The Superior Tribunal of Justice in Catalonia has its immediate antecedent in the ancient County Courts born with the Constitution of 1812, the legal text which is the linchpin of the Spanish juridical arquitecture. The Magna Charta that appeared in the Parliament of Cadiz granted to the Territorial Court of Appeal the competency of the civil and criminal affairs in the territory under its influence.
For the first time, the grounds were set so that the judges could work independently. The Judges had the exclusive task of judging and make sure that what was judged was executed, the Courts or the King were not allow to perform jurisdictional tasks, as well as the power to file pending matters or open expired judgements.
It was necessary to wait until 1835 for the appearance of the Court of Appeal Ordinances. Those were essential papers that divided the Court of Appeal in three different Divisions with different jurisdictional competencies: two divisions for Civil matters and a division for Criminal matters.
This judicial organisation was respected by the Organic Law of the Judiciary in 1870 and, basically, it still exists, with the exception of the jurisdictions that have been created and integrated along the years and the evolution of society.
The Superior Tribunals of Justice, with its current territorial boundaries, were originated with the division created in the article 26 of the Organic Law of the Judiciary of 1985. They were constituted on the 23rd of Mai 1989.
The ancient Territorial Courts of Appeal were left behind, advancing toward a judiciary model involving the autonomic map adapted to the demands of the Constitution of 1978.
The Superior Tribunal culminates in the creation of the Autonomies in Spain, although they are formed as Power of the State not decentralized, depending on the General Council of the Judiciary, whereas the Executive and Legislative powers do have their autonomic versions.
The High Court of Catalonia was established 23 May 1989. Its first president was José Antonio Somalo.
HISTORY OF THE COURTHOUSE
The idea of having a courthouse to accommodate all judicial organs emerged in 1879, when the city council of Barcelona took the initiative of undertaking its construction. Originally, a different site was chosen for the building, but due to lack of space it was decided that the courthouse would be built close to the Arc d’Triunf. The overriding idea was to have a building large enough to house the courts and superior court. A committee consisting of mayor of the city Francesc Rius i Taulet, deputy mayors and the president of the council was created to coordinate building activity. The committee entrusted the project to architects Josep Domènech i Estapà and Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia. The first stone was put in place on 11 June 1887.
At the time, the end of the 19th century, it was foreseen that the building would house the municipal courts, first instance courts, superior court and paymasters’ offices.
The municipal court had offices for judges, clerks, officials and prosecutors as well as an anteroom room for interested parties and witnesses. There were also offices for prosecutors, five notary’s offices for each court, witness chambers, and offices forensic doctors and lawyers.
For the superior court, two courtrooms for civil matters and four for criminal matters were planned, in addition to an assembly room, eight secretary’s offices, offices for officials and a government secretariat, witness chambers, rooms for prisoners, for solicitors, a robe room for lawyers, rooms for prosecutors, a press room, an archive, a library and floors for the president, secretary and offices.
More than twenty years after construction began, and thanks to the efforts of then president of the superior court Buenaventura Muñoz, who more than anyone else was instrumental in completion of construction and decoration of the building, Princess María Teresa and Prince Fernando inaugurated the courthouse.