Spain's Constitutional Court has paralysed Catalonia's attempt to hold a "citizen's consultation", which was meant to be held in lieu of an independence referendum after the Spanish government blocked the move.

Catalonia's leader Artur Mas initially pegged an in-out from Spain on 9 November but he had to then cancel it and initiate a "public participation process."

The consultation was intended to officially gauge public opinion over a breakaway from the country without breaking any laws of holding a referendum.

"The vote will not happen according to Law of Consultations and the decree I signed, obviously because the Spanish Government has suspended both," said Mas last month.

"We're moving forward, not as united, but forward. Commitment means Catalan Government will hold the vote on that date, with ballot boxes and ballots. I would have preferred maximum consensus but it is now not possible.

"This option is still at our disposal and it is the most feared option by the Spanish government.

"Although consensus is broken, I know for sure the real adversary is the Spanish state, which does everything it can to keep Catalan people from voting. We now need more people than ever, we are a bit more alone."

However, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the consultation a "referendum undercover" and urged judges to block the secondary move.

Catalonia is an industrial and commercial titan in Spain and pays far higher taxes than any other regional community.

It accounts for over 20% of Spain's GDP, and only 8% is ploughed back into it by the state.

The Catalan community represents 16% of the total Spanish population.

Spain, which is still struggling to recover from the credit crunch in 2008 and the Eurozone debt crisis of 2010, is concerned that the vote would tear the country apart financially.