Spain is one of the countries with the fewest convictions in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) between 1959 and 2018. With a total of 167, of which barely thirty have been added since 2013, according to data from both the ECHR and the report ‘Spain before the European Courts of Justice’, prepared by the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).

Thus, our country is among the European countries with the most positive figures, with a ratio of convictions by the ECHR per capita similar to Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom and lower than Austria, Belgium, Italy or Switzerland. In addition, in the statistics accumulated between 1959 and 2018 published by this entity, it registers data that is more positive than countries such as Switzerland (189), Portugal (345), Germany (340), France (1,013) and Italy (2,396), among others.

Spain is also within the European average in terms of sentences from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for non-compliance with the Treaties applied in our country since it joined the EU in 1986. According to the CGPJ report, the Spanish ratio is lower than that of the Union as a whole and similar to that of countries such as Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.

In the period between 2013 and 2017, Spain has accumulated 11 resources in this judicial entity. With regard to the result of the sentences handed down by the CJEU, it records 0.07 estimated sentences per million inhabitants, which is within the European average.

The ECHR is an international court which reviews individual or state claims based on violations of civil and political rights enunciated in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. Our country signed this convention in 1977 and was ratified on September 26, 1979, once approved by the Cortes Generales.

For its part, the CJEU monitors the legality of the acts of the EU institutions, ensures that the Member States respect the obligations laid down in the Treaties and interprets Union law at the request of national judges.

A consolidated justice system

Throughout the 40 years of its current democracy, Spain has consolidated itself as one of the most advanced and highest performing rule of law countries in the world in which the Judiciary has been advancing in areas of accessibility, free services and good management.

For example, in the latest Rule of Law index of the World Justice Project, a civil organisation that works to analyse and promote the rule of law throughout the world, Spain moved up two positions, becoming the 21st country with the greatest consolidation and compliance with the rule of law out of a list of 126.

This analysis, based on more than 120,000 household surveys and the work of 3,800 experts, highlights Spain in the area of criminal justice, among other aspects. In this area we are 20th in the ranking, thanks to our adherence to the due process of law (0.78 out of 1) and the absence of corruption in the justice system (0.75 out of 1).

The European Commission’s Justice Scoreboard, the main evaluator of the quality of Justice in the EU Member States, explains in its 2018 report that Spain complies with European standards on the safeguarding and objective nature of judicial independence.

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