30 Dec The Constitutional Court upholds the constitutionality of the (new) sixth book of the Catalan Civil Code
The recent ruling of the Constitutional Court supports the constitutionality of the provisions that to date make up the sixth book of the Catalan Civil Code. As a result, Catalonia has certain rules in the area of contractual law that apply in preference to the Spanish Civil Code.
From mid-May 2018 until mid-November of this year, the Constitutional Court has been deliberating on the appeal of unconstitutionality filed by the Spanish Government in relation to “Law 3/2017, of 15 February, of the sixth book of the Civil Code of Catalonia, relating to obligations and contracts, and modification of the first, second, third, fourth and fifth books”.
As mentioned in our previous article (“Libro sexto del Código Civil Catalán sobre obligaciones y contratos – una breve introducción”), while the Constitutional Court initially decided to suspend the application of the provisions of the new book of the Catalan Civil Code, later, in its Order of 03.10.2017, it decided to lift the agreed suspension again, so that the legal provisions of this body of law have applied since then.
Now, in its ruling from 13th November 2019, the Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal of unconstitutionality initially filed and, therefore, upheld the new sixth book of the Catalan Civil Code. However, the dismissal of the appeal of unconstitutionality is not complete, since the sentence declares article 621-54.3 unconstitutional and null.
In Art. 621-54.3 an attempt was made to regulate a notarial conflict resolution procedure, which is declared null and void by the ruling, since this extrajudicial procedure violates the powers attributed to the state in the field of procedural law.
In spite of the Constitutional Court definitively confirming the validity and constitutionality of the provisions that to date make up the sixth book of the Catalan Civil Code with this ruling, as stated previously, the sixth book has not yet been fully drafted, given that the general provisions, the non-contractual origins of the obligations as well as certain types of contracts are yet to be drafted in one or several subsequent laws.
It remains to be seen whether the publication of these other provisions, which will complete the sixth book of the Catalan Civil Code, will lead to a new appeal of unconstitutionality and, if so, how it will be resolved by the Constitutional Court.