Restaurants are among those to have sought compensation. | Efe


Spain's Supreme Court has rejected claims of Balearic government financial liability that arose from measures adopted during the pandemic.

These claims, which ran into millions of euros, were based on the fact that the Constitutional Court had ruled that the states of alarm in 2020 and 2021 were unlawful. The Spanish government, it was ruled, should have applied a different state of emergency as provided for under the Constitution.

In the case of Mallorca and the Balearics, the claims for compensation were directed at the council of ministers (the cabinet) and the regional ministry of health. They should accept responsibility for damages caused by their measures.

The largest claims were by two private healthcare companies that manage several clinics in the Balearics. One was for nine million euros. The justification for this was that the company had to maintain the workforce because staff were essential personnel but lost revenue from reduced consultations. The other claim was for 4.5 million euros. Both were originally presented to the Balearic government but were turned down.

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Other claims included a gym company. It demanded 9.5 million euros, although part of this sum referred to gyms elsewhere in Spain. A restaurant group claimed three million, a bingo business 983,000 euros, a betting salon company 548,000 euros.

The view of the Supreme Court is that neither the state of alarm decrees nor the ruling of the Constitutional Court indicate that there was a right to compensation for damages suffered. There was "a duty to bear the burdens on a general basis to preserve the public health of citizens".

In respect of the Constitutional Court's ruling, the Supreme Court refers to partial unconstitutionality, concluding that a right to compensation does not arise, while applying "the precautionary principle". Claimants have to therefore demonstrate that measures that were adopted were not justified and were not suitable or reasonable.

The judgement is expected to deter further demands, as claimants are liable for the costs of the Court's procedures.