Spanish Constitution of 1978 (annotated)/Part I
Fundamental Rights and Duties
Foundation of the constitutional system1.1, 9.2, 53, 81 C1. The dignity of the person, the inviolable rights which are inherent, the free development of the personality, the respect for the law and for the rights of others are the foundation of political order and social peace.
General interpretation guideline93-96 C2. Provisions relating to the fundamental rights and liberties recognised by the Constitution shall be construed in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties and agreements thereon ratified by Spain.
Spaniards and Aliens
Nationality14, 23, 29, 30, 35, 59.4, 60.1, 149.1.2. C1. Spanish nationality shall be acquired, retained and lost in accordance with the provisions of the law.
2. No person of Spanish birth may be deprived of his or her nationality.
Dual nationality treaties93-96 C3. The State may negotiate dual nationality treaties with Latin-American countries or with those which have had or which have special links with Spain. In these countries Spaniards may become naturalized without losing their nationality of origin, even if those countries do not grant a reciprocal right to their own citizens.
Full legal age23, 39, 149.1.8, Add. Prov. 2. CSpaniards come legally of age at eighteen years.
Aliens' rights10-55, 149.1.2 C1. Aliens in Spain shall enjoy the public freedoms guaranteed by the present Part, under the terms to be laid down by treaties and the law.
23, 68.5 C2. Only Spaniards shall have the rights recognised in section 23, except in cases which may be established by treaty or by law concerning the right to vote and the right to be elected in municipal elections, and subject to the principle of reciprocity. (This text includes the first constitutional reform adopted on 27/08/1992; which added the words «and the right to be elected» to the paragraph).
Extradition3. Extradition shall be granted only in compliance with a treaty or with the law, on a reciprocal basis. No extradition can be granted for political crimes; but acts of terrorism shall not be regarded as such.
Right of political asylum4. The law shall lay down the terms under which citizens from other countries and stateless persons may enjoy the right to asylum in Spain.
Rights and Liberties
Equality before the law1.1, 9.2, 23, 31, 32, 35, 39, 138, 139 CSpaniards are equal before the law and may not in any way be discriminated against on account of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.
Fundamental Rights and Public Liberties
Right to life and to physical and moral integrity10, 25, 53, 81, 117.5 CEveryone has the right to life and to physical and moral integrity, and under no circumstances may be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment. Death penalty is hereby abolished, except as provided for by military criminal law in times of war.
Freedom of ideas, religon and worship9.2, 10, 14.27.3, 30.2, 53, 81 C1. Freedom of ideology, religion and worship is guaranteed, to individuals and communities with no other restriction on their expression than may be necessary to maintain public order as protected by law.
2. No one may be compelled to make statements regarding his or her ideology, religion or beliefs.
No State religion. Cooperation with the Catholic Church and other confessions3. No religion shall have a state character. The public authorities shall take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and shall consequently maintain appropriate cooperation relations with the Catholic Church and other confessions.
Freedom and security9, 10, 25, 52, 53, 55, 81, 104, 126 C1. Every person has the right to freedom and security. No one may be deprived of his or her freedom except in accordance with the provisions of this section and in the cases and in the manner provided for by the law.
Preventive arrest2. Preventive arrest may last no longer than the time strictly necessary in order to carry out the investigations aimed at establishing the events; in any case the person arrested must be set free or handed over to the judicial authorities within a maximum period of seventy two hours.
Guarantees of prisoners3. Every person arrested must be informed immediately, and in a way understandable to him or her, of his or her rights and of the grounds for his or her arrest, and may not be compelled to make a statement. The arrested person shall be guaranteed the assistance of a lawyer during police and judicial proceedings, under the terms to be laid down by the law.
Habeas corpus4. An habeas corpus procedure shall be provided for by law in order to ensure the immediate handing over to the judicial authorities of any person illegally arrested. Likewise, the maximum period of provisional imprisonment shall be determined by law.
Honour and personal reputation10, 19, 39, 53, 55, 81 C1. The right to honour, to personal and family privacy and to the own image is guaranteed.
Sanctity of home2. The home is inviolable. No entry or search may be made without the consent of the householder or a legal warrant, except in cases of flagrante delicto.
Secret of communications3. Secrecy of communications is guaranteed, particularly regarding postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications, except in the event of a court order.
Information technology4. The law shall restrict the use of data processing in order to guarantee the honour and personal and family privacy of citizens and the full exercise of their rights.
Liberty of abode and to move about the territory10, 13, 18, 53, 55, 81, 139.2 CSpaniards have the right to freely choose their place of residence, and to freely move about within the national territory. Likewise, they have the right to freely enter and leave Spain subject to the conditions to be laid down by the law. This right may not be restricted for political or ideological reasons.
9, 10, 16, 53, 55, 81 C1. The following rights are recognised and protected:
Free expressiona) the right to freely express and spread thoughts, ideas and opinions through words, in writing or by any other means of reproduction.
Free artistic creationb) the right to literary, artistic, scientific and technical production and creation.
Free teaching27 Cc) the right to academic freedom.
Free information24.2 Cd) the right to freely communicate or receive truthful information by any means of Personal conscience and professional secrecydissemination whatsoever. The law shall regulate the right to the clause of conscience and professional secrecy in the exercise of these freedoms.
No prior censorship2. The exercise of these rights may not be restricted by any form of prior censorship.
Mass media belonging to public entities1.1, 2, 3.2 C3. The law shall regulate the organization and parliamentary control of the mass communication media under the control of the State or any public agency and shall guarantee access to such media by the significant social and political groups, respecting the pluralism of society and of the various languages of Spain.
Limits to liberties18, 39 C4. These freedoms are limited by respect for the rights recognised in this Part, by the legal provisions implementing it, and especially by the right to honour, to privacy, to the own image and to the protection of youth and childhood.
Confiscation of publications5. The seizure of publications, recordings and other means of information may only be carried out by means of a court order.
Right of assembly53, 55, 81 C1. The right to peaceful unarmed assembly is recognised. The exercise of this right shall not require prior authorization.
Right to demonstrate2. In the case of meetings in public places and of demonstrations, prior notification shall be given to the authorities, who may only forbid them when there are well founded grounds to expect a breach of public order, involving danger to persons or property.
Association6, 7, 16, 28, 34, 51, 52, 53, 81, 104, 127 C1. The right of association is recognised.
2. Associations which pursue ends or use means legally defined as criminal offences are illegal.
Associations to be registered3. Associations set up on the basis of this section must be entered in a register for the sole purpose of public knowledge.
4. Associations may only be dissolved or have their activities suspended by virtue of a court order stating the reasons for it.
5. Secret and paramilitary associations are prohibited.
Participation of citizens in public affairs1.1, 13.2, 14, 53, 68, 69, 81, 92 C1. Citizens have the right to participate in public affairs, directly or through representatives freely elected in periodic elections by universal suffrage.
2. They also have the right to accede under conditions of equality to public functions and positions, in accordance with the requirements laid down by the law.
Right to action in court14, 17, 53, 81, 117 C1. All persons have the right to obtain effective protection from the judges and the courts in the exercise of their rights and legitimate interests, and in no case may there be a lack of defense.
Judicial guarantees2. Likewise, all have the right to the ordinary judge predetermined by law; to defense and assistance by a lawyer; to be informed of the charges brought against them; to a public trial without undue delays and with full guarantees; to the use of evidence appropriate to their defense; not to make self-incriminating statements; not to plead themselves guilty; and to be presumed innocent.
The law shall specify the cases in which, for reasons of family relationship or professional secrecy, it shall not be compulsory to make statements regarding allegedly criminal offences.
Principle of prior legal definition of offences and penalties9.3, 10, 14, 15, 17, 53, 81 C1. No one may be convicted or sentenced for actions or omissions which when committed did not constitute a criminal offence, misdemeanour or administrative offence under the law then in force.
Aims of penalties2. Punishments entailing imprisonment and security measures shall be aimed at reeducation and social rehabilitation and may not involve forced labour. The person sentenced to prison shall enjoy, during the imprisonment, the fundamental rights contained in this Chapter except those expressly restricted by the content of the sentence, the purpose of the punishment and the penitentiary law. In any case, he or she shall be entitled to paid work and to the appropriate Social Security benefits, as well as to access to cultural opportunities and the overall development of his or her personality.
Administrative penalties3. The Civil Administration may not impose penalties which directly of indirectly imply deprivation of freedom.
Courts of Honour14, 25, 36, 53, 117 CCourts of Honour are prohibited within the framework of the Civil Administration and of professional organizations.
Right to education and to free teaching9.2, 10, 15, 16, 20, 22, 34, 38, 44, 53, 81, 148.1.17, 149.1.30 C1. Everyone has the right to education. Freedom of teaching is recognised.
Aims of education2. Education shall aim at the full development of human personality with due respect for the democratic principles of coexistence and for basic rights and freedoms.
Rights of parents3. The public authorities guarantee the right of parents to ensure that their children receive religious and moral instruction in accordance with their own convictions.
Elementary education4. Elementary education is compulsory and free.
General education planning5. The public authorities guarantee the right of all to education, through general education programming, with the effective participation of all sectors concerned and the setting-up of educational centres.
Foundation of teaching centres6. The right of individuals and legal entities to set up educational centres is recognised, provided they respect constitutional principles.
Control and management7. Teachers, parents and, when appropriate, pupils shall participate in the control and management of all centres supported by the Administration out of public funds, under the terms established by the law.
Inspection and official recognition8. The public authorities shall inspect and standardise the educational system in order to ensure compliance with the laws.
State aid9. The public authorities shall help the educational centres which meet the requirements established by the law.
Autonomy of Universities10. The autonomy of Universities is recognised, under the terms established by the law.
Right freely to join trade7, 22, 37, 53, 55, 81, 103.3, 104.2, 127.1, 131.2 C1. All have the right to freely join a trade union. The law may restrict or except the exercise of this right in the Armed Forces or Institutes or other bodies subject to military discipline, and shall lay down the special conditions of its exercise by civil servants. Trade union freedom includes the right to set up trade unions and to join the union of one's choice, as well as the right of trade unions to form confederations and to found international trade union organizations, or to become members thereof. No one may be compelled to join a trade union.
Right of strike2. The right of workers to strike in defence of their interests is recognised. The law governing the exercise of this right shall establish the safeguards necessary to ensure the maintenance of essential public services.
Right of petition9.2, 10, 23, 53, 77, 81 C1. All Spaniards shall have the right to individual and collective petition, in writing, in the manner and subject to the consequences to be laid down by law.
2. Members of the Armed Forces or Institutes or bodies subject to military discipline may only exercise this right individually and in accordance with statutory provisions relating to them.
Rights and Duties of Citizens
National defence8, 16, 31.3, 53, 117.5, 161 C1. Citizens have the right and the duty to defend Spain.
Military service and conscientious objection2. The law shall determine the military obligations of Spaniards and shall regulate, with all due guarantees, conscientious objection as well as other grounds for exemption from compulsory military service; it may also, when appropriate, impose a community service in place of military service.
Civilian service3. A civilian service may be established with a view to accomplishing objectives of general interest.
116.2 C4. The duties of citizens in the event of serious risk, catastrophe or public calamity may be regulated by law.
Fair tax system1.1, 9, 14, 40.1, 53, 133 C1. Everyone shall contribute to sustain public expenditure according to their economic capacity, through a fair tax system based on the principles of equality and progressive taxation, which in no case shall be of a confiscatory scope.
Public expenditure2. Public expenditure shall make an equitable allocation of public resources, and its programming and execution shall comply with criteria of efficiency and economy.
3. Personal or property contributions for public purposes may only be imposed in accordance with the law.
Marriage14, 39, 149.1.8. C1. Man and woman have the right to marry with full legal equality.
2. The law shall make provision for the forms of marriage, the age and capacity for concluding it, the rights and duties of the spouses, the grounds for separation and dissolution, and their effects.
Private property1.1, 9.2, 14, 38, 53, 128, 131, 132 C1. The right to private property and inheritance is recognised.
Social function of private property2. The social function of these rights shall determine the limits of their content in accordance with the law.
Compulsory aquisition3. No one may be deprived of his or her property and rights, except on justified grounds of public utility or social interest and with a proper compensation in accordance with the law.
Foundations22, 33, 53 C1. The right to set up foundations for purposes of general interest is recognised in accordance with the law.
2. The provisions of subsections 2 and 4 of section 22 shall also be applicable to foundations.
Right and duty to work. Industrial rights14, 37, 38, 40-42, 53 C1. All Spaniards have the duty to work and the right to work, to the free choice of profession or trade, to advancement through work, and to a sufficient remuneration for the satisfaction of their needs and those of their families. Under no circumstances may they be discriminated on account of their sex.
2. The law shall regulate a Workers' Statute.
Professional associations22, 25, 52, 53 CThe law shall regulate the pecularities of the legal status of Professional Associations and the exercise of degree professions. The internal structure and the functioning of Associations must be democratic.
Collective bargaining7, 28, 35 C1. The law shall guarantee the right to collective labour bargaining between workers and employers' representatives, as well as the binding force of the agreements.
Collective industrial disputes2. The right of workers and employers to adopt collective labour dispute measures is hereby recognised. The law regulating the exercise of this right shall, without prejudice to the restrictions which it may impose, include the guarantees necessary to ensure the functioning of essential public services.
Freedom of enterprise1.1, 9.2, 33, 40, 53, 128, 131 CFree enterprise is recognised within the framework of a market economy. The public authorities guarantee and protect its exercise and the safeguarding of productivity in accordance with the demands of the general economy and, as the case may be, of economic planning.
Principles governing Economic and Social Policy
Protection of the family9.2, 14, 18, 20, 27.3, 32, 53 C1. The public authorities ensure social, economic and legal protection of the family.
2. The public authorities likewise ensure full protection of children, who are equal before the law, regardless of their parentage, and of mothers, whatever their marital status. The law shall provide for the possibility of the investigation of paternity.
3. Parents must provide their children, whether born within or outside wedlock, with assistance of every kind while they are still under age and in other circumstances in which the law so establishes.
4. Children shall enjoy the protection provided for in the international agreements safeguarding their rights.
Redistribution of income
Full employment1.1, 9.2, 35, 53, 130 131 C1. The public authorities shall promote favourable conditions for social and economic progress and for a more equitable distribution of regional and personal income within the framework of a policy of economic stability. They shall in particular carry out a policy aimed at full employment.
Good working conditions2. Likewise, the public authorities shall promote a policy guaranteeing professional training and retraining; they shall ensure labour safety and hygiene and shall provide for the need of rest by limiting the duration of working day, by periodic paid holidays, and by promoting suitable centres.
Social Security9.2, 35, 43, 49, 50, 53 CThe public authorities shall maintain a public Social Security system for all citizens guaranteeing adequate social assistance and benefits in situations of hardship, especially in case of unemployment. Supplementary assistance and benefits shall be optional.
Emigrants9.2, 40, 53 CThe State shall be especially concerned with safeguarding the economic and social rights of Spanish workers abroad, and shall direct its policy towards their return.
Protection of health9.2, 41, 45, 49, 50, 53 C1. The right to health protection is recognised.
2. It is incumbent upon the public authorities to organize and watch over public health by means of preventive measures and the necessary benefits and services. The law shall establish the rights and duties of all in this respect.
Sports and leisure3. The public authorities shall foster health education, physical education and sports.
Likewise, they shall encourage the proper use of leisure time.
Culture9.2, 20, 27, 46, 48, 50, 53, 148.1.15, 17, 149.1.15, and 28, 149.2 C1. The public authorities shall promote and watch over access to culture, to which all are entitled.
Science2. The public authorities shall promote science and scientific and technical research for the benefit of the general interest.
Environment25, 43, 53, 129.1, 126.96.36.199 C1. Everyone has the right to enjoy an environment suitable for the development of the person, as well as the duty to preserve it.
Quality of life2. The public authorities shall watch over a rational use of all natural resources with a view to protecting and improving the quality of life and preserving and restoring the environment, by relying on an indispensable collective solidarity.
3. For those who break the provisions contained in the foregoing paragraph, criminal or, where applicable, administrative sanctions shall be imposed, under the terms established by the law, and they shall be obliged to repair the damage caused.
National heritage3, 9.2, 25, 53, 128, 148, 1.14, 17, 149.1.28, 149.2 CThe public authorities shall guarantee the preservation and promote the enrichment of the historical, cultural and artistic heritage of the peoples of Spain and of the property of which it consists, regardless of their legal status and their ownership. The criminal law shall punish any offences against this heritage.
Housing9.2, 53, 128, 148, 1.3 CAll Spaniards have the right to enjoy decent and adequate housing. The public authorities shall promote the necessary conditions and establish appropriate standards in order to make this right effective, regulating land use in accordance with the general interest in order to prevent speculation. The community shall have a share in the benefits accruing from the town-planning policies of public bodies.
Youth9.2, 23, 27.7, 53 CThe public authorities shall promote conditions for the free and effective participation of young people in political, social, economic and cultural development.
Disabled persons9.2, 43, 53 CThe public authorities shall carry out a policy of preventive care, treatment, rehabilitation and integration of the physically, sensorially and mentally handicapped by giving them the specialized care they require, and affording them special protection for the enjoyment of the rights granted by this Part to all citizens.
Old age9.2, 41, 43, 44, 47, 53 CThe public authorities shall guarantee, through adequate and periodically updated pensions, a sufficient income for citizens in old age. Likewise, and without prejudice to the obligations of the families, they shall promote their welfare through a system of social services that provides for their specific problems of health, housing, culture and leisure.
Censumer protection43, 53, 105, 129, 1 C1. The public authorities shall guarantee the protection of consumers and users and shall, by means of effective measures, safeguard their safety, health and legitimate economic interests.
2. The public authorities shall promote the information and education of consumers and users, foster their organizations, and hear them on those matters affecting their members, under the terms established by law.
Domestic trade3. Within the framework of the provisions of the foregoing paragraphs, the law shall regulate domestic trade and the system of licensing commercial products.
Professional organizations7, 22, 28, 36, 37 CThe law shall regulate the professional organizations which contribute to the defence of their own economic interests. Their internal structure and their functioning must be democratic.
Guarantee of Fundamental Rights and Liberties
Rights and liberties binding on public authorities9.1, 14-38, 81, 16.1 a) C1. The rights and freedoms recognised in Chapter 2 of the present Part are binding on all public authorities. Only by an act which in any case must respect their essential content, could the exercise of such rights and freedoms be regulated, which shall be protected in accordance with the provisions of section 161(1) a).
Judicial and constitutional protection14-29 C2. Any citizen may assert a claim to protect the freedoms and rights recognised in section 14 and in division 1 of Chapter 2, by means of a preferential and summary procedure before the ordinary courts and, when appropriate, by lodging an individual appeal for protection (recurso de amparo) to the Constitutional Court. This latter procedure shall be applicable to conscientious objection as recognised in section 30.
Social and economic principles39-52 C3. Recognition, respect and protection of the principles recognised in Chapter 3 shall guide legislation, judicial practice and actions by the public authorities. They may only be invoked before the ordinary courts in accordance with the legal provisions implementing them.
Parliamentary Commissioner70.1 c), 81, 162.1 a) C
200, 205 SOAn organic act shall regulate the institution of the Defender of the People (Defensor del Pueblo) as high commissioner of the Cortes Generales, appointed by them to defend the rights contained in this Part; for this purpose he or she may supervise the activity of the Administration and report thereon to the Cortes Generales. (Senate Standing Orders, section 183).
Suspension of Rights and Liberties
General suspension of rights17; 18.2, 3; 19; 20.1 a) and d); 21; 28.2; 37.2; 116 C1. The rights recognised in sections 17 and 18, subsections 2 and 3; sections 19 and 20, subsection 1, paragraphs a) and d), and subsection 5; sections 21 and 28, subsection 2; and section 37, subsection 2, may be suspended when a state of emergency or siege (martial law) is declared under the terms provided in the Constitution. 162-165 RSubsection 3 of section 17 is excepted from the foregoing provisions in the event of the declaration of a state of emergency.
Suspension of some rights17.2, 18.2 and 3, 81 C2. An organic act may determine the manner and the circumstances in which, on an individual basis and with the necessary participation of the courts and proper parliamentary control, the rights recognised in section 17, subsection 2, and 18, subsections 2 and 3, may be suspended for specific persons in connection with investigations of the activities of armed bands or terrorist groups.
Unwarranted or abusive use of the powers recognised in the foregoing organic act shall give rise to criminal liability as a violation of the rights and freedoms recognised by the laws.