This is the area of rights and obligations. All of our clients’ actions have consequences. Our mission is for them to know the commitments that they are entering into and the obligations that they are assuming at all times.
An area of special importance is civil liability for products, accidents, for non-fulfilment of service provisions, etc., which are not always totally covered by the insurance policies that they hire.
The ever-growing adaptation of internal legislation to European directives in certain issues has led us to greater legal certainty, as legislation is carried out under the supervision of a higher entity, which has many times mandated the modification of laws.
Contracts must be clear and contain what the parties truly desire, foreseeing consequences of lack of fulfilment so as to avoid legal procedures later on. This is how we try to advise our clients.
We intervene in company purchase and sale processes. The very situation of crisis itself and the new stage have led businessmen and women, on one hand, to decide to grow by purchasing competitors, and on the other, due to not have a generational replacement, to sell. The problem that sometimes arises is when a family company is in question, where there are generally more opposing opinions for the purchase or sale, as opposed to when there are non-related partners.
Our legislation and taxation are highly favourable for these processes.
With the new bankruptcy law and the continues changes it has undergone, the intent has been to ascertain, if the company is viable, for it to have a certain ease in negotiating agreements with its creditors, and if it is not viable, for it to be able to sell its branches of activity. The great problem with the latest reform as that debts are carried over from Social Security, which has made it impossible to sell production units.
With the bankruptcy cases we have worked on, in some cases we managed to refinance, and in others, sell branches of activity. However, the scenario has changed: we always attempt to prevent the company’s administrative entity from declaring a bankruptcy rating and for partners from needing to respond.
Our work is focused on advising our clients, especially regarding changes having taken place over the past years of crisis, concerning labour legislation to facilitate viable companies being able to rescind work contracts for their employees. However, this change was corrected by the courts, which have interpreted in a fashion less favourable for companies. The rigidity of the labour market is one of the possible reasons that this is not recovering. The more protection and the greater the protected collectives are, the more difficult it is to hire.
Labour costs have been paid at the expense of employees holding less spending power. However, this measure is not beneficial in any way. It would be more productive to reduce Social Security and dismissal costs.
Family and Inheritance Law
One of the advantages of our system is that when a family company is inherited, it is exempt from taxation at 95% under a series of conditions, which allows the company fabric to survive. Regard the rest of cases, most inheritances are exempt from taxation as they are below the minimum standards set by the law for taxation.
One special element within our system is the fact that many foreign individuals with secondary residences in Spain are affected. They must pay taxes and apply double-taxation agreements with their countries of origin.
The Spanish Treasury is one of the most advanced in the world in receiving taxation information that affects statements from taxable residents in Spain. Its database grows every day. Fines for not meeting obligations are high.
Taxation regulations are very strict and leave little wiggle room for tax engineering for most taxpayers. Great taxation pressure falls on their shoulders, which is perhaps a far cry from other European countries, but acts as a huge weight. This is because it does not allow them to create savings and their own resources, since industrial margins and the lowest salaries, fruit of the recession and greater taxation pressure, have created a fiscally-controlled country.
Our task is to help the client to rigorously meet all of their taxation obligations, while attempting to take advantage of the few taxation advantages left, either by creating a new company or by hiring personnel.
Litigation and Arbitration
Our courts and judges are highly effective. They quickly resolve cases, except for a few exceptions. However, we still say that material and human resources are lacking.
The rapidity of a procedure is what provides security to business traffic. Our procedural legislation, generally speaking, is effective. The specialisation that has taken place within the judiciary in different areas of law is highly important.
One pending issue is that arbitration is not frequently used.
Restructuring and Financial
This is one of the elements worked on with excessive frequency: economic bonanza led many people to invest in an inflated industry, such as real estate. Before the real estate bubble burst, many people had invested part of their resources in construction and had taken on debt with real estate projects that later failed. The task lay in renegotiating with banks for assets that would later be on the market, or non-recourse debt, although they called it a purchase-sale.
We have had to negotiate refinancing assets and the purchase of goods for our clients with banks. This is because when they decide to cut off credit for them, along with the banking system’s crisis, along with the closure of banking entities and mergers taking place, many companies were asphyxiated.