Spain 1978 Constitution (reviewed 2011)

Table of Contents

Part IX. The Constitutional Court

Section 159

  1. The Constitutional Court shall consist of twelve members appointed by the King. Of these, four shall be nominated by the Congress by a majority of three-fifths of its members, four shall be nominated by the Senate with the same majority, two shall be nominated by the Government, and two by the General Council of the Judicial Power.
  2. Members of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed among magistrates and prosecutors, university professors, public officials and lawyers, all of whom must have a recognized standing with at least fifteen years’ practice in their profession.
  3. Members of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed for a period of nine years and shall be renewed by thirds every three years.
  4. Membership of the Constitutional Court is incompatible with any position of a representative nature, any political or administrative office, a management position in a political party or a trade union as well as any employment in their service, active service as a judge or prosecutor and any professional or business activity whatsoever.Incompatibilities for members of the Judicial Power shall also apply to members of the Constitutional Court.
  5. Members of the Constitutional Court shall be independent and enjoy fixity of tenure during their term of office.

Section 160

The President of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed by the King among its members, on the proposal of the full Court itself, for a term of three years.

Section 161

  1. The Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over the whole Spanish territory and is entitled to hear:
    1. against the alleged unconstitutionality of acts and statutes having the force of an act. A declaration of unconstitutionality of a legal provision having the force of an act and that has already been applied by the Courts, shall also affect the case-law doctrine built up by the latter, but the decisions handed down shall not lose their status of res judicata.
    2. Individual appeals for protection (recursos de amparo) against violation of the rights and freedoms contained in section 53(2) of the Constitution, in the circumstances and manner to be laid down by law.
    3. Conflicts of jurisdiction between the State and the Self-governing Communities or between the Self-governing Communities themselves.
    4. Other matters assigned to it by the Constitution or by organic acts.
  2. The Government may appeal to the Constitutional Court against provisions and resolutions adopted by the bodies of the Self-governing Communities, which shall bring about the suspension of the contested provisions or resolutions, but the Court must either ratify or lift the suspension, as the case may be, within a period of not more than five months.

Section 162

  1. The following are entitled to:
    1. Lodge an appeal of unconstitutionality: the President of the Government, the Defender of the People, fifty Members of Congress, fifty Senators, the Executive body of a Self-governing Community and, where applicable, its Assembly.
    2. Lodge an individual appeal for protection (recurso de amparo): any individual or body corporate with a legitimate interest, as well as the Defender of the People and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
  2. In all other cases, the organic act shall determine which persons and bodies shall have right of appeal to the Court.

Section 163

If a judicial body considers, when hearing a case, that a regulation having the force of an act which is applicable thereto and upon the validity of which the judgment depends, might be contrary to the Constitution, it may bring the matter before the Constitutional Court in the circumstances, manner and subject to the consequences to be laid down by law, which shall in no case have a suspensive effect.

Section 164

  1. The judgments of the Constitutional Court shall be published in the Official State Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado), with the dissenting opinions, if any. They have the force of res judicata from the day following their publication, and no appeal may be brought against them. Those declaring the unconstitutionality of an act or of a statute with the force of an act and all those which are not limited to the acknowledgment of an individual right, shall be fully binding on all persons.
  2. Unless the judgment rules otherwise, the part of the act not affected by unconstitutionality shall remain in force.

Section 165

An organic act shall make provision for the functioning of the Constitutional Court, the status of its members, the procedure to be followed before it, and the conditions governing actions brought before it.