Pilar Fernández Bozal, an experienced lawyer and an expert in Catalan-Spanish relations
The new Minister for Justice is an independent. Pilar Fernández Bozal is the senior-most representative in Catalonia of the Spanish State’s Lawyer Corps. This position makes her a specialist in competence devolution and Constitutional issues.
Barcelona (ACN).- The new Minister for Justice is an experienced lawyer. She is the senior-most Spanish State lawyer in Catalonia. She will be in charge of prisons and the justice administration. Her main challenges will be to fully deploy the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, to face a centralised Judiciary Power, to fully modernise the Justice Administration, and to finish building new prisons. Bozal is 47 years old. She has been lawyer since 1986 and is not a member of any political party. In fact, until now, she was not a well-known public figure.
Bozal was the senior-most representative in Catalonia of the Spanish State\u2019s Lawyer Corps. This elite corps defends the legal interests of the Spanish Government in court. While Fernández Bozal was the head of the Spanish State lawyers, the Spanish Government asked for the annulment of the informal referendum on Catalan independence, organised by civil society in a village close to Barcelona in September 2009. This Corps has also defended the Spanish State interests in the appeal against the Catalan Statute of Autonomy before the Constitutional Court, which ended with adjustments to the Catalan law.
From October, Bozal was a member of the Administration Board of the Barcelona Harbour Authority, representing the Spanish State. She was also a member of the Control Commission of Video Surveillance Devices of Catalonia, in charge of authorising CCTV cameras in the streets. Her personal life is not publicly known, except that she is a member of the Amics del Liceu association (friends of the Barcelona Opera Theatre).
Catalonia is the only Spanish Autonomous Community responsible for prisons and penitentiary policies. In addition, it is one of the 11 Autonomous Communities responsible for the Administration of Justice, which means the management of material and human resources, such as the court houses or the justice staff, with the exception of the judiciary secretaries and the judges. The new Catalan Minister for Justice will be the person who will ask the General Council of Judiciary Power (the Government of Judiciary Power in Spain) and the Spanish Ministry of Justice to build more court houses in Catalonia, to send more judges and magistrates, and to publish more staff positions.
The Minister for Justice of the former Left-Wing Government will leave Fernandez with several court houses under construction or being renovated, such as the Provincial Courts of Girona, Tarragona and Barcelona. There are also 4 prisons being built: Figueres, Tàrrega, Tarragona and the new prison in Barcelona, which will substitute the historic Model Prison. Pilar Fernández Bozal will also have to face an increase in the number of alternative penalties issued in recent years, mainly related to road traffic felonies.
However, the biggest challenge will be the deployment of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, in particular regarding justice. From the three powers (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary), Judiciary Power is the only power that is not decentralised in Spain. The new Catalan Statute of Autonomy was foreseeing a body that would be the embryo of a Catalan Judiciary Power government. However, it was mainly a consultative body, the Justice Council of Catalonia. When the Spanish Constitutional Court trimmed the Catalan Statute of Autonomy last June, this body\u2019s role was almost deleted (it exists in other Autonomous Communities\u2019 Statutes of Autonomy). Bozal will have the challenge of finding a way to push for limited decentralisation and for more powers for the Supreme Court of Catalonia.