If you live in England or in Wales you will be familiar with the term solicitor. Now that you are looking to buy a property in Barcelona you will most likely want to engage a lawyer to check the legal side of the transaction and perhaps you will wonder whether there are any solicitors in Barcelona.
A Spanish lawyer is called Abogado. This is the correct name for a professional trained in law in Spain and authorised to practise Spanish law. In Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia, the correct name is “Advocat” which is in Catalan but, generally, an Abogado is able to advise clients all around Spain and its islands.
Abogados are also regulated in Spain. In the same way that Solicitors are regulated in England and Wales by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Law Society, Spanish lawyers are regulated by professional colleges. In the case of Barcelona, the relevant college is the “Ilustre Col·legi de l’advocacia de Barcelona” (www.icab.cat ) where lawyers based in Barcelona are usually affiliated. Those lawyers carry professional insurance and are obliged to follow a professional code of conduct.
At the same time you can find dual qualified lawyers in Barcelona that are authorised to practise law in Spain and also in other countries. This is the case of the members of Barcelona Solicitors (www.barcelonasolicitors.com) as they can practise in Spain and also in England and Wales. Some clients prefer to instruct lawyers with a dual expertise in two jurisdictions. This is particularly handy in international estates where for instance a British person had assets in Spain and the UK, but could also prove useful when a British client plans to buy property in Spain and wants to use a lawyer trained in the UK to explain the particularities of his case in similar terms than those used in the UK.
Those investing or doing business in Spain have options. They can use an “abogado” or perhaps a dual qualified abogado and solicitor. The important thing is to ensure that the person is regulated with the relevant bodies. All Colleges of lawyers and Law societies have lists of their members and this information is open to the public, who can then check whether their appointed legal experts are regulated or not. And if in doubt you should ask your appointed legal expert for his credentials and registration details.