Strasbourg, 28 January 2016
CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN PROSECUTORS(CCPE)
1. Does the prosecution service in your country work strategically with ensuring quality in the work of prosecutors? If yes, how is that done?
First of all in Spain there is a special care in the process of recruitment that assure the qualification of the candidates. The access to the judicial career is based on the principles of merit and capacity. In order to join the Public Prosecutor’s Office, duly qualified candidates must pass an open and public competition, which will be held together with the examinations for the Judiciary (namely in the same way that the access to the Judicial Career since there is only one selection procedure which is common for judges and prosecutors). Successful candidates opting for Prosecution must then pass a training course ( about 9 months) at the Centre for Legal Studies
This period of initial training is follow of a continuous training curriculum for prosecutors. Participation in continuous training activities is mandatory for Prosecutor specialized in different matters, for instance, organised crime, terrorism, corruption, environmental crime, drug trafficking, juvenile crimes, crimes against women, hates crimes, judicial cooperation etc.
The principle of specialitation as a main criteria of organization of the Prosecutor Services is very useful to maintain the quality of work . Specialized Prosecutors perform their duties under the coordination of a Prosecutor Chief of specials units and this coordination assure the unity of action, the adecuate and updated training and it helps prosecutors to face complex cases
Periodically, the inspection service pay a visit to the different Offices of Prosecutors and check the quality of work.
2. Which criteria are considered crucial in your country for securing the highest quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors: their independence, impartiality, human and material resources, conditions of work etc.? Please briefly describe.
A complete initial and continuous training is essential but it is also important to provide prosecutors with material resources, like proper offices, computers, access to law and jurisprudence/case law databases, etc. The prosecutors should also have enough administrative support.
3. Are there any indicators, formal or informal, used in your country in order to assess the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors, for example, the number of cases considered, the length of the consideration, the complexity of the cases considered etc.? Please briefly describe.
We don’t have indicators to asses the quality and efficiency of the prosecutor’s work.
4. Is there a formal or informal procedure for evaluation of the work of prosecutors, how often it is evaluated, by whom, and with what consequences? Do the prosecutors have the right to raise formal or informal objections to the results of the evaluation and to its consequences?
In Spain we don’t have a special procedure for evaluation of the work of each prosecutor.
The inspection service could find complaints or misconduct problems in the work of some prosecutor during their inspection visits. If the problems are considering a disciplinary offence it is necessary to initiate a disciplinary proceeding.
5. As regards the fight against organised crime and terrorism, are there any specific conditions, criteria, procedures or indicators created for prosecutors in your country in order to:
- facilitate their work? Yes. We have Specialised Offices in terrorism and organised crime matters with specialised prosecutors.
- Evaluate their work? No.
6. Are there in your country recent legislative reforms to fight more effectively against organised crime and terrorism and how are these reforms seen in relation to the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors? Please briefly describe.
Spain amended the Criminal Code to adjust their provisions to the EU decisions and directives. Some changes have also been done in procedural criminal law in order to implement the Directives about procedural rights. The harmonization in substantive definitions and in procedural rights helps to create mutual confidence between European prosecutors and is useful to understand better the different judicial systems.
The last amendment of the Spanish Criminal Procedural Law has established new time limitations for the criminal investigations not only for the new criminla cases but also for the old one without providing judges and prosecutors with personal and material resources for fulfilling these new investigation deadlines. The general assessment of these modifications is pretty negative since new legal provisions cannot be enforced with no proper financial investment. It’s very difficult for prosecutor to examine old proceedings and try to complete them within the new time limits.
7. Do you consider that current international conventions, as well as international organisations, like Eurojust, Europol and Interpol, are sufficient to effectively fight against organised crime and terrorism?
Eurojust, Europol and Interpol help prosecutors in judicial cooperation and are capable to create methods to assure a better coordination in cases of parallel investigations but the efficiency rather depends on the work of national prosecutors.
8. What are the major challenges in your country as regards the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors and, in particular, their fight against organised crime and terrorism?
Spanish Prosecutors demand more human and material resources but over all the Spanish Prosecution Service needs to have an independent and sufficient budget to assure an efficient performance of its duties. Nowadays the Prosecutor Service depends on the financial decisions of the Ministry of Justice about everything: the Ministry decides about the number of prosecutors, the number of civil servants in the prosecutor’s offices, the material resources, ITC matters, etc. Even the prosecutors training depends on the Ministry of Justice. It’s essential to entitle the Prosecution Service to desing, plan and put in place its training curricula for prosecutors to assure the quality of their work.