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CAIXA BANK sentenced to refund 330,000 Euros plus interest & costs to off-plan buyers at the Guadalupe Hills development in Manilva

The development was marketed by the bankrupt British Estate Agent company Ocean View through which hundreds of buyers, mostly British and Irish, lost millions of euros in off plan purchases in Spain.

The consolidated Case Law of the Supreme Court and the good work of lawyers over the past decade has resulted in many buyers having their off-plan deposits returned.

Guadalupe Hills in Manilva was one of those developments that Ocean View sold like hot cakes to the British and Irish at the time of the real estate boom.  Despite the difficulty of the case, mainly due to the presence of Ocean View as an intermediary who first bought the houses and then resold them to the individual clients; after years of effort and waiting, the case has obtained its First Instance Judgment in the Court of first instance number 17 of Malaga.

There are still many buyers in court trying to recover amounts that Ocean View had guaranteed for itself but not for the buyers to whom they resold the properties. Promotions such as Gardens of Manilva, Estepona Beach and Country Club, Bay of the Rocks, Corals of Estepona … all followed the same way of operating and in all of them there have been difficulties in claiming against the actual developer and bank.

However, all these difficult cases are now finally being solved.  If good legal techniques are used, together with Case Law of both Provincial Appeal Courts and the Supreme Court, which follow a brilliant, anti-formalist approach and 100% in support of the buyers, then these difficult cases can be won.

The fact that (1) the sale was to Ocean View, (2) the bank guarantee was granted in favor of Ocean View and not of the final buyers, (3) there were no individual guarantees in favor of the buyers / claimants or (4) the developer did not  open the special account that the law requires, are no longer major obstacles, since 2014/2015, there are sufficient reasons for the Bank that issued the guarantee on the development to be condemned to return not only the principal but the interest from the date of payment of amounts and the legal costs.

The CostaLuz-DeCastro teams recently celebrated with their clients the recovery of 330,000 euros as the principal amount of the off-plan deposit plus a similar amount in terms of interest and costs.

There are still many cases of the Ocean View saga that are still unresolved and still in the Court process.

We now expect the same success in all these types of cases.

Abusive Clauses – Specialised Courts in Spain almost 100% in favour of consumers

According to the National Commission of Judicial Statistics, of our General Council of Judicial Power, 98.3 percent of the 9,000+ Court Decisions issued in 2017 by courts specialised in abusive clauses were favourable to the consumer.

98.3 percent of the 9,326 Decisions passed last year by the specialised First Instance Courts for individual actions on general conditions included in financing agreements with real estate collateral, whose borrower is a natural person, were favourable to the client. The information collected also reflects that in 22 of the 50 Spanish provinces the percentage of judgments favourable to the client was one hundred percent in 2017. Thus, all the resolutions issued last year were upheld in favour of the consumer in Albacete, Ávila, Barcelona, Badajoz, Cantabria, Castellón, Córdoba, Girona, Huelva, Huesca, Lugo, Lleida, Málaga, Murcia, Navarra, Palencia, Salamanca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Segovia, Soria, Toledo and Zamora.

The Supreme Court in Spain changes its criteria in relation to consumer agreements

he Supreme Court in Spain has changed its criteria in relation to consumer agreements, provided that it is proven by the Bank that the client was able to know the economic and legal consequences of its acceptance.

In a ground clause case in which bank and client reached an agreement in order to avoid judicial controversy, the Supreme Court considers, with quotes from the Advocate General in the Gravilescu case, that the imperativeness (Public Law rules are not negotiable) of the rules does not prevent the possibility of compromise, provided that the result of the agreement is in accordance with the legal system. It adds that the European Union itself has promoted in recent years relevant rules for the out-of-court settlement of conflicts, such as the Directive 2013/11/CEE on alternative dispute resolution in consumer matters, which has been incorporated into our legal system through Law 7/2017.

The Supreme Court affirms that the transaction, in spite of being different from mediation (a typical form of conflict resolution in consumer matters), is not contrary to the Consumer Law and adds that the Supreme Court has already ruled on the validity of the agreements in other areas such as between insurer and injured party agreeing a certain compensation, or in the claim for the return of amounts paid on account in off plan developments.

The sentence has the dissident vote of one magistrate.

Judge Orduña disagrees and understands that the Bank “predisposed a deceptive offer”

The ruling, which has the private vote of Judge Francisco Javier Orduña, a supporter of declaring the “absolute nullity of a banking practice that violates the rights of consumers”

Judge Orduña, a pioneer in defending the retroactivity of the ground clauses before this was declared by the European Court, disagrees with this version, since there is no evidence that the entity negotiated the new conditions.  And reminds that the active role that the consumer must have “to be able to consider that the clause in question has been the object of “is also required by the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter CJEU), cases, among others, of the Decision dated February 21, 2013, Banif Plus Bank, C-472/11, and of April 14, 2016, Caixabank, SA, C-381/14″

In his private opinion he warns that, the bank not only does not prove that the aforementioned documents were actually negotiated, but also does not question or challenge the facts of the contractual relationship alleged by the clients.

That is, “these documents were offered by the bank, which were predisposed and imposed by the same, so that not even a copy was delivered to them and, ultimately, although it is not necessary for their consideration as a general condition, that these documents constituted a practice of the banking entity destined to limit its patrimonial responsibility in the cases of contracting mortgage loans including ground clause, which could be declared abusive

In this way, the professional “predisposed a misleading offer” to the customer by “silencing” fundamental data on the legal and economic consequences, including the possibility of denouncing the abusive nature of the first clause and claiming the return of the amounts unduly paid amounts, he concludes.

Geoff Hurst among thousands of investors reclaiming Spanish property losses

World Cup legend Sir Geoff Hurst is among thousands of Britons offered fresh hope of retrieving money feared lost following the Spanish property crash almost a decade ago.

Hurst, famous for scoring a hat trick that helped England win the 1966 football World Cup, believed he would never see again the £250,000 deposit he made on a Marbella property investment in 2004.

The developer, DUJA, promised to hand over his new house in Marbella’s ‘Aloha Royal’ resort by 2007. But when the Spanish housing bubble burst in 2008, the developer failed to meet bank loan repayments and went bust, taking Hurst’s deposit with it.

The bank failed to protect Hurst’s down payment – a practice that became routine once banks sensed the impending crash – leaving Hurst, 74, to write off his loss.

But then he heard of successful claims made by Spanish residents who also did not have bank guarantees, and has now appointed Spanish legal firm Bufete Salmeron to retrieve his lost deposit.

Fernando Salmerón, director of Bufete Salmerón, was the first lawyer in Spain to achieve a ruling obliging Spanish banks to return deposits to victims of the off-plan property crisis.

The historic verdict, which was awarded in December 2013 in Seville on behalf of two separate clients, was reinforced by the Spanish Supreme Court in December 2015.

“Now three years on from the 2013 cases and one year on from the Supreme Court ruling,” said Salmerón, who is currently handling almost €3m (£2.6m) worth of claims in Spain on behalf of British clients.

He added: “There are still thousands of Brits who are unaware that they can get their money – as well as interest and legal fees – back. Those who are aware might be wary of entering into overseas legal battles or may doubt that they can win their case against big banks.” 

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Doble nacionalidad para británicos con mas de diez años de residencia en España

Are you cdoble-nacionalidadonsidering your future post Brexit?

Perhaps you would like to sign a petition giving you the opportunity to have Nationality in UK and Spain?

Then pop over to Doble nacionalidad para británicos con mas de diez años de residencia en España signed this change.org petition to allow the roughly 24,000 British people who live, work and pay taxes in Spain, the right to double UK-Spanish nationality.

As things stand, the most sensible thing to do now for people in their position in response to Brexit is to take on Spanish nationality, but under current legislation, that means having to renounce their British nationality to the Spanish authorities at the same time, as they do not allow Brits to have double nationality (they do allow this however to all South American citizens, and a few other countries, so it is quite possible).

Giving up British nationality probably feels like renouncing a great part of their identity, and allowing double nationality with the UK would solve this serious problem that Brexit has created.

Zika virus could hit Europe within WEEKS: Madeira and the Black Sea are on high alert - but France, Italy and Spain are also at 'moderate risk'
  • World Health Organisation says Madeira and parts of Russia and Georgia on the Black Sea coast are at high risk
  • In these areas there are established populations of the Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes - known to carry the Zika virus
  • 18  countries - a third of Europe - at moderate risk of the virus because Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are present
  • Expert: UK is low risk but the country still needs a contingency plan as infected travellers could arrive in the country
  • Scroll down for a full list of the countries most at risk of Zika - which causes birth defects and neurological problems

The Zika virus is expected to hit parts of Europe in late spring and summer, health officials warned today.

In its first assessment of the threat Zika poses to theregion, the World Health Organisation's European office said theoverall risk was small to moderate. 

Overall, a third of countries in Europe have a 'moderate' risk of an outbreak of the virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in babies.

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Ebola 'What is it? and Where did it Start!'

Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). In past outbreaks the death percentage was 88% now it has been reduced to 53.8%, either by medical care or due to mutation. It is unclear.

The recent outbreak isn't just the worst single Ebola outbreak in history, it has now killed more than all the others combined.

Healthcare workers are visibly struggling, the response to the outbreak has been damned as "lethally inadequate" and the situation is showing signs of getting considerably worse.

The outbreak has been running all year, but the latest in a stream of worrying statistics shows 40% of all the deaths have been in just the past three weeks.

So what can we expect in the months, and possibly years, to come? The stories of healthcare workers being stretched beyond breaking point are countless. A lack of basic protective gear such as gloves has been widely reported.The charity "Médecins Sans Frontières" has an isolation facility with 160 beds in Monrovia. But it says the queues are growing and they need another 800 beds to deal with the number of people who are already sick.This is not a scenario for containing an epidemic, but fuelling one.

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Festivals

Lots of festivals are celebrated in Spain.

The year starts with a bang on Nochevieja (New Year's Eve) when it is traditional to eat una uva (a grape) on each of the chimes of midnight. This is supposed to bring them luck for the New Year. It's rather tricky!

Nochevieja - New Year's Eve

las uvas de la suerte - the lucky grapes

People in Madrid gather in the Puerta de Sol and can be heard wishing one another:

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! - Happy New Year

The Reyes Magos arrive on 5th January and walk through the streets, sometimes on camels, throwing sweets to children.

Before going to bed the day night before, children put their zapatos (shoes) on the windowsill. When they awake the next morning, their shoes are full of presents.

los Reyes Magos - The Wise Men

los regalos - presents

los zapatos - shoes

los caramelos - the sweets

Another festival that is celebrated all over Spain is Semana Santa. This happens over Easter and there arelots of religious parades depicting parts of the Easter story.

Semana Santa - Semana Santa

As well as national fiestas there are regional ones too.

Valencia, a big city in Spain, has a special puppet festival called Las Fallas. Puppets are paraded down the street and there are lots of fireworks.

Las Fallas - Las Fallas

los fuegos artificiales - the fireworks

los petardos - firecrackers

La Feria de Abril is a two week long festival in Seville. There is lots of dancing and singing and many people wear flamenco dresses.

La Feria de Abril - La Feria de Abril

DID YOU KNOW…St George, the patron saint of England, is also the patron saint of the region of Cataluña and the 23rd April is celebrated there by men giving women una rosa (a rose) and women giving men un libro (a book).

una rosa - a rose

un libro - a book

How about a festival that’s all about tomatoes?

La Tomatina happens in Buñol and it’s all about los tomates – tomatoes! For one hour there’s a huge food fight where everyone throws tomatoes at each other- it gets very messy!

La Tomatina - La Tomatina

los tomates - tomatoes

You might have seen signs saying Aquí se habla inglés when you’ve been on holiday in Spain. This means English is spoken here.

You can use the same construction to talk about what happens at festivals. Can you guess which fiesta is being described in each of these phrases?

Aquí se habla inglés - English is spoken here

Se tiran los tomates - Tomatoes are thrown

Se comen uvas - Grapes are eaten

Which one would you like to attend?

¡Felices fiestas! - Happy festivities!

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Art

There are many famous Spanish artists. Here are some words you might need to talk about them.

un artista - an artist

el dibujo - the drawing

una obra de arte - a work of art

Diego Velázquez painted portraits of kings and noblemen as well as poorer people. His most famous painting is Las Meninas: a group of maids are shown taking care of Spanish princess, Infanta Margarita.  You can see this painting in the famous Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Diego Velázquez - Diego Velázquez

un pintor - a painter

un retrato - a portrait

expresarse - to express (oneself)

Perhaps you’ve heard of Pablo Picasso? Lots of his paintings have ‘squashed’ faces, where you can see all sides of the face. In his Weeping Woman painting, you can see the woman’s eyes and ears all at once. Picasso finished his first painting, Le Picador, when he was nine years old. It shows a man riding a horse at a bullfight. 

Pablo Picasso - Pablo Picasso

el pincel - the paintbrush

Salvador Dalí is a famous Spanish artist. He has painted unusual pictures of boats pulled by butterflies and elephants on stilts.  One of Dalí’s most famous paintings is called La persistencia de la memoria (The Persistence of Memory). It shows pocket watches melting on a beach.

Salvador Dalí - Salvador Dalí

Es una pintura de oleo. - It's an oil painting.

DID YOU KNOW…the earliest examples of Spanish art are found in Altamira where there are cave paintings from over 30 thousand years ago? 
Joan Miró was a painter and sculptor. He also created huge works of art on walls using la cerámica (ceramics or tiles) painted in bright colours.

DID YOU KNOW…the earliest examples of Spanish art are found in Altamira where there are cave paintings from over 30 thousand years ago? 

Joan Miró was a painter and sculptor. He also created huge works of art on walls using la cerámica (ceramics or tiles) painted in bright colours.

Joan Miró - Joan Miró

un escultor - a sculptor

una escultura - a sculpture

Many of Miró’s paintings are very simple and use shapes.

un círculo - a circle

un punto - a dot

un cuadrado - a square

una línea - a line

un espiral - a spiral

una estrella - a star

Works of art are not just found in galleries. Antoni Gaudí designed many buildings in Barcelona such as la Sagrada Familia, a Catholic church that looks like an ant hill. 

un arquitecto - an architect

Antoni Gaudí - Antoni Gaudí

la Sagrada Familia - la Sagrada Familia

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Spanish sport

Many sports are popular in Spain.

el tenis - tennis

el baloncesto - basketball

el fútbol - football

el golf - golf

El baloncesto es muy popular. - Basketball is very popular.

DID YOU KNOW…Spain has a very competitive basketball league and there are many Spanish basketball players in the American National Basketball Association (NBA)?

If you go to watch one of these sports you might want to show your support by shouting:

¡Venga! - Come on!

¡Adelante! - Get in there!

¡Gol! - Goal!

Handball – el balonmano – is a very popular sport in Spain. It is a very fast game where both teams try to throw the ball into their opponents’ goal.

una pelota - a ball

el gol - the goal

un jugador - a player

marcar - to score

DID YOU KNOW… The Spanish Royal Family has had several Olympians? The King Juan Carlos, his wife Sofia and their children Principe Felipe and Infanta Cristina have all competed in sailing.

la vela - sailing

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