The first speaker, Joaquín Huelin Martínez de Velasco, Supreme Court Judge, discussed the positive aspects of the reforms implemented by the new laws. He highlighted that one such positive aspect is that these Acts continue in the same vein as former Act 30/1992, and, like this former Act, are at the pinnacle of the guarantees system for citizens before the Public Administrations. Huelin outlined citizens’ rights and duties before the Public Administration, and in particular, the rights of parties within administrative proceedings. He concluded his speech by briefly explaining the rules that govern legislative action and regulatory powers.
Following this, Aitor Cubo Contreras, Deputy Director of the Digital Administration Initiative and Services to Citizens of the Treasury and Public Administration, and Vicente Estebaranz, partner of Pérez-Llorca, debated the different practical and legal aspects of e-government. In particular, they discussed the topics of general access, the electronic registry of powers-of-attorney, the general electronic registry and electronic notifications.
The event continued with a round table discussion on administrative procedure, moderated by José Ramón de Hoces, partner at Pérez-Llorca, with the participation of three lawyers from Pérez-Llorca, namely Alberto Ibort, Jorge Toral and María Luisa Muñoz.
Albert Ibort began by discussing the system for notifications, particularly focusing on the push to move towards electronic notifications, identifying the main developments and the issues addressed by Act 39/2015. He concluded by stating that the legislator had been fairly generous with regard to the advantages of the new regulation in the preamble to the Act, however, at the same time, demanding in terms of introducing “self-assessment” as the Administration’s control mechanism. Ibort also explained the changes that have been made to the affidavit system, such as the Public Administration’s ex post control mechanisms.
Jorge Toral continued the round table by discussing the changes introduced by Act 39/2015 on the institution of proceedings, highlighting two changes in particular: firstly, the new system for provisional measures, whose scope is extended by reference to the Spanish Civil Procedure Act (“Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil”) (one of the most widely criticised aspects of the reform); and secondly, the initiation of proceedings by filing a complaint, with the introduction of the “clemency clause”, which was taken from the sector-specific regulation of Spanish Competition Law and is now applicable to all administrative proceedings.
María Luisa Muñoz discussed the case management, preliminary investigation and conclusion stages of proceedings. She highlighted the new regulation of government records, as well as the reference to the Spanish Civil Procedure Act with regard to the criteria for the admission of evidence, as well as regarding the functioning of the simplified procedure.
The session concluded with a few words by José Ramón de Hoces, who explained the changes made to special procedures, for example regarding state liability, sanctioning powers, the review of administrative acts and the Administration’s exercise of its legislative and regulatory powers.