Article 6 of the Spanish Civil Code contains a basic rule:
“la ignorancia de las Leyes no excusa de su cumplimiento”. Translated: “the ignorance of the laws does not liberate you from obeying them”.
It is certainly not too much to stress the importance of this general rule if you, as a foreign company, develop activities in Spain. If the Spanish do not even know all their laws perfectly, how are you going to know them?
Many rules are logical: a red traffic light means you have to stop. But let us look at the issue of the applicability of general sales conditions.
The rules concerning general sales conditions contained in, for example, the Dutch Civil Code only apply to legal relations between Dutch contracting parties. Often people assume that these rules also apply to contracts with Spanish parties, but that is not the case.
Spanish legislation can determine that you do not have applicable general sales conditions, if they were not also explicitly agreed upon and signed by both parties and/or not filed with the Spanish register for moveable goods (“registro de bienes muebles”).
It is common for us to be contacted by clients who are frustrated by being confronted with rules and regulations they are not familiar with or believe are not applicable. Frustration is a very natural reaction, but you as in your own country are expected to obey the law, whether or not you know the law.
If you contact us and explain your situation, we can easily tell you within a short time, which specific rules you will have to take into consideration. That is what we are here for! We help you learn the Spanish rules and apply them.
All this can be quite confusing, because rules and legislation as well as their application can be unclear or even contradictory. Even for us it is not always easy to interpret all the information coherently.
Civil and Labour Law
Civil law is the basis of all areas of private law. In most European countries civil law is embedded in civil law codes that include many rules that govern our daily life. Think of transactions like the sale and purchase of goods or real estate, rent, acquisition, mortgages, tort, product liability, incorporations, inheritances, consumer protection, contracting and many more issues.