Español jurídico: crisis procesales

Legal Spanish for Translators

crisis procesales; terminación anormal del proceso; modos anormales de terminación del proceso

Translators are sometimes at a loss as to how to render these seemingly cryptic expressions that simply describe the termination of a civil action without a decision or judgment on the merits (sin resolución o sentencia sobre el fondo). Indeed, since it is thought that civil proceedings should end with a judgment on the merits, these other means of concluding such proceedings are often described by legal scholars as terminación anormal del proceso or as crisis procesales, although such circumstances are perhaps more clearly described collectively as terminación anticipada del proceso por voluntad de las partes. These include allanamiento, desistimiento, renuncia, transacción judicial and caducidad en la instancia.

Allanamiento (a la demanda) is simply the defendant’s total or partial admission of the allegations set forth in the plaintiff’s complaint (demanda). This results in a judgment for the plaintiff (sentencia condenatoria) if the defendant admits all of the allegations (known as allanamiento total) or, if warranted, a trial of the allegations denied (cuestiones no allanadas) if the defendant admits only some of the plaintiff’s allegations (called allanamiento parcial).

Desistimiento and renuncia denote ways in which the plaintiff may dispose of the proceedings prior to trial. Desistimiento is the plaintiff’s abandonment of a proceeding without waiving his right to bring an action at a later date against the same defendant based on the same claims (el actor tiene por abandonado el proceso sin que ello suponga renuncia a la acción). The judge then dismisses the case without prejudice (el tribunal dicta auto de sobreseimiento y el actor podrá promover nuevo juicio sobre el mismo objeto). In contrast, renuncia (a la acción) denotes the plaintiff’s waiver of all claims against the defendant and results in a judgment for the defendant that has full res judicata effects (sentencia absolutoria con autoridad de cosa juzgada).

The parties may likewise bilaterally agree to terminate proceedings prior to trial by reaching an in-court settlement (transacción judicial; acuerdo transaccional judicial). The court approves or sanctions their settlement agreement (homologa la transacción), issuing an auto homologando la transacción, similar to what in US practice is called an “agreed judgment,” “consent judgment” or “stipulated judgment,” i.e., an in-court settlement that becomes a court judgment when the judge sanctions it.

And, finally, a proceeding may be terminated by the parties’ failure to prosecute (also called “lack of prosecution” or “want of prosecution”). A suit will be deemed to have been abandoned if the parties remain inactive for a statutorily defined period, after which the action lapses (caduca). This situation is known as caducidad en/de la instancia, and may be described as “constructive abandonment of action for failure to prosecute.” Since no decision on the merits has been rendered (la pretensión queda imprejuzgada), the plaintiff is free to bring another suit at a later date based on the same claim.

In other respects, proceedings may likewise terminate due to supervening circumstances in which the parties no longer wish to pursue their claims with regard to the subject matter in dispute (known as carencia sobrevenida de objeto or desaparición sobrevenida del interés légitimo).

And, in addition to the above, parties to a civil action may likewise reach an “out-of-court settlement,” which is variously known as satisfacción extraprocesal or transacción extrajudicial.

Read more here:

Prieto Blanco, María Pilar. Desistimiento, caducidad, terminación del proceso por satisfacción extraprocesal y desaparición sobrevenida del interés legítimo. Centro de Estudios Jurídicos (Ponencias Secretarios Judiciales), 2004, pp. 6988-7040.

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