In the V Century, the Visigoths conquered part of the Roman Hispania, dividing the land and settling a new legal system. Many parts of the Visigoth system suffered a Romanisation, including the legal system; the Visigoths traditional system was based on the “Eurico Code” and the “Leovigildo Code”, which was later on turned into the “Liber Iudiciorum”, with roman influences. However, it is also important to note that the legal system had a very nationalistic note, contrarious to the Roman one. Another important fact about this code is that it was the first complete code meant for Visigoths and romans living in Hispania, while before it each had their own laws. (Derecho en la red 2012)
The VIII century saw the Muslim conquer of Spain. This turned the country into Al-Andalus (although not all parts of the modern Spain were conquered), and the legal system went to depend on the Cadies, who had a similar role to the current judges. Cadies had to be experts in Law and needed to show good conduct. There were many requirements to access to the position, but it also gave them a good reputation. Cadies needed to be Muslim, free adult men, intelligent and they needed to be trusted by the Caliph and the Great Cadi of Cordoba.
Another important point of the legal system during the Muslim time was the lack of a “judged matter”, this means, the same issue could be judged more than once, creating an important insecurity. Also, the legal system depended on the Muslim laws. (López Corsi 2014)
In 1492 the Catholic Monarchs conquered the resting part of Al-Andalus and the whole territory known nowadays as Spain was “united” in a catholic empire. From the XV century, the legal system of Spain was the Castilian Juridical System, which had as main important point the progressive loss of power of the autonomies and the increase of power in the Castilian kings. This legal period was highlighted by the personal legal activity of kings that created the majority of dispositions; only the “Fuero Real” and the “Fuero Juzgo” (that belonged to concrete municipalities of the kingdom) kept their local power. By the XVII century, the Courts had lost practically all their power. (Derecho en red 2013)
During the following years, apart from the importance of the American colonies in legal terms, there was a change of monarchy in Spain (XVIII century). The legal system was even more centralised and the Church, who used to have a lot of legal power in the country, saw this power cut. (Jaimes de Amat, y otros 2005)
The XIX century (1812) saw the first constitution in Spain, a legal text against the French Conquer. This constitution tried to codify all legal system for the whole monarchy (civil, criminal and commerce civil code) but due to the autonomic power of some parts of the country it was not quite possible. However, this century saw some important laws such as the Law of Civil Marriage or the Law of Civil Registry.
In 1889 was approved the Civil Code, which respected the power of the autonomies that still owned it. This Civil Code is the one that is currently on use in Spain, although with many modifications.
It is also worth mentioning that Spain suffered a dictatorship from 1939 until 1975, known as “Franquismo”. During this time, all legislative and executive powers were united in the figure of the dictator, Francisco Franco. It was not until the dead of the “Caudillo” in 1975 that Spain did not officially work to become a democracy and created the current Spanish Constitution (1978).