There was a time when we still reacted frightened or shocked when a police car drove up in front of our gate. Since we understand that it doesn’t necessary mean that they might want to close us down, like our first experience with the local police, we react a bit calmer. Sometimes they bring guests that are lost in the metropolis of Alcalá, sometimes they want to check the guest-register and come to the conclusion that they are in the wrong hotel and occasionally they are just checking how we are doing (= drinking coffee). But most of the time they fulfill their job as postmen for very official and thus important letters.
So Monday afternoon, when they were here again – proudly showing off in their brand new police car – I was wondering quit relaxed what the reason for their visit was. It turned out that we both were invited to appear for the Juzgados de Paz, on Wednesday on 16.30. When we asked what that meant and who the JdP was they said that they didn’t know and assumed the ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ position. Thanks to my profesora – Rietje – my Spanish is good enough to understand that the JdP must mean something like Justice of Peace and although we are at a state of war with a few guys, we still found it rather strange that we got this invitation without any further documentation.
So question one was what does a Juzgado de Paz according to Google? Well, the Justices of Peace operate in small communities with no First Instance and Examining Courts. They hear minor civil cases, among their functions, they sometimes work as Civil Registry Body and are not a judge by profession. The First Instance and Examining Courts are together with the Central Instruction Court, Central Criminal Court, the Administrative Central Court and the Minors Central Court the Tribunals in the country. Then above that there is the Provincial Audience, then the Regional High Court (with its various chambers). Of course then there must be and is the National Court and the Supreme Court. Writing this I get a ‘call McKinsey’ feeling.
When we found out what the JdP does and Angeles had told us that he is a nice guy and his name is Miguel we still had to check what we were supposed to do there. So we called with Rafael, our legal counsellor, who found out that we would receive a official notification regarding the court case that we will have against our former lawyer SP in November. A notification of which we already got an e mail 6 weeks ago.
When I arrived at 16.30 at the SP’s office I was number 5 of a crowd that grew to 20 people (thank God everybody is late here…) all having an invitation for the same time, all not knowing why they were there.
Obviously a registered letter (or a e mail) cannot do the thing, as the police, the Juzgados de Paz, Rafael and us would have so little left to do.