The avalanche of private bankruptcy proceedings leads to the collapse of commercial courts

The commercial courts are overwhelmed by the avalanche of bankruptcy proceedings by individuals and the self-employed who, after the reform of the law in 2022, have seen an increase in the possibilities of obtaining an exoneration from the payment of their debts.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 10:22
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The avalanche of private bankruptcy proceedings leads to the collapse of commercial courts

The commercial courts are overwhelmed by the avalanche of bankruptcy proceedings by individuals and the self-employed who, after the reform of the law in 2022, have seen an increase in the possibilities of obtaining an exoneration from the payment of their debts.

In the first quarter, the number of procedures throughout Spain has skyrocketed to 8,199, which is 67.5% more compared to the same period in 2023, and an increase of 41.8% compared to the previous quarter, according to data from the College of Registrars of Spain published this week.

The Barcelona courts already warned last year of the significant increase in the workload but in recent months, the situation has become unsustainable. “We have requested a service commission before the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia with the aim of obtaining a reinforcement team to help us process the 9,590 contests for natural persons that we have pending from last year,” judicial sources assure.

The request was made in April and the commercial courts expect to receive news in the coming weeks. This is aid that they also requested, and obtained, when a few years ago they were overwhelmed by the avalanche of claims from the airline sector.

“We need reinforcements to unblock the entry of natural person contests. The time that debtors must wait to obtain a resolution has increased from approximately 3 months to a year. This situation is not desirable since the majority of cases affect families with serious difficulties,” they warn.

In parallel, the twelve commercial courts of Barcelona hope to gain muscle by recovering the missing court number 13. “We have been requesting this extension from the Department of Justice for some time. Everything indicates that this year it should arrive, although the elections in the Generalitat can paralyze the process," they acknowledge.

With the same objective of reducing the large volume of work, the courts of Barcelona have promoted a project to introduce an Artificial Intelligence tool that automates repetitive tasks and speeds up the processing of contests without active mass. “We are carrying out the initiative together with the Pompeu Fabra University. At the moment, we are waiting for permits from the Department of Justice that must allow engineers to access the completed files in order to build algorithms necessary for the tool to be reliable,” comment judicial sources, promoters of this digital initiative.