This week, the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has imposed fines on nine lawyer associations across Spain amounting to 1455 million euros for making collective price recommendations charged to clients, including Santa Cruz de Tenerife with a fine of 65,000 euros.
The CNMC explains that this investigation began after a complaint by Bankia for the costs of massive lawsuits filed by shareholders claiming the investment made in the IPO in 2011. However, during this investigation, it became clear that nine lawyer colleges had developed, published and disseminated fee scales, which are not authorised.
The CNMC stated this week that lawyers’ fees must be set freely, since there is no tariff system in the services provided by lawyers, and their fees are not set by law or regulation in response to different concepts and amounts, and that lawyers’ fees are subject to a minimum fee system.
Competition Law prohibits any agreement, decision or collective recommendation, or concerted or consciously parallel practice that has as its object, produces or may produce the effect of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in all or part of the national market.
The Omnibus Act of 2009 also prohibits colleges from establishing recommendations on fees or any other guidance, recommendation, guideline, rule or rule on professional fees.
The nine sanctioned professional lawyer colleges that are fined include Barcelona with 620,000 euros, Valencia with 315,000 euros, Seville with 145,000 euros, Vizcaya with 125,000 euros, La Rioja with 90,000 euros, A Coruña and Santa Cruz de Tenerife with 65,000 euros each, Albacete with 20,000 euros and Avila with 10,000 euros.
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