High Court orders protection for minors facing eviction

Spain's Supreme Court set precedent with ruling on eviction of family with three children. Photo: Carlos Rosillo / El País
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• Court ruling on Madrid case sets precedent for Spanish families facing eviction
• NGOs say 80% of court-ordered evictions involve parents with children

Spain’s Supreme Court has overturned an eviction order against a family with three children issued by a judge in the regional community of Madrid, ruling that in the Madrid case and all other eviction cases going forward Spanish judges must ensure that children do not suffer the negative impacts of homelessness or deprivation of social services before a local court can issue an eviction order.

The ruling issued last week sets an important precedent across Spain as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working with individuals and families facing eviction say that some 80 percent of all court-ordered eviction cases nationwide involve families or single parents with children. Spain continues to see a large number of court-ordered evictions nearly 10 years after the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, with the lastest available quarterly figures for 2Q-2017 showing a total of 6,937 evictions across the country, 475 of those in Madrid.

In the case ruled on by the Supreme Court, in February 2016 the regional high court of Madrid (Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid) upheld a lower court ruling ordering the forcible removal of a family with three young children who were illegally squatting in a public housing unit in Mostoles. The mother of the family appealed the ruling to Spain’s Supreme Court, which last week held that such eviction orders cannot be acted upon until the welfare of the children involved had been ensured by the ruling judge.

In June of this year, Spain was put on notice by the UN’s Commission on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that it needed to do more to prevent violation of the human rights of families at risk of social exclusion as a result of evictions. Spanish NGOs had filed a complaint with the UN commission over the issue and last month publicized the fact that Spain’s government had yet to respond to the UN, despite a deadline of 4th January to respond in writing.

► Read More in Spanish at El País, TeleMadrid and El Diario …

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