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Has social pressure against court fees won?

After two years of unprecedented mobilizations by legal operators against Justice, including a 'lobby' on the Internet, the Catalan minister is going to reform the fees, although he will not repeal them.

Never has a rule promoted by the Ministry of Justice that affected the legal world caused so much response from all professionals and legal operators in Spain. Two years after the Government of Mariano Rajoy approved, at the request of its Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón –now resigned–, Law 10/12 on judicial fees, the rain that has fallen against it since practically every fronts has been constant and almost impossible to summarize.
Lawyers – with their General Council and the 83 associations at the helm –, attorneys, the Judiciary, the Ombudsman, the parliamentary opposition groups, the unions, professors and judges, among other operators, have shown their rejection of a rule that according to the majority of critics "could be unconstitutional, since it violates the right of citizens to access Justice and obtain effective judicial protection enshrined in the Constitution."
But during this biennium, Minister Gallardón has been inflexible on this matter, defending the usefulness of the rates and turning a deaf ear to the countless protests, critical reports, several unconstitutionality appeals or the presentation of more than 170,000 signatures that were collected through of the Internet platform against court fees.
However, last week, and after one hundred days of taking office, the new Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, admitted in a radio interview that the legislation implemented on fees is an "element of tension" and that he hopes to be able to present before the end of January his reform proposal.
Sources from the Ministry of Justice have confirmed to EXPANSIÓN the minister's statements, and have added that "this proposal to review the rates, which will be an adjustment or modulation, will be submitted to lawyers, solicitors and other legal operators so that it can be agreed upon." .
It has not been specified what impact this reform will have, but its repeal is ruled out because the minister has recalled that "there must be a system of fees so that those who make particular use of Justice collaborate in its financing."
However, this fact does not satisfy the most belligerent legal operators against fees, such as lawyers.
Its president, Carlos Carnicer, has stated that “the Legal Profession does not like the verb review. We ask for repeal, not an agreement or a step back on rates. "We ask for its repeal as we consider it unconstitutional, unfair and disproportionate."
For his part, the dean of the Cartagena Bar Association and creator of the Twitter Brigade against taxes, José Muelas, assures that "a reform must involve a repeal or a revision of the Catalan one, which is eliminated for natural persons and the pymes. In any case, an agreement before the end of the month seems impossible.
A 'lobby' of 10,000 Internet lawyersThe Twitter Brigade, which uses the #T symbol on the profiles of its supporters on the networks, is a protest movement, regardless of ideologies, that wants to warn citizens "of the dismantling of justice."
It was born on Twitter and this pressure group that already brings together more than 10,000 lawyers and jurists from all over Spain has spread to other social networks such as Facebook and Instagram and a website. It was created in November 2013, on the first anniversary of the publication in the BOE of the judicial fees law.
This lobby assures that «the Rates Law is manifestly unfair. Furthermore, although it is said that the proceeds will go to Free Justice, it is not known what the money has been used for.
Rate Chronology– 31/05/2012
The CGPJ publishes a harsh report against rates.
– 28/09/2012
The Legal Profession rejects the imposition of new fees because it makes it impossible for citizens to access Justice.
– 31/10/2012
Thousands of lawyers protest throughout Spain against the introduction of fees.
– 20/11/2012
Law 10/2012 on judicial fees promoted by Minister Gallardón is approved.
– 30/11/2012
The 83% of the Spaniards, against judicial fees, according to a Metroscopia survey.
– 12/02/2013
The Ombudsman presents her recommendations to the minister to avoid the negative effect of the fees.
– 19/02/2013
The Socialist Parliamentary Group, accompanied by the Justice for All Platform, presents its unconstitutionality appeal to the TC.
– 06/09/2013
Order of the National Court raising the question of unconstitutionality before the TC.
– 20/03/2014
Order of the Supreme Court establishing the inadmissibility of fees in the review of final sentences.
– 06/05/2014
Sentence of the TC that declares unconstitutional the imposition of judicial fees by the Generalitat of Catalonia.

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