, because of the pressure imposed by the OECD and in order to avoid drastic measures in 2015, the Government has announced different measures in order to provide more transparency. This measures would impact corruption issues in Spain. The measures refer to the Finance Control of Political Parties, Political Parties Organization, Amendments of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedural Act and measures that affect Congress and Senate.

Of those actions announced by the Spanish Prime Minister, the ones currently ongoing are the amendment of the Criminal Procedural Act and the Criminal Code. Since, at the proposal of the Minister of Justice, Rafael Catal√°, the Council of Ministers has passed the Draft Bill of Law of the Constitutional Act amending the Criminal Procedure Act, intended to facilitate Criminal Justice, strengthening procedural guarantees and regulating technological investigation measures, which lacked a realistic legal framework under the 1882 Act. The wording passed refers to the draft Criminal Procedure Code prepared by a commission of experts proposing a radical change in the criminal justice system that would require a broad consensus to implement. Until such broad consensus is achieved, the Government has considered that there are certain issues that cannot wait and has included them in the reform passed last 5th December 2015. The following measures included in the Draft Bill of Law should be highlighted:

  • A maximum term of six months to examine a case has been established, extended to eighteen months in complex cases.
  • Regulation of technological investigation measures, which lacked the necessary legal framework under the 1882 Act and therefore required criteria based on case law.
  • A second criminal instance has been included for judgments given by Provincial Courts, which will be reviewed by the High Courts of Justice and a Court of Appeal belonging to the National Court.
  • Reform of the appeal for judicial review, which will be necessary to enforce the sentencing of Spain by the European Court of Human Rights .

In addition to that, the Government in Spain has put forward to modify the Criminal Code. This amendment was announce by the Council of Ministers on September 2013, but paralysed in Congress until on 27 November 2014, the Partido Popular, Majority Parliamentary Party in the Congress, presented its final amendments to the Constitutional Bill of Law amending the Criminal Code Constitutional Act 10/1995, dated 23 November. Amongst the amendments introduced by the majority Parliamentary Party in the Congress we highlight the following changes introduced to the text:

  • Limiting of the liability of legal persons to cases in which the culpa in vigilando is “serious”.
  • Conditioning the liability of legal persons to the existence of a prevention program involving a substantial reduction of the risk of an offence being committed.

This impulse is due to the pressure that international organizations are putting in Spain in order to adopt the OECD standards.


Maria Masso is an associate in Baker & McKenzie's Madrid office. She specializes in either defending or accusing in tax fraud proceedings, misappropriation crimes, dishonest appropriation of the proceeds of a trust, misuse of trade secrets, bankruptcy involving criminal negligence or corporate crime, with a special focus on corporate compliance.

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