Pascual Sala Sánchez (born 18 June 1935 in Valencia) is a Spanish jurist. He was previously president of the Spanish Supreme Court and of the General Council of the Judiciary (1990-1996), and was later president of the Spanish Constitutional Court (2011-2013).

Early life

Sala was born on 18 June 1935 in Valencia, and went on to study a law degree at the University of Valencia. He became a judge in 1962, and in 1970 became a magistrate of administrative disputes, presiding over courts in Valencia, Albacete and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During the same decade, he formed part of Justicia Democrática, a movement composed of lawyers and other legal professionals in opposition to Franco's dictatorship in Spain and in favour of democracy. After the end of Franco's dictatorship, Sala became a member of the professional association Judges for Democracy until he took up his post as the President of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary. In 1982, he became the member of the Spanish Court of Auditors representing the Congress of Deputies, as proposed by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, and taking on the role of the President of the Prosecutions Division.

Supreme Court and General Council of the Judiciary

In 1986, Sala became a magistrate of administrative disputes on the Supreme Court, and in 1988 was elected to the presidency of the Court of Auditors by its members. On 7 November 1990, Pascual Sala became the President of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary, with a vote of 13 in favour to 4 against of an electorate of 20 of the members of the General Council. As president of the General Council of the Judiciary, Sala played a crucial role in the reaction to the scandal surrounding Luis Pascual Estevill, and requested Estevill resign after he was implicated in a number of offences. On 25 July 1996, Sala left the presidencies of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary, and returned to his previous position as a Supreme Court judge. He was replaced in the presidency by Judge Javier Delgado Barrio.

Constitutional Court

From 2004 to 2013 Sala was a member of the Constitutional Court of Spain, and on 20 January 2011 he was elected its president. Sala was the first career judge ever to have been president of the Constitutional Court, with all the others having been professors. He remained in this post until 19 June 2013, when he was replaced by Francisco Pérez de los Cobos. Notable and controversial cases his presidency of the court covered include the legalising of the Basque political party Sortu, which passed by one vote, and in whose case El País attributed the speed of the decision to Sala's effort; the case considering the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in Spain; and the beginning of the case regarding the declaration of sovereignty made by the Parliament of Catalonia (not to be confused with the Catalan declaration of independence of October 2017). In a 2013 interview with Escritura Pública, a Spanish magazine related to law and the legal profession, Sala spoke of his concern about the politicisation of the court, saying that "the necessary institutional respect has sometimes become unknown to politicians who criticise decisions they do not approve of that the Court takes, confounding legitimate criticism with discreting, and even sometimes with insult".


In an interview with RAC 1 in late 2018, speaking about the Catalan declaration of independence, Sala said "for me, it's very difficult - almost impossible - that there might exist a crime of rebellion, and very problematic, not to say also impossible, that there might exist one of sedition".


On 1 December 1995, Sala was awarded the Order of Constitutional Merit by the Council of Ministers. The next year, on 13 September 1996, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Raymond of Peñafort. On 5 December 2014, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III.

Published works

* (Building law, 2001; ) * (Procedural administrative law, 2001; ) * (Jurisdiction and competency in the administrative judicial process: problems of definition of competencies in the new Law on Regulation of the Administrative Judicial Jurisdiction, 2002; )


{{Authority control Category:People from Valencia Category:Members of the General Council of the Judiciary Category:University of Valencia alumni Category:Spanish jurists Category:Spanish judges Category:Presidents of the Supreme Court of Spain