The European Court of Justice has this morning ruled that Spanish law contravenes EU law by refusing judges the freedom to stop an eviction even where a judge deems a mortgage contains abusive clauses. According to the EU Court, judges must be free to determine that a mortgage is abusive, and that an eviction may not take place.
At present in Spain, any legal view on abusive mortgage clauses require further Court action: now the EU has ruled that a mortgage default hearing may take abusive clauses immediately into account and stop an eviction if the mortgage has been deemed to include them. The ECJ says, however, that the present requirement for a second hearing is insufficient justice because it does not avoid the definitive loss of a property and resulting eviction, but is only concerned with the bank compensating for its abuse.
In short, the ECJ said that Spain had made it excessively difficult for normal people to stand a chance at proper justice against abusive mortgage clauses, and that its mortgage legislation seemed designed to deny consumers rights guaranteed by EU directives. The judgement was in response to a case brought in Barcelona against the CatalunyaCaixa bank, which had evicted someone for mortgage default. It really does seem, at times, that Spain has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, through the Courts before it will behave decently, but whatever one’s views of the EU, in this instance, householders may find themselves grateful beyond measure to its justice.