In a previous entry on the website of this criminal defense law firm in Marbella we have dealt with payment as a cause of extinction of obligations, in this post we will focus on persons who can make and receive payment of obligations in Spain.

As already mentioned, the regulatory framework is defined in Section 1, Chapter IV, Title I, Book IV of the Civil Code, comprising 25 articles, including the allocation of payments, payment by assignment of property and the offer of payment and consignment, all of which, due to their relevance, will be dealt with in detail in other entries on this website.

Among these articles we find the delimitation of the persons who must perform the service and the persons who can demand its payment obligations in Spain.


The Code addresses this in Article 1158, firstly with regard to the persons who can make the payment, by providing that:


  • Article 1158

Payment may be made by any person, whether or not he or she has an interest in the performance of the obligation, whether or not he or she knows and approves of it, or whether or not the debtor is aware of it.

Whoever pays on behalf of another may claim from the debtor what he would have paid, had not done so against his express will.

In this case it can only repeat from the debtor that in which the payment would have been useful”.

The exegesis of this article emphasizes the possibility of a person outside the compulsory circle to pay the benefit. This power is exercised even against the express will of the debtor. This gives rise to the possibility of payment by a third party, giving rise to an action for reimbursement in favor of the person who has paid the debt, at the expense of the original debtor, although with the limit of what the payment to the original debtor would have been useful. In this respect STS 1623/2016 (04/08/2016).


Notwithstanding the above, the effects are limited in the case of payment made by a third party, ignored by the debtor. Thus, Article 1159 states that:


  • Article 1159

Whoever pays on behalf of the debtor, and the debtor does not know it, cannot compel the creditor to subrogate his rights”.

In this case, the third party will not enjoy the rights that the debtor had in his favor, but will be limited in the reimbursement action to what would have been useful to the debtor.


We found the following limitations on payment of obligations in Spain:

payment of obligations in Spain

  • Article 1160

In the obligations to deliver, payment made by someone who does not have free disposal of the thing due and capacity to dispose of it will not be valid. However, if the payment consisted of a sum of money or fungible thing, there shall be no recourse against the creditor who spent or consumed it in good faith”.


  • Article 1161

In affirmative covenants, the creditor may not be compelled to receive performance or service from a third party, when the quality and circumstances of the person of the debtor have been taken into account in establishing the obligation”.

It includes the code four articles, 1162 to 1165, in relation to the persons to whom the payment will have to be made. In this way, payment must be made to the person in whose favor the obligation was constituted, or to another person authorized to receive it on his behalf. If is disabled or has been made to a third party, it will be valid as far as it would have been useful. If it had been made in good faith to whoever was in possession of the credit, the payment will be discharged. However, such payment shall not be valid after a court order to withhold the debt.


Our lawyers, who are experts in the field of contract and liability law, will be able to advise and guide you both in demanding and carrying out payment. Do not hesitate and contact us.