The Court of Audit is the external audit body recognized by the Spanish Constitution, which is configured as the supreme audit body of the accounts and the financial management of the public sector, without prejudice to its judicial function focused on the prosecution of accounting liability incurred by those who are responsible for the management of public funds. It has been also conferred the audit of the financial-economic activity and regular accounting of political parties, as well as of the contributions received by foundations and associations linked to the political parties represented in the Spanish Parliament.
It reports directly to the Spanish Parliament and performs its duties by delegating them in the review and acknowledgement of the General State Accounts. Nevertheless, the Court of Audit enjoys full independence in the exercise of its functions, being recognized by the Spanish Constitution that the members of the Court of Audit shall have the same independence and tenure and shall be subject to the same incompatibilities as judges.
The audit role of the Court of Audit is related to to the submission of the economic-financial public sector to the principles of legality and good management activity (economy, effectiveness and efficiency). The results of audit actions are included in reports, memoranda, motions and memos approved by the Plenum of the Court of Audit and referred to the Spanish Parliament and, as appropriate, to the Legislative Assemblies of the Autonomous Regions and to the plenary sessions of local authorities.
The judicial function deals with the prosecution of the accounting liability incurred by those who are responsible for managing public funds, provided that there has been impairment or prejudice to them. The Court of Audit is unique and its jurisdiction extends throughout the national territory, without prejudice to the judgements of the Courtroom being subject to an appeal (and, where necessary, to an appeal for review) before the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court.
The organization of the Court of Audit meets the two functions mentioned, when, the Audit and Prosecution Sections were established, inter alia, as bodies of the Court; these sections are structured into departments to better fulfil their missions.
Besides the Court of Audit, several external audit bodies of the Autonomous Regions have been set up under different names to exercise and audit function over the regional and local authorities from their respective territories, without excluding the jurisdiction of the Court to audit the entire Spanish public sector. However, accounting prosecution jurisdiction is exclusive to the Court of Audit.