Civil prescription reform in Law 42/2015, of October 5th, on the reform of the Civil Procedure Law

On October 7th, 2015, the new prescription regime for personal actions that do not have a specific prescription period, which goes from fifteen to five years, entered into force. This modifies article 1964 of the Civil Code. The importance of this reform is transcendental.

Date 09/10/2015

There are numerous legal relationships that will be affected by this change.

As an example:

  • Any legal obligation whose effectiveness does not have a special term of extinction prescription, in these cases the action, as personal, is subject to the general term of five years of article 1964 CC.
  • Obligations that may arise from the conclusion of a contract of sale.
  • The actions derived from the defective compliance upon delivery of something different or with improper defects.
  • Contract resolution action for breach.
  • The action of a community member against the community of owners for the compensation of damages caused by the common elements.
  • The action of the lessor of a property for the review of income.

The 5th transitory provision, entitled “Prescription regime applicable to existing relationships,” says: “The prescription time of personal actions that do not have a special prescription term, born before the entry into force of this law, is shall be governed by the provisions of article 1939 of the Civil Code”.

For its part, Article 1939 of the Civil Code, states that “The prescription started before the publication of this Code shall be governed by the laws prior to it; but if, since it was put into observance, all the time required for the prescription has elapsed, it will have its effect, even if these previous laws require a longer period of time”.

The interpretation of the transitional regime is generating debate. However, for practical purposes, it seems sensible to be advised and keep in mind that:

  • Regarding the legal relations born between 7-10-2005 and 7-10-2015, the transitional rule would apply, so the prescription will be 7-10-2020.
  • Regarding the legal relations born from 7-10-2015, the new prescription regime of article 1964 CC is applied, which, as we say, has been reduced to five years.

Juan Enrique Montenegro - Balms Abogados


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