Stating personal rights thanks to an excellent constitutional court: The newest exemplory instance of gays from inside the Costa Rica

Stating personal rights thanks to an excellent constitutional court: The newest exemplory instance of gays from inside the Costa Rica

* Member professor out of governmental research, University from Main Fl, and you will visitor specialist within Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway. This can be a revised form of a newsprint showed in the “Process of law additionally the Marginalized: Relative Knowledge” workshop in the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile, . Mcdougal really wants to give thanks to Juan Carlos Rodriguez Cordero, Roberto Gargarella, Siri Gloppen, Rachel Sieder, Kerstin Hamann, in addition to I•Con reviewers and writers. Email:


Bruce M. Wilson, Saying individual rights as a consequence of a good constitutional courtroom: The fresh new example of gays when you look at the Costa Rica, Worldwide Record regarding Constitutional Law, Volume 5, Point dos, , Profiles 242–257, Navbar Search Filter out Mobile Go into search term Look Navbar Search Filter Enter keyword Search


In the 1989, a freshly created Constitutional Courtroom (Sala IV) quickly became a highly productive legal, conclude more than 160 many years of Costa Rican judicial laziness. The brand new magistrates’ measures breathed new lease of life on Composition, concluded judicial deference to opted for officials, and therefore switched Costa Rican political lives. Concurrently, the Sala IV magistrates presumed the newest character of guardians out-of constitutional rights, providing rise to what is sometimes named a legal rights wave. The article sheds white towards abrupt significance of your forty-year-old Constitutional file using an examination of the institutional laws and you may procedures significantly less than which the the fresh Legal works, plus it examines the success and disappointments of one of your own nation’s extremely marginalized communities when you look at the seeking to safeguards of their constitutional rights about Judge.


From inside the 1999, Costa Ricans famous its Constitution’s fiftieth wedding. step one The new value of one’s Structure throughout these 50 ages is actually regularly split up into a few line of symptoms, both before and after the latest 1989 creation of an effective constitutional chamber regarding the latest Finest Courtroom (Sala Constitucional otherwise Sala IV). 2 Before 1989, the brand new constitutionality away from lawmakers’ steps try hardly confronted, and politicians experienced their “capability to legislate try pure,” letting them routinely skip constitutional limits on the powers. step 3 Although not, the fresh detailed personal and you can public rights conditions of your own Structure had been rarely addressed of the Supreme Courtroom. 4 Those things from Sala IV magistrates provides breathed new life into the Structure and you can switched Costa Rican government, 5 since the Sala IV have consistently read and favorably felt like individual rights claims. It’s widely arranged one to, as the 1989, Costa Rica has already established a judicial revolution- even more specifically, a good “rights” revolution-that has encouraged some one and you will teams away from just about any markets regarding people to turn towards Court to possess redress. six

As magistrates of your Finest Courtroom in the past deferred to the prominent branches from regulators, they today act as effective guardians of your Constitution. All together Sala IV magistrate, Eduardo Sancho, put it: “It’s important to know this new Sala IV never as a keen organization designed to become at services of one’s manager department, however, a bit the reverse: to guard the fresh legal rights of people.” seven Brand new magistrates have daily and you may decisively influenced for the cases of individual rights claims, frequently in support of politically weak and you can socially ines Sala IV choices to the cases recorded from the several of the most weakly structured, politically and you will socially marginalized people in Costa Rican area. Just before doing so, they discusses this new official organization structure pre and post the new manufacturing off Sala IV to explain the fresh root of your own Court’s increased judicial activism and you may, particularly, this new renewed value assumed of the constitutional terms as the the latest chamber was at operation.

step one. Of official laziness so you can official activism

On first 160 several years of freedom, Costa Rica’s Ultimate Judge behaved like many most other Latin american process of law, running on the belief the strategies of well-known branches out of bodies was constitutional until these people were egregiously and needless to say if you don’t. 8 As in remaining region, Costa Rica’s constitutions incorporated costs regarding rights which were mostly forgotten and, more frequently, merely “parchment traps, ineffective up against political fuel.” 9 For decades there was significant conflict one of several twigs off regulators concerning official feedback. It wasn’t up until 1938 that Ultimate Court established the “official supremacy into the constitutional things.” ten But, such as the majority of the rest of Latin The usa, the fresh constitutional pledges out-of personal liberties provided absolutely nothing shelter against the caprices out-of governmental managers, specifically for marginalized individuals. eleven