Time is money for companies

Article in CajaSiete Blog, 09 october 2017.

Leopoldo Cólogan

Roque Bermejo, East of Tenerife Island

It has always been said, and I subscribe to this, that it is better to have a bad deal than a good lawsuit. The rationale behind this statement lies in the time and sacrifice that a deal demands from its parties. A lawsuit requires a lot of time and attention that could otherwise be invested in attending to the needs of the business.

In a system like ours in which, despite all efforts, it still takes such a long time for the exercise of a right to take shape that, in many cases, it is worth paying someone who does not have the right to buy time so that materialization of this right is not delayed.

But what happens when the other party is the government? In that case, the same principle cannot be applied. In this case, in practice it is very difficult to reach agreements appropriate to the formalities that it requires and, in current times, no one assumes such responsibility beyond the awareness and interpretation of officials at the time of determining the value in their actions.

In some cases, the principle becomes: it is better to wait then have a lawsuit against the government. For example, this occurs when an appeal is filed against an administrative act and such appeal is governed by Article 112 and those following of Act 39/2015 of 1 October regarding the Common Administrative Procedure, and the government, as occurs in some cases, has not expressly resolved this within the period of three months legally provided for or the request for suspension of the administrative act within one month.

What situation is the company in? It is faced with the decision of whether to go to the courts and tribunals of the contentious-administrative jurisdiction or not, given that the action brought can be deemed dismissed due to silence on the part of the government. However, what happened to the request for suspension? It has been considered why it has opted for positive silence, which is equivalent to an explicit administrative measure which it cannot counter and to which it is bound.

“The new generations seem to be in favour of development of the private sector. This is receiving increasing social recognition as a generator of wealth.”

This being the case, and if the contested governmental act is detrimental to the company because it implies expenditure, why hastily resort to a lawsuit against the government if such act has been suspended? It is sufficient to wait for the government to comply with its obligation of explicitly ruling on the appeal so that the administrative process can be concluded, and going to the courts demands that the request for suspension is repeated, and this will probably require the provision of guarantees that, in practice, has the same effect as a payment, with the resulting economic and financial loss for the company.

This topic is particularly relevant today, in 2017, since there seems to be an exploitative tendency that, in some cases, is more than questionable and at the very least it must be required that appeals lodged are expressly resolved within the prescribed period and with reasons that provide answers to the questions raised in each case, without the need to go through the ordeal of time and costs that a lawsuit entails.

As a matter of fact, Act 39/2015 underscores the responsibility of officials in the conduct of administrative proceedings in a society like ours, in which until recently ninety percent of law students wanted to be officials in order to have the security of a job for life. This is changing, perhaps because of circumstances, and the new generations seem to be in favour of development of the private sector. This is receiving increasing social recognition as a generator of wealth.

Everything evolves and in an era like ours, where it seems as though we all need to renew our vows and value our different perspectives and experiences as a connecting element that enriches us and not as a separating element that confronts us. It is worth recalling the role that cities played in the 18th century in social and economic development in the face of pseudo-feudalism of rural areas, which represented different realities and perspectives in the same era. It is also worth highlighting the recent international recognition that the scholar from the University of La Laguna, Jacob Lorenzo-Morales, received as the US incorporated him into a committee of international experts in free living amoebas in the event of a potential alert for encephalitis following the passage of Irma, and that at the end of last year Nicole Alejandra Centanaro, a student at the University of La Laguna who had coaches dedicated to her training, achieved the highest score in Spain in the competitive exams for judicial and fiscal careers.