Supreme Court of Chile

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The Justice Courts Palace (Palacio de los Tribunales de Justicia) in Santiago. This is the seat of Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of Chile is the highest court in Chile. It also administrates the lower courts in the nation. It is located in the capital Santiago.

In the Chilean system, the court lacks the broader power of judicial review — it cannot set binding precedent or invalidate laws. Instead, it acts on a case-by-case basis. Trials are carried out in salas, chambers of at least five judges, presided over by the most senior member.


The members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President from a list of five choices prepared by the sitting members of the court. Two of the choices must be senior judges from appellate courts; the other three may have no judicial experience. The president's choice must then be ratified by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

Supreme Court justices must be at least 36 years old. Once appointed, a Chilean Supreme Court justice is entitled to remain on the Court until the compulsory retirement age of 75. The only exception is if a justice can be removed by "notorious abandonment of duty," as deemed by a majority of both chambers of Congress.

The Supreme Court has twenty-one members, called ministros. One member is selected to serve a two-year term as President of the Supreme Court.

Current Supreme Court members[edit]

The composition of the Supreme Court changes relatively quickly, as judges attain the retirement age of 75. This list was last updated on 22 January 2016.[1]

Justice End of mandate
Hugo Enrique Dolmestch Urra (President) 2019
Milton Iván Juica Arancibia 2018
Sergio Manuel Muñoz Gajardo 2032
Raúl Patricio Valdés Aldunate 2018
Héctor Guillermo Carreño Seaman 2019
Pedro Pierry Arrau 2016
Carlos Guillermo Künsemüller Loebenfelder 2021
Haroldo Osvaldo Brito Cruz 2023
Guillermo Enrique Silva Gundelach 2022
Rosa María Maggi Ducommun 2021
Rosa del Carmen Egnem Saldías N/A
María Eugenia Sandoval Gouët N/A
Juan Eduardo Fuentes Belmar 2024
Lamberto Antonio Cisternas Rocha 2020
Ricardo Luis Hernán Blanco Herrera 2029
Gloria Ana Chevesich Ruiz 2028
Carlos Ramón Aránguiz Zúñiga 2028
Andrea María M. Muñoz Sánchez N/A
Carlos José Cerda Fernández 2018
Manuel Antonio Valderrama Rebolledo N/A
Jorge Gonzalo Dahm Oyarzún N/A

Notable decisions[edit]

Augusto Pinochet[edit]

The Chilean Supreme Court has been involved in many important human rights cases regarding the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

  • In July 2002, it dismissed a case against Pinochet, saying that he was unfit to stand trial due to dementia.
  • In August 2004, it confirmed a lower court's decision that Pinochet should lose his automatic immunity he acquired from being a former senator.
  • In March 2005, it reversed a lower court's decision stripping Pinochet of immunity in the case of the assassination of Carlos Prats.
  • In August 2007, it upheld a life sentence for Hugo Salas Wenzel, the first senior official to receive a life term for human rights violations conducted during the reign of Pinochet. [1]

Gay rights[edit]

The Chilean Supreme Court has made controversial decisions in the area of gay rights.

Women's health[edit]

  • In November 2005, the Chilean Supreme Court ruled that the sale of contraceptive morning-after pill Postinor 2 is constitutional.

Alberto Fujimori[edit]

On September 21, 2007, the court accepted Peru's request to extradite former president Alberto Fujimori, on human rights and corruption charges.


  1. ^ "Judiciary of the Republic of Chile (Poder Judicial de la República de Chile)" (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 January 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°26′21″S 70°39′11″W / 33.43917°S 70.65306°W / -33.43917; -70.65306