Seven Theses on Spanish Justice to Understand the Prosecution of Judge Garzón

18 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2012

See all articles by Joxerramon Bengoetxea

Joxerramon Bengoetxea

Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU); Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law

Date Written: 2011


Judges may not decide cases as they wish, they are subject to the law they are entrusted to apply, a law made by the legislator (a feature of heteronomy). But in doing so, they do not take any instruction from any other power or instance (this contributes to their independence or autonomy). Sometimes, they apply the law of the land taking into account the norms and principles of other, international, supranational, even transnational systems. In such cases of conform interpretation, again, they perform a delicate balance between autonomy (domestic legal order and domestic culture of legal interpretation) and heteronomy (external legal order and culture of interpretation). There are common shared aspects of Justice in the Member States of the EU, but, this contribution explores some, perhaps the most salient, features of Spanish Justice in this wider European context. They are not exclusive to Spain, but they way they combine and interact, and their intensity is quite uniquely Spanish. These are seven theses about Justice in Spain, which combine in unique ways as can be seen in the infamous Garzón case, discussed in detail.

Keywords: Spanish Judiciary, Judicial statistics, Transition in Spain, Sociology of the Judiciary, Consejo General del Poder Judicial, Politicisation of Justice, Judicialisation of Politics, Spanish Constitutional Court, Spanish Supreme Court, Audiencia Nacional, Acusación Pública, Judge Garzón

Suggested Citation

Bengoetxea, Joxerramon, Seven Theses on Spanish Justice to Understand the Prosecution of Judge Garzón (2011). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 1, No. 9, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Joxerramon Bengoetxea (Contact Author)

Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU) ( email )

Barrio Sarriena s/n
Leioa, Bizkaia 48940

Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law ( email )

Avenida de la Universidad, nr.8
20560 Oñati

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