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The Supreme Court (Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de España; TS) is the highest court in Spain for all matters not pertaining to the Spanish Constitution. The court meets in the Convent of the Salesas Reales in Madrid and consists of a president and an indeterminate number of magistrates, appointed to the five chambers of the court.

Supreme Court of Spain
Tribunal Supremo
Spanish Judiciary Badge-Supreme Court Magistrate.svg
Tribunal Supremo Logotipo
Tribunal Supremo, Madrid.jpg
Badge of the Supreme Court Judges
LocationConvent of the Salesas Reales, Madrid
Composition methodAppointed by Monarch on selection by the General Council of the Judiciary
Authorized byConstitution of Spain
Judge term lengthAppointed for life until retired at 70
No. of positions74 (may change by Act of Parliament)
WebsitePortal del Tribunal Supremo
President of the Supreme Court
CurrentlyCarlos Lesmes Serrano
SinceDecember 2013
Vice President of the Supreme Court
CurrentlyÁngel Juanes Peces
Since8 January 2014



The Supreme Court is the court of last resort and can provide finality in all legal issues. It can exercise original jurisdiction over matters of great importance but usually functions as an appellate court able to investigate procedural irregularities arising from actions in the national courts or Provincial courts. It can order ordinary and extraordinary remedies against decisions of lower courts according to the provisions of Spanish law.

The Supreme Court is responsible for processing substantial complaints of wrongdoing against prominent persons such as government ministers, senators representatives and members of the various regional parliaments, senior judges, including the President and judges of the Constitutional Court, the highest tribunal in the country.

It also processes formal applications by the procurator (public prosecutor) to outlaw political parties,

Generally, there is no avenue of appeal against a Supreme Court decision although in criminal matters, the Crown may exercise the prerogative of mercy to invalidate sentences imposed or ratified by the Supreme Court, but constitutionally, such appeals are resolved by the Council of Ministers and then formalized by the monarch, as head of state.

Supreme Court decisions may, exceptionally, be overruled by the Constitutional Court if there has been an infringement of rights and freedoms of citizens embodied in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 or by decisions emanating from the European Court of Human Rights since Spain is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Constitutional StatusEdit

The Supreme Court is one of the three branches of the Spanish government, alongside the legislature and the executive

To ensure its independence, the Supreme Court has the prerogative to enforce its actions under the principle of obedience to final judicial decisions enshrined in the Constitution. Also, most its resolutions are reliable since they are solutions to appeal against the considered decisions of lower courts.

The Supreme Court is the only entity that can order the detention of members of its own judiciary or the legislature or executive authorities and then impeach them according to the additional civil and criminal obligations, which, by law, it must discharge diligently in the performance of their official duties.

Peer review is provided by the General Council of the Judiciary, a panel of senior Supreme Court judges that monitors the Supreme Court practice and operation, but the decisions of this Council are advisory and may be annulled by due process in a Supreme Court action.


The Supreme Court is divided into five chambers, each dealing with a specific areas of Spanish law that may affect ordinary citizens and four special chambers dealing with state issues.

  1. First Chamber of Civil Law
  2. Second Chamber of Criminal Law
  3. Third Chamber of Contentious-Administrative law (judicial court dealing with issues related to the activity of the public powers, administrative law)
  4. Fourth Chamber of Labour law
  5. Fifth Chamber of Military Law
Supreme Court of Spain
  • The Special unnamed Chamber of Article #61 of the General law (Ley Orgánica) of the Judiciary deals with process of outlawing political parties, the investigation and correction of judicial error on reporting and accountability in the exercise of judicial functions and other legal processes of particular importance. The tribunal is composed of the Chief Justice, sitting with the serving presidents of the five Chambers, and one independent senior judge.
  • The Board of Conflicts of Jurisdiction resolves conflicts of jurisdiction arising between members of different judicial branches such as overlaps or lacunas between different courts or where claims or denials of competence by different chambers are incompatible. The Chief Justice and one Judge drawn of each of the Boards supervising jurisdictions where conflict has arisen.
  • The Board of Jurisdictional Disputes resolves conflicts and deficiencies arising between the ordinary civil courts and organs of military justice. The Chief Justice, two Judges of the Board for the relevant civil court (within the ordinary civil jurisdictional competence of Salas 1-4) plus two judges from the military chamber (Sala Quinta).
  • The Court of Jurisdictional Disputes resolves conflicts and deficiencies arising between the jurisdictional responsibilities of a civil court, the Courts Martial or Administrative courts. It is composed of the Chief Justice, two Judges of the Sala Tercera, and three permanent directors of the Spanish Council of State.

Presidents of the ChambersEdit

  • President of the First Chamber: Francisco Marín Castán.
  • President of the Second Chamber: Manuel Marchena.
  • President of the Third Chamber: Luis María Díez-Picazo Giménez.
  • President of the Fourth Chamber: Jesús Gullón Rodríguez.
  • President of the Fifth Chamber: Ángel Calderón Cerezo.

Governing bodiesEdit

In subordination to the General Council of the Judiciary, the Supreme Court's governing bodies are responsible for hearing and resolving administrative issues that may arise:

  • The Office of The Chief Justice (Presidente del Tribunal Supremo).
  • The Administration Division of the Supreme Court, comprising the Chief Justice, the Presidents of each of its divisions and a number of additional judges specified by the Spanish General Law of Judicial Power.

Management bodiesEdit

  • The Office of Chief Justice (Presidente del Tribunal Supremo),
  • The Technical Documentation and Information service
  • The Department of Archives, Library and Information
  • The Department of Computer Science
  • An external relations unit that maintains a General Register of external administrative and technical specialist services that may provide expert assistance.

List of presidents of the Supreme CourtEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit