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Navigating the Inclusion of New Documents in Spanish Civil Proceedings

As you may know, civil procedures are known for their formalism, and unlike other jurisdictions, the deadlines for submitting allegations and presenting documents and expert opinions are set by law and are preclusive. Failing to submit them on time could result in losing the opportunity to include them in the process.

When starting out in the legal profession, a common question arises: "Once the lawsuit has been filed and answered, can the parties introduce new documents into the civil lawsuit, or must the case be resolved based solely on the initial submissions?"

Well, while initially we can provide an affirmative answer, it should be noted that despite the possibility of submitting additional documents, this option is not unlimited, as certain cases are outlined in the Civil Procedure Law.

In this article, we'll examine the general rule and in the next one the main exceptions regarding the inclusion of new documents. Hopefully, this will be useful whether you need to submit new documentation or oppose the inclusion requested by the other party.

Naturally, the appropriate procedural moment for submitting new documents varies depending on the type of procedure (whether it's an oral hearing, ordinary proceeding, etc.), although the applicable exceptions are similar.

General Rule: Documents Are Submitted with the Lawsuit and with the Reply to the Lawsuit

According to Articles 264 and 265 of the Civil Procedure Law, the general rule is that both procedural and substantive documents, including expert reports, are submitted with the initial lawsuit and response.

Article 264 stipulates that the following procedural documents must be submitted with the lawsuit and response:

  1. Notarial power of attorney granted to the attorney, if applicable.

  2. Documents proving the representation claimed by the litigant.

  3. Documents or opinions proving the value of the litigious matter, for jurisdictional and procedural purposes.

Article 265 states that the following substantive documents must be submitted with the lawsuit and the reply to it:

  1. Documents on which the parties base their right to judicial protection.

  2. Means and instruments of evidence under Article 299 if they form the basis of the claims for protection.

  3. Certifications and records or content of registry books, proceedings, or files of any kind.

  4. Expert reports on which the parties base their claims, subject to Articles 337 (relating to the announcement of reports that cannot be submitted within the deadline) and 339 (relating to the appointment of a court-appointed expert).

  5. Reports prepared by private investigators.

In the following post of this blog we will be analysing the main exceptions to this general rule.

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