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Streamlining Justice: The Abbreviated Procedure in Spanish Criminal Law


In the realm of Spanish criminal law, the "procedimiento abreviado" (abbreviated procedure) serves as a streamlined approach to the adjudication of specific crimes. This procedural modality, faster and more simplified than the ordinary process, aims to expedite the resolution of cases where the facts are deemed clear and do not necessitate extensive investigation.


The key attributes of the abbreviated procedure in Spanish criminal law include:


  1. Conclusion of the Investigation: The abbreviated procedure typically initiates after the investigative phase, once the necessary actions have been taken to elucidate the facts.

  2. Decision of the Investigating Judge: The Investigating Judge may opt to transform preliminary proceedings (the so called DPs or "Dilgencias Previas") into an abbreviated procedure if there is sufficient evidence and the facts are clear.

  3. Abbreviated Procedure Ruling: Upon making this decision, the Investigating Judge issues an "Abbreviated Procedure Ruling." This ruling specifies the facts considered constitutive of a crime and identifies potential perpetrators.

  4. Formal Accusation: The issuance of the Abbreviated Procedure Ruling formalizes the indictment of the suspects. Subsequently, the parties are permitted to submit written accusations.

  5. Accusation Documents: The Public Prosecutor and the accusing parties submit accusation documents detailing the charges against the defendants. These documents must adhere to the facts and individuals outlined in the Abbreviated Procedure Ruling.

  6. Opening Ruling of Oral Trial: Following the receipt of accusation documents, the Investigating Judge issues an "The Ruling for the Opening of Oral Trial." This ruling determines the procedure to follow, the competent authority, and resolves issues related to precautionary measures and their lifting.

  7. Oral Trial: The process proceeds with the Oral Trial, during which evidence is presented, and arguments from both sides are heard.


It's important to note that the abbreviated procedure seeks to simplify the process in clear-cut cases, all while ensuring the defense rights of the accused. This procedure is not universally applicable but is reserved for crimes specifically designated by law for this type of processing.


Note: This publication does not constitute legal advice from its authors.

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