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Jurisdictional functions

The profession of lawyer, Court attorney & Other public officials

Main legal professions in Spain

Judges, public prosecutors and court clerks | Lawyers and court attorneys | Notaries and registrars


Judges, Public Prosecutors and Court Clerks


The Constitutional Law on the Judiciary establishes that jurisdictional functions may only be exercised by professional judges and magistrates, who make up the judicial profession.

Entry to the judicial profession is based on the principles of merit and ability. Judicial appointments, the selective process of which is conducted in conjunction with appointments to the profession of public prosecutor, are subject to passing a public examination and a theoretical and practical selection course. Candidates must hold a law degree or equivalent qualification.

When in active service, judges, magistrates and public prosecutors may not hold any other public office, nor may they be members of any political party or trade union; they are subject to a statutory regime of conflicts of interest designed to ensure that they are entirely independent.

Court clerks, whose duty it is to exercise judicial authentication, are civil servants; they constitute a legally-trained senior corps of the civil service within the Justice Administration, which is dependent upon the Ministry of Justice. As a rule, court clerks are selected through the public examination system. Candidates must hold a law degree or equivalent qualification. They perform a key role, inter alia, in facilitating proceedings and managing court administration.

Main legal professions in Spain

Main legal professions in Spain


Lawyers and Court Attorneys


The profession of lawyer is open and independent. Lawyers are not subject to any government authority, and practise their profession on the basis of open competition. They are involved in managing and defending citizens’ interests in all manner of court proceedings, legal advice, and representation of their clients, unless reserved by law to other legal professions. All lawyers are under a duty to register as members of a bar association.

Court attorneys represent the rights and interests of the parties before the courts of justice under a power of attorney granted for said purpose, and receive all notifications in relation to their clients. By virtue of their status as co-operators in the administration of justice, they have taken on a greater role in the work of management and procedural tasks in legal proceedings. All court attorneys are likewise under a duty to register as members of a professional body.

Entry to the profession of lawyer or court attorney is subject to holding a university degree in law, or equivalent qualification, proof of professional competence, accredited by passing the relevant specialised training prescribed by law, and passing an examination under the terms determined by the Ministry of Justice.

Lawyers are paid fees according to services rendered, on a fixed or periodic basis, or billing by the hour. Fees may be freely agreed between client and lawyer, within the bounds of the relevant code of conduct.

Court attorneys are members of the College of Court Attorneys, the governing board of which ensures that they perform their duties effectively and adequately.

Notaries and Registrars


Notaries and registrars are public officials who are directly accountable to the Ministry of Justice; however, they are also members of professional bodies. The notary’s role is to authenticate private legal documents, assisting in the correct drafting of the same and attesting as to the manner and form in which such documents are expressed.

The role of the registrar is to assess or verify the legality of documents presented for entry in the public registers of land and companies, which respectively record rights regarding real estate and companies, as well as other documents and deeds.

Entry to the legal professions of notary and registrar is subject to holding a law degree or equivalent qualification, and to passing a public examination. Members of both professions are remunerated in the form of fees paid directly by the client requiring their services, under a system of duties approved by the State.

Source: – Ministerio de la Presidencia (CIF S-2811001-C). Complejo de la Moncloa 28071 Madrid – 07/12/2023

Law Offices of Palladino Pellón & Associates – Criminal Defense Lawyers | Main legal professions in Spain