Madrid, Jan 23 (EFE) .- The lawyers María Benito and Antonio Jiménez Bustamante have been parents for the first time this January and are the visible face of the lawyers’ claim in favor of family conciliation in the courts, in the absence of norms that regulate the suspension of trials in cases of maternity or paternity.
Like many lawyers, they are in the hands of the judge to exercise their fundamental right to conciliate. The couple received a summons last December for a trial on January 19 in which they both exercise and, given that their due date was two days earlier, on January 17, they requested the suspension of the hearing.
The court did not accept the petition considering that it was “a long-term, foreseeable loss” that could delay the judicial process in which minors are involved, and requested that the clients appoint a new lawyer or, if not, they would be assigned a public defender.
In an interview with Efe, Jimenez assures that “his priority is always to defend and benefit his clients” and adds that, in this case, the postponement of the trial, which does not have a private accusation, “would not harm the defendants at all” .
Its function, he adds, is not easily substitutable since both knowledge of the case and personal contact with the client play a leading role.
The lawyer clarifies that at no time neither he nor his partner have tried to stay at home for four months taking care of the baby; They only ask for a reasonable time to be able to recover and properly attend to their functions as lawyers.
They appealed in December, but the resolution took 25 days to arrive, when both were already in the hospital and a few days after the trial.
They became parents the next day, Saturday the 16th, and they report that they learned that the trial was held on the 19th thanks to their clients and their colleagues. Jiménez annoyed that “with so little time” they were not allowed to file an appeal.
According to his account, the court official called the clients personally to notify them that they should go to court regardless of what their lawyers did.
On the day of the hearing, while in the hospital and having presented the corresponding proof of admission, he received a call demanding that he go to trial or that, otherwise, he would file a complaint with the Bar Association. Finally, they did not attend and the hearing was postponed until February 1.
They still do not know if they will be able to attend, but if something is clear is that the fight for their rights continues: “We lawyers defend the rights of citizens, but we do not have the basic ones,” he laments.
Colleagues and friends by profession have joined his cause and shared similar stories with them.
From the General Council of the Legal Profession, Marga Cerro, president of the Equality Commission, assures that they are very aware of these issues because without legislative reforms, which they have been asking for for a long time, “conciliation is impossible,” he points out to Efe.
They have submitted their proposals to both the Ministry of Justice and Congress, the Senate and the political parties, and they hope that the Ministry of Equality will respond to a request for a meeting to discuss the issue.
Cerro says that the problem that lawyers Antonio Jiménez and María Benito make visible today is common: “Companions and companions every two by three see themselves in the same position. Furthermore, not only are hearings not suspended, nor are deadlines suspended, which are rigid and restrictive. We always have a sword of Damocles with the procedural deadlines “, he emphasizes.
And there are also differences between territories: “There are higher courts of Justice that are much more empathic with the situation and are more likely to recommend suspensions.”
In his opinion, it is essential to unify criteria so that the legal profession is practiced throughout the Spanish territory with the same conditions. “Right now the final decision is made by the judges, it is totally discretionary,” he explains.
The lawyers warn that not only the fundamental right to conciliate is endangered, but also the right to effective judicial protection, within which there is the right to a good defense: “If you do not let a lawyer exercise his function of Full and effective way, with all the guarantees, and with time for the study, this right is violated, “warns Cerro.
From the Cáceres Bar Association to the General Council of the Legal Profession and the Confederation of Young Lawyers, they publicly support this cause and work so that equality rights are soon materialized in this profession as well. EFE
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