DERECHO JUDICIAL STAMPS
revenue stamps, called DERECHO JUDICIAL
(Judicial Fee) stamps, were created for
use in Cuba and Porto Rico by the Royal Order
of May 31, 1855. The use of these
stamps was extended to the Philippines
by the Royal Order of September 7,
1860 (September 7, 1859, according
to some authorities). These stamps,
which were used in three different
colonies, are listed hereafter as issued
for use in SPANISH COLONIES. DERECHO JUDICIAL
stamps for use exclusively in
the Philippines were first issued in
1866. The Derecho Judicial stamps
issued for Spanish Colonies seem
to have remained in use in the Philippines
for several years subsequent to 1866,
however, and in 1869 the supply of
these stamps still on hand in the
Philippines was overprinted, "HABlLITADO FOR LA NACION",
(Made Valid By The Nation). Derecho
Judicial stamps of the Spanish Colonies bearing
this surcharge were used only in the Philippines,
and are therefore listed hereafter
as Philippine stamps. Derecho Judicial stamps continued
to be issued for the Philippines
from 1866 until 1885.
The term DERECHO JUDICIAL means JUDICIAL FEE. These fees included what in American jurisprudence are commonly called the "costs" of a judicial action. Judicial fees were collected in both civil and criminal actions, but by far the greater portion of these fees arose from civil actions. Judicial fees were apart from, and in addition to, the requirement that all documents presented in any judicial. action, as well as the judicial record of the nation, must be executed upon stamped paper. A judicial fee was charged, not only for every official act of the judge but also for every official act of every subordinate official of the court. Judicial Fees also included the fees prescribed by law for certain expert witnesses and translators, when the services of such were collected by the court from the litigants and were paid by the court, or by the Treasury Department, to the persons who rendered such service. The large number of judicial fees which must be paid made litigation before the Spanish colonial courts very costly for the litigants. A complete list of these judicial fees is far too lengthy to be quoted here.
The Tariff of Judicial Fees (Aranceles Judiciales) which was in force in the Philippines in 1860, when the use of adhesive DERECHO JUDICIAL stamps was extended to the Philippines, was that authorized by the Royal Audiencia (Supreme Court of the Philippines in an Auto (Decree) dated February 21, 1850. At the request of the Audiencia this tariff of Judicial Fees was eventually given formal approval by the King in the Royal Order of June 20, 1866 which was published in the Gaceta de Manila of August 30, 1866, The Royal Order of June 20, 1866, approved the Tariff of Judicial Fees established by the Auto of February 21, 1850, declared that Article 488 thereof was equally applicable to both civil and criminal proceedings, and that in the future those Indies (Native Inhabitants) who were not insolvent should pay the portion of the costs corresponding to them in accordance with said article; and, finally, that in the future the Audiencia should remit for Royal approbation the tariffs which it might formulate and the alteration which it night believe necessary to make in these which were in force.
The Royal Decree of July 8, 1893, approved a new Tariff of Judicial Fees for civil cases for the islands of Porto Rico and the Philippines. The Tariff which was approved by this decree lists more than three hundred different services for which judicial were collected. Among the lowest items was P0.03 (0.15 U.S. currency) collected by clerks of court for each page of the acknowledgements in which they make note of the books and papers of litigants when a detailed description of such books and papers must be recorded. Among the highest items were: P7.30 (3.75 US) per page for the translation into current Spanish of documents written in Latin, ancient Spanish, Lemosin or Galician, dated prior to the eighteenth century ( prior to January 1, 1700); P6.00 per page for the translation of documents dated subsequent to December 31, 1699; and P12.50 per page for making a critical paleographic analysis of a document executed to the 18th century certifying to its authenticity or falsity. . The Royal Decree of May 18, 1894, approved a new Tariff of Judicial Fees for Criminal cases f for Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippines. More than one hundred services for which judicial fees were collected are listed therein. 
The Royal Decree creating a judicial system for the Spanish colonies provided very small salaries for the Judges, but the judicial fees which each judge collected were a part of the emoluments of his office. Abuses in the collection of these fees were recorded prior to the year 1600, and such abuses seem to have been more of less prevalent as long as judicial, fees continued to form a part of the income of the judges. In an attempt to correct these abuses Royal Decrees of 1845 and 1847 assigned much larger salaries to the Alcaldes Mayores (Provincial Judges) and provided that all judicial fees should accrue directly to the Treasury instead of being paid to the judges. The fees continued to be collected in cash, however, and the Central Government seems to have encountered difficulty in obtaining an honest accounting for the fees thus collected by the officers of the courts. This situation prompted the Royal Order of May 31, 1835, which provided that in the future judicial fees should be collected not in cash but by affixing adhesive stamps to the documents to which the fees pertained. Revenue stamps were an accountable property of the State and the persons who sold the stamps could be required to produce either the stamps or the money representing the value of the stamps which were sold. Thus the misappropriation of judicial fees was made more difficult and could be more easily detected.