Justice obliges the state to return the property of the Pazo de Meirás to the Franks and to compensate them


Updated: Tuesday, April 20, 2021 12:57 PM

Published on: 20.04.2021 12:40

The hearing in La Coruña annuls the provisional measures established by the judge of first instance and agrees with the Francos. He indicates that the administration did not claim the goods that were inside the Pazo de Meirás when the proceedings began. Thus, the state must return all these assets to the dictator’s seven grandchildren. However, he leaves the door open for the state to initiate another procedure to try to recover them.

In addition, the court condemns the Administration to compensate the Franks for the damage that the now canceled ordinance would have caused them.

The magistrates explain in the resolution that at this time of the procedure, that is to say in the provisional execution of the sentence which grants the property of the pazo to the State, there is no discussion on the owner of the furniture, since the administration does not claim it in its initial lawsuit.

The Provincial Court, however, leaves open the possibility that the Administration could pursue in another legal action the ownership of the furniture that it considers to be national heritage allocated for the use of the Head of State.

In the resolution, against which it is not possible to appeal, the magistrates explain that “a right of ownership over a cadastral property was only required, and therefore it was estimated”, for which they consider “obvious” that the notion of “ownership by incorporation” can never be extended “to tables, chairs, porcelain, rugs or paintings.”

The judges recall that, in accordance with article 703.1.2 of the law of civil procedure, whoever is obliged to renounce the possession of a property has the right to remove the furniture not included in the execution of the sentence. “If the aim of the State was to prevent architectural elements which should be considered as part of the property from being detached, nothing prevented it from asking the judicial commission to be present when the furniture was moved” , the court points out, adding that another option would have been to promote an execution incident in advance “to determine which elements should be considered inseparable, such as the discussion over a stone cross, an attic or stone elements of the garden, or an altarpiece or other objects, but not to establish that it cannot remove any furniture “.

The judges affirm that, despite the deposit of the furniture requested by the State within the framework of the process of provisional execution of the sentence, “at no time does the Administration announce a future trial postulating the ownership of this furniture”. In this sense, the ordinance specifies that to adopt a precautionary measure, a legal dispute must be alive (or indicate that the trial will be presented within a peremptory period), which does not happen in this case. The magistrates underline that in the decision of first instance “it is not said that the furniture is the property of the State, and that this question was never addressed in the whole of the litigation”.

In the car, the court recalls that only the two statues of Mestre Mateo are classified property of cultural interest, while recalling that the Galician law on heritage “does not establish any loss of civil property” by the holders of these properties by being cataloged. The judges stress that the trial does not claim “property of cultural interest as a group made up of both movable and immovable property” and indicate that “this administrative declaration does not exist, nor is it recognized in the sentence “.

A vast inventory

In the Pazo de Meirás, a large amount of antiques and goods are accumulated. Tapestries, attics, paintings, altarpieces, ancestral sculptures, a confessional, a holy water fountain and invaluable furniture are part of the vast inventory. Among them also stand out the statues of the Pórtico de la Gloria, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the library of Emilia Pardo Bazán or a painting by Goya.

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