The purpose of this post is to review legal English terminology in context by discussing a current legal topic:
Article 76 e) of law 50/1980 on legal defense insurance contracts (“Ley sobre el contrato de seguro de defensa jurídica”) has been declared null and void as it contravenes articles 24.1 and 117 of the Spanish Constitution (due process & principle of exclusivity of the ordinary jurisdiction).
The Spanish Constitutional Court has held that the parties may not impose mandatory arbitration clauses in legal defense insurance contracts. In this regard, the Court has ruled that a clause whereby one of the parties limits the right of the other to seek judicial relief and imposes mandatory arbitration, not only infringes due process but also the “principle of exclusivity of ordinary jurisdiction”, by imposing a single alternative for seeking appropriate remedies, which is left at the discretion of one of the parties.
Therefore, pursuant to the wording of law 50/1980, in the event that a controversy is submitted to an arbitration proceeding, the possibility of resorting to the courts at a later time, would be precluded. In this regard, the insurer might submit a controversy to an arbitration proceeding without the consent of the insured.
In sum, the Court has ruled that Article 76 e) of law 50/1980 is unconstitutional as it would allow one party to impose arbitration as the only recourse to resolve a dispute, which is a clear infringement of the right to due process, one of the fundamental rights protected by the Spanish Constitution.
Tribunal Constitucional (Constitutional Court);
To hold, to rule, to find, to declare (decidir, determinar, declarar);
To contravene, to infringe (vulnerar, infringir);
Null and void (nulo, sin efecto);
To seek relief, to seek remedies (recursos legales a disposición de las partes en las diferentes modalidades previstas por la legislación incluyendo pero no limitados a la obtención de daños y perjuicios);
Mandatory (obligatorio, de obligado cumplimiento);
At the discretion of one of the parties (a la elección de una de las partes);
Controversy, dispute (controversia);
Due process (derecho a la tutela judicial efectiva);
To preclude (impedir)