Options for those appealing Turismo fines as Government presses ahead with enforcement

As I have posted previously, normally in Spain, fines are paid at the start of Court appeals, with the money being repaid if the appeal is successful. With these cases, however, José Escobedo has submitted a petition to the Court hearing most of the appeals (Court 2) requesting that payment of the fines is not enforced while the case is ongoing.

That Court has now agreed to suspend enforcement, but only if the amount of the fine is lodged as a guarantee – either as an aval in a bank account with a guarantee given to the Court, or direct with the Court itself in an escrow account – in order to prove to the Court that you could pay in the end if you were to lose the case. Since this money is guaranteed to the Court, it is untouchable while the appeal is being heard. As I’ve said before, the whole process can take up to a year or so.

This leaves everyone appealing with three options. For those able to raise the money, you can either lodge it as a guarantee or pay the fine straight to the Government. Either way, the payment would have to be made now, and you would get it back if the Court decided in your favour. Moreover, the Government would not put a charge on your property or embargo your bank account. The advantages to putting the money on account as a guarantee rather than paying it to the Government are first that interest and surcharges would not be added to the fine if you ended up losing the case in Court, and secondly, that if you end up winning, a refund would be made immediately. If the fine is paid to the Government it could take another year to get your money back.

The third alternative is not to pay. At first glance, this might seem the most attractive option, but those who neither pay the fine nor lodge the money as a bank guarantee will end up paying 20% interest on the fine if they end up losing the case, and moreover, the Government will embargo property and/or bank accounts. Unfortunately, it has already become clear that the Government is pushing full steam ahead with the fine enforcements: some accounts have already been embargoed.

There are, so far, appellants in all three categories. Evidently, for those who simply cannot find the money the decision is simple, but for those who could, please understand that the threat to place charges on property and embargo accounts is not an empty one. I repeat that some accounts have already been embargoed; clearly it will take longer for the Government to register a charge against the property concerned. If you are going to pay, or put up the money as a guarantee, you need to act as quickly as possible to avoid being embargoed in the meantime. For those who choose to place the money as guarantee, this must be done in a particular Court-approved way, and José Escobedo can naturally arrange this for you. Whatever you decide, please let him know as soon as you can so that he can get the process moving straightaway, and hopefully avoid an even worse situation for you.”


  1. Author

    Kidder has asked:


    Do you have a timeframe for raising this fine money?

    I had a fine confirmed full and final on 20 December and there’s 2 months to raise the papers with court? I’m going to have to try and raise this money but could take me 4 weeks.

    The answer is that I don’t, but the timescale is as you can imagine if they have already started to embargo bank accounts even of those whom they know to be appealing! And this despite the fact that appellants legally have two months to submit the appeal to the Court. All that can be done is to treat the timescale as very urgent, and hope that no embargo has been placed on bank accounts, nor a charge on property, by the time the papers are lodged with the Court showing that the money is in an aval account.

  2. Thanks

    When you say embargo property…does that mean your not allowed to sell it? What is meant by embargoed in this instance?

    Does Jose have a feel for outcomes of court cases?

  3. Author

    Bank accounts will be embargoed, i.e. frozen, apart from some essential charges (as I understand it) that can still be taken from it. A charge on a property, however, is different. It is registered against the property in the same way as a mortgage would be, with a notation in the land registry. That way, if you were to sell it, it would show up, to a conveyancer and the notary himself, as a charge that needed to be cleared before the property could be sold.

    José’s feel for the outcome of these appeals is as mine, that the likeliest scenario is a reduction of the fine to the minimum. The actual advertising is pretty undeniable, in the main, so the Court would be unlikely to throw the Government’s case out altogether. Our best hope is to get the fine reduced to the minimum as a result of various arguments, including the disproportionality of the fine. As such, however, the appeal will still technically be lost, and so charges will apply, as will any costs to be incurred in lifting any embargoes.

  4. Thank you Janet… Much appreciated.

  5. Janet

    I know this a worse case scenario, but say your property is embargoed, but you find a buyer, will the notary allow you to sell and use any spare money from the sale to pay the fine lodged against the property?

    This is all very surreal tbh.

  6. Author

    No, I’m afraid not. The fine would have to be cleared before signing … at the very least it would have to be cleared at the point of signing. This is as I understand things.

  7. Dear Janet
    I follow your website on a daily basis and have done so since receiving a fine. Unfortunately I should point out that there is an inaccuracy regarding the point you make about “the court agreeing to suspend enforcement …………….”.
    You can check the authenticity of my statement with Jose Escebedo. I was not given the option or the authority by the court to lodge payment of my fine in an escrow account. I am not alone this has happened in other cases. Now I am in a position of having to pay a further 911 Euros to the Procurator Fiscal’s office which is a tax imposed by the government to allow Snr Escebedo to lodge an appeal on my behalf against the court’s decision to disallow us the opportunity of lodging 13,800 Euros in their escrow account. They will only accept payment in full, that is 13,800.00 Euros, plus 20% surcharge, plus 5% interest per annum. The judges who are looking at these cases do nat appear to be following any guidelines and there is inconsistency in the handling of the cases.

  8. Author

    Thanks Anna. Of course it was from José Escobedo that my initial info came, but I’ve also seen the Court paperwork on this, and the escrow option is equal to the bank guarantee option – and neither requires interest and surcharge up front. I’m afraid I’m not surprised, however, that the Courts are not being consistent in this, and I do hope José’s challenge on this on your behalf is successful, as I believe it must be given the judgement I’ve seen. The further fee charged just to appeal is the national Government’s new “judicial tax” – a scandal in my view.

  9. Hi Janet,

    Yesterday I had an email from Jose informing me that my fine has had a suspended enforcement from the courts with no interest or surcharges and I have been asked to deposit €13800 into Banesto Bank. One word which is cropping is escrow could you tell me what it means, also I was going to pay the 13800 into my Spanish bank account,can I still do this or has it to be paid into Banesto

  10. Author

    Hi there, escrow is a legally understood term where the money is held for one person by another, in this case the Court holds it on your behalf. Banesto will be the bank where the Court has its escrow account. The whole point is that the money must go into a secure account that the Court could draw on … so it could never just be in your own account. If it were in an account in your name it would have to be a closed guaranteed account, which would cost money (and time) to set up. The Court’s own escrow account is quicker and cheaper, and serves the same purpose.

    I’m glad to see that your situation actually confirms what I’ve just said to Anna, that an escrow or personal guaranteed account requires merely the fine money to be deposited, without interest or charges.

  11. Thanks Janet,

    Now sending their blood money over to Jose to lodge with them

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