Supreme Court of Spain

Supreme Court of Spain
Tribunal Supremo
Spanish Judiciary Badge-Supreme Court Magistrate.svg
Tribunal Supremo Logotipo
Tribunal Supremo, Madrid.jpg
Badge of the Supreme Court Judges
LocationConvent of the Salesas Reales, Madrid
Composition methodAppointed by Monarch on selection by the General Council of the Judiciary
Authorized byConstitution of Spain
Judge term lengthAppointed for life until retired at 70
No. of positions74 (may change by Act of Parliament)
WebsitePortal del Tribunal Supremo
President of the Supreme Court
CurrentlyCarlos Lesmes Serrano
SinceDecember 2013
Vice President of the Supreme Court
CurrentlyÁngel Juanes Peces
Since8 January 2014

The Supreme Court (Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de España; TS) is the highest court in Spain for all matters not pertaining to the Spanish Constitution. The court meets in the Convent of the Salesas Reales in Madrid and consists of a president and an indeterminate number of magistrates, appointed to the five chambers of the court.


The Supreme Court is the court of last resort and can provide finality in all legal issues. It can exercise original jurisdiction over matters of great importance but usually functions as an appellate court able to investigate procedural irregularities arising from actions in the national courts or Provincial courts. It can order ordinary and extraordinary remedies against decisions of lower courts according to the provisions of Spanish law.

The Supreme Court is responsible for processing substantial complaints of wrongdoing against prominent persons such as government ministers, senators representatives and members of the various regional parliaments, senior judges, including the President and judges of the Constitutional Court, the highest tribunal in the country.

It also processes formal applications by the procurator (public prosecutor) to outlaw political parties,

Generally, there is no avenue of appeal against a Supreme Court decision although in criminal matters, the Crown may exercise the prerogative of mercy to invalidate sentences imposed or ratified by the Supreme Court, but constitutionally, such appeals are resolved by the Council of Ministers and then formalized by the monarch, as head of state.

Supreme Court decisions may, exceptionally, be overruled by the Constitutional Court if there has been an infringement of rights and freedoms of citizens embodied in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 or by decisions emanating from the European Court of Human Rights since Spain is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Constitutional Status[]

The Supreme Court is one of the three branches of the Spanish government, alongside the legislature and the executive

To ensure its independence, the Supreme Court has the prerogative to enforce its actions under the principle of obedience to final judicial decisions enshrined in the Constitution. Also, most its resolutions are reliable since they are solutions to appeal against the considered decisions of lower courts.

The Supreme Court is the only entity that can order the detention of members of its own judiciary or the legislature or executive authorities and then impeach them according to the additional civil and criminal obligations, which, by law, it must discharge diligently in the performance of their official duties.

Peer review is provided by the General Council of the Judiciary, a panel of senior Supreme Court judges that monitors the Supreme Court practice and operation, but the decisions of this Council are advisory and may be annulled by due process in a Supreme Court action.


The Supreme Court is divided into five chambers, each dealing with a specific areas of Spanish law that may affect ordinary citizens and four special chambers dealing with state issues.

  1. First Chamber of Civil Law
  2. Second Chamber of Criminal Law
  3. Third Chamber of Contentious-Administrative law (judicial court dealing with issues related to the activity of the public powers, administrative law)
  4. Fourth Chamber of Labour law
  5. Fifth Chamber of Military Law
Supreme Court of Spain

Presidents of the Chambers[]

Governing bodies[]

In subordination to the General Council of the Judiciary, the Supreme Court's governing bodies are responsible for hearing and resolving administrative issues that may arise:

Management bodies[]

List of presidents of the Supreme Court[]

See also[]

External links[]