Judiciary of Colombia

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The headquarters of the judiciary are in the Palace of Justice in Bogotá.

The judiciary of Colombia (Spanish: Rama Judicial de Colombia) is a branch of the State of Colombia that interprets and applies the laws of Colombia, to ensure equal justice under law, and to provide a mechanism for dispute resolution. The judiciary comprises a hierarchical system of courts presided over by judges, magistrates and other adjudicators.

Colombia is a centralized state, thus there is only one jurisdiction (with the exception of special indigenous jurisdictions), which is functionally divided by subject matter into an ordinary, penal, administrative, disciplinary, constitutional and special jurisdictions (military, peace, and indigenous matters).

The judiciary of Colombia, unlike most jurisdictions, does not have a single supreme entity to oversee the lower courts, but rather has four high courts, known in Colombia as the "High Courts", which are the supreme tribunals of decision in their respective fields. The four high courts are the Constitutional Court (head of the constitutional jurisdiction), the Supreme Court (head of the ordinary jurisdiction), the Council of State (head of the administrative jurisdiction), and the Superior Council of Judicature (head of the disciplinary jurisdiction). Though the courts are supposed to be equal, the Constitutional Court has a broad spectrum of judicial oversight which often allows it to rule on issues overseen by different jurisdictions and even to weigh in directly in the rulings of other high courts.[1]

High Courts[edit]

Constitutional Court[edit]

The Colombian Constitutional court is in charge of guarding the Colombian Constitution. The Constitutional court also oversees the Tutela (similar to an Amparo) which protect individuals against violations of fundamental rights as stated in the Article 86 of the Colombian Constitution. The Tutela can be filed against individuals, companies, the government itself and even judicial rulings.[2] Thus the court can overturn rulings issued by other High Courts if it judges them to violate fundamental human rights.

The Colombian Constitutional court also decides on the constitutionality of Laws, Presidential Decree deemed to have force of law and International Treaties. Unlike the constitutional oversight of the Supreme Court of the United States, laws might be challenged at any time by any citizen and are not decided in a case by case basis but are directly decided upon on abstract. In other words the plaintiff does not have to demonstrate he has been harmed by the law or that he has any legitimate interest on the decision, all he has to do is to allege why he considers the law to be unconstitutional even if the consequences of said unconstitutionality have not yet been realized or are merely implicit. The mechanism by which the court hears unconstitutionally cases is the Public Action of Unconstitutionality which dates back to 1910.

Supreme Court[edit]

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial instance of the ordinary jurisdiction. It consists of 23 judges which are chosen by coöption. The current magistrates fill themselves any vacants by choosing from a lists of ten candidates that are forwarded by the Council of Judicial Governance. This lists are integrated by the winners of public convocations that grade applicants by their merit.

The Court is formed by 3 chambers, a civil-agrarian chamber made up by 7 judges, a labor chamber made up by 7 judges and a Penal chamber made up by 9 judges. The Court is located in Bogotá.

Council of State of Colombia[edit]

The highest body of the Contentious Administrative Jurisdiction, it solves the processes that involve to the State and the matters, or the processes that involve to two State Entities ultimately; it also completes an advisory function because it is the body to which the Government should appeal before making certain decisions, it is not bound by its decision, but must consider the councils, verdict or opinion in certain matters.

The Council knows of the unconstitutionality of any norm that the Constitutional Court is not competent to adjudicate, which are all other norms that do not have material force of law, such as Reglementary Presidential Decrees, Administrative Acts, City Ordinances, etc.

Superior Council of the Judiciary[edit]

Council of Government Judiciary (Spanish: Consejo de Gobierno Judicial) serves for the administration of the branch and also has the power to decide over conflicts of competence between courts.

It is the highest disciplinary body of the judicial branch and serves as an Ethics Tribunal for Judges and lawyers alike.

Lower Courts[edit]

Ordinary Superior tribunals[edit]

The ordinary jurisdiction is divided into judicial districts which function as appellate courts (Superior tribunals). Each district has a superior court, which hears appeals from and supervise the lower courts in the district. The court is composed of three judges which are appointed by the Supreme Court. Criminal trials make use of an eight hundred .

Regional courts[edit]

First Instance Courts[edit]

Administrative Courts[edit]

The Administrative Courts of Colombia are a first instance level in the judiciary of the country. Administrative court are in the following departments.

Military Courts[edit]

Jurisprudence[edit]

  • Jurisprudence (Case Law)
  • Jurisprudence (All Colombian Law)
  • Judiciary (In General)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Botero Marino, Botero Marino; Fernando Jaramillo. "El Conflicto de las Cortes Colombianas en Torno a la Tutela Contra Sentencias." (PDF). Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Delaney, Patrick (2008). "Legislating for Equality in Colombia: Constitutional Jurisprudence, Tutelas, and Social Reform" (PDF). The Equal Rights Review. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

References[edit]