Suspension of judge who wrote draft of Catalan Constitution proceeds

November 21, 2016 07:06 PM | ACN

Catalan judge Santiago Vidal faces a three-year suspension from office for writing a draft of a theoretical Catalan Constitution. Although the proposal was not supposed to replace any Constitution or be directly adopted if Catalonia became independent but rather to steer debate by putting on the table specific constitutional articles, Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) has confirmed Spain’s Judicial Power Council (CGPJ)’s decision, announced in February 2015, and has insisted that Vidal committed “a very grave offence” and “inexcusably failed to fulfil his judicial duties”. Thus, the appeal presented by Vidal, after considering the sanction to respond to “political and ideological criteria”, has been rejected by 21 magistrates, while 11 have expressed their conformity with the appeal.  

Council of Europe warns Spain over violation of its recommendations on judicial independence

October 10, 2016 02:33 PM | ACN

Spain is failing in transparency and judicial independence. According to the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe (Greco), the Spanish Government has not satisfactorily applied any of the eleven recommendations made by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2013, which aimed at promoting the fight against corruption and guaranteeing judicial independence. In a report published this Monday, Greco states that it is “key” to increase “transparency of communication between the Prosecutor General and the Government”. Moreover, it warns that it is “crucial” that the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) in Spain is “not only free, but also seen to be free from political influence”. The text also stresses that “political authorities should not be involved, at any stage, in the selection process of judicial staff".

Judge who wrote draft of Catalan Constitution is expelled from judiciary by Spanish authorities

February 26, 2015 11:53 PM | ACN

Barcelona Provincial High Court judge Santiago Vidal, who has openly supported independence, has been expelled from the judiciary for a 3-year period by the Spain’s Judicial Power Council (CGPJ). The sanction is far from unanimous and has been adopted after an 9-hour-long debate among the CGPJ’s 21 members, since the liberal minority was against sanctioning the judge for having written a draft Constitution for an independent Catalonia. However, the conservative majority considered Vidal to have committed a grave mistake regarding his duty to respect the Spanish Constitution. Vidal has been arguing over the past few weeks that such a draft was written in his free time and is part of his freedom of expression and ideology. In addition, he defended himself by saying that when working as a judge, he has always followed the current Constitution and legal framework. After hearing the CGPJ’s decision, Vidal stated that the decision is “political” because he is “hostile to the regime”, “an expression from 40 years ago that I thought I would not hear in democracy”.

High Court judge presents draft for a future Catalan Constitution

February 2, 2015 07:10 PM | ACN / Georgina Garriga

Barcelona High Court judge Santiago Vidal, along with a team of other law experts, has presented a proposal for a future Catalan Constitution in the event of independence with the aim to steer debate. The draft includes 97 articles according to which Catalonia would become a parliamentary republic with no army. However, this proposal can be changed as a webpage has been created through which citizens can table amendments online. Along with this draft, two other constitution projects have been presented: ‘’ created by a team of Catalan law experts living abroad, and another constitution draft presented by ‘Lawyers for independence’ from the National Assembly of Catalonia (ANC). Spain’s Judicial Power Council (CGPJ) has called for the expulsion of Santiago Vidal from the Judiciary for his pro-independence initiatives.