The Amparo Context in Latin American Jurisdiction: an approach to an empowering action

 

By Gloria Orrego Hoyos

Gloria Orrego Hoyos is the Legal Reference Librarian (since 2004) and a Professor of Law and Legal Research (since 2008) at the Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires.   Additionally, she serves as a consultant for the Observatorio de Sentencias Judiciales (Judicial Judgments Observatory) at ELA – Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género, an independent non-profit organization which analyzes, through the compilation of the rulings of the higher courts in seven countries (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and México), the local judiciaries’ level of compliance with rights recognized in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and to spread best practices in the defense and recognition of women’s rights. Gloria Orrego Hoyos is a native of Colombia, where she obtained her law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana College of Law in Bogotá, Colombia, and is now living and working in Argentina where she obtained a Master in Constitutional Law and Human Rights from the Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires. She has also a librarianship degree from the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales in Buenos Aires. Ms. Orrego Hoyos is a member of the American Association of Law Librarians, and published significant scholarship.

Published April 2013

Table of Contents
Introduction
The writ of Amparo
Final thoughts
Suggested bibliography by country

 

Introduction

Since 1948 and after the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the necessity of a judicial mechanism of human rights protection became a global concern.

Under the influence of Mexican amparo,[[1]] the right to everyone “to simple and prompt recourse, or any other effective recourse, to a competent court or tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights recognized by the constitution or laws of the state concerned or by this Convention, even though such violation may have been committed by persons acting in the course of their official duties”[[2]] was included in the American Convention on Human Rights (article 25.1) in 1969[[3]].

 

With this “inter-American purpose”, the writ of amaparo was conceived (also called Acción de Tutela, Recurso de Amapro and Juicio de Amparo, among others), inspired in the Mexican amparo which was created with the deep conviction of the need for a procedural instrument to protect the fundamental rights of the governed against the public power, including challenging the constitutionality of laws.

 

Today is clear that one fundamental aspect in the modernization of the justice system in Latin American countries has been the quantitative and qualitative improvement of the instruments and the constitutional possibilities for the citizen to access the justice. This is particularly relevant taking into account the lack of access and the corruption in some governments and justice systems in the region.

 

The writ of Amparo

In the nineteenth century and in the first half of the twentieth century, the habeas corpus was the only specific mechanism of protection of fundamental freedoms. This led to the need for the institution to expand its scope to other rights and fundamental freedoms, in order to give amplitude to the protection. Thus, was born the amparo, following the Mexican experience.

However, the introduction of this action was different in the countries of the Latin America region, and in many cases took more than a century for its incorporation into domestic law.

Since the writ of amparo was established to ensure those freedoms, which were not, covered by habeas corpus and habeas data (eg. Physical liberty and right to privacy), it does not include other non-jurisdictional mechanisms of human rights protection (eg. the work of the ombudsman, the action (popular or direct) of unconstitutionality), or any other remedy which although eventually protects individual freedoms, its essential purpose or destination is not the direct protection of human rights.

The amparo then stands as the ideal means for the effective protection of constitutional rights violated, regardless of whether the person who produced such violation is a public or private authority.

 

The writ of amparo, like the habeas corpus, may be invoked by any person who believes that any of his/her rights, is being violated. However, one of the great progresses of the amparo in Latin America it’s that it enables citizens to invoke the action for the violation of any right protected either explicitly or implicitly by the Constitution or by any applicable international treaties.

It is also a very inexpensive or a free action, and in some countries (eg. Colombia) it does not require the participation of any legal counsel.

 

For all these reasons, it is logical to establish in a procedural level, tight deadlines for the exercise of the action. This time, ranging from 15 to 30 days, counting from the illegal act is executed, or it was due to execute, or it has knowledge of it, according to the regulations of each country.

Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and Costa Rica contemplated 60 days, while Bolivia and Venezuela six months. Colombia establishes the possibility to exercise the action at any time just as Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico.

 

The action must fulfill four requirements for its merit.

In first place, an act or omission by a public or private authority it is needed. The acts or omissions may contain positive or negative events. In the case of the public authority can come from any branch of the government.

This is a high point in regard to its validity against judicial decisions. However, in most countries, and given the exceptional nature of the action, refuses this possibility since there are other actions to attack statements that are considered unfair.

Secondly, the lesion must be actual and imminent.
This is aimed primarily because the action was designed to protect the constitutional right timely, and that is why it has been added the requirement to the rights remain violated at the time of issuance of the judgment.

In third place, it is required that the arbitrariness or illegality becomes manifest
The amparo does not seek the effect of deprive any act of the authority which appears vitiated. The writ will proceed only when the act of the authority is blatantly arbitrary or illegal.

Finally, there should be no other mechanism to file the claim.

The writ of amparo is exceptional and it will proceed only in the absence of any other mechanism (jurisdictional or non-jurisdictional) appropriate to the protection of constitutional rights of freedom.

 

The description of amparo as a judicial mechanism in the context of the organization of justice differs from country to country. This means that according to the procedural law of each country, the amparo can be ensured through a court action or through a procedural remedy.

However, although it has different expressions in the region and in many cases different procedural venues, the most appropriate terminology would be “writ”. The amparo conforms the appropriate procedural route to obtain, within a restricted area of ​​recognition, the protection of a right unknown, although it is usually designated as a resource.

 

While the origin of the amparo is shared by almost all the nations in the Latin American region, its incorporation into domestic law varies, not only chronologically, but also in the forms and procedure for each country.

Here is an overview of regulatory requirements of Amparo action in Latin American countries.

 

Country

Nomen Iuris

Year

Article in Constitution

Amparo Jurisdiction

Observations

Argentina

Amparo

1957-1958

Art. 43,

Constitution of Argentina Nation (1994)

Supreme Court hears the amparo of under review as second or third instance. Exceptional cases may go directly.

Establishes collective amparo. Created through the jurisprudence.

Colombia

Acción de tutela

 

1991

Art. 86

Political Constitution of Colombia (1991)

Constitutional Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

Proceeds against acts and omissions of authority or private, promoted before any judge or jurisdiction. Establishes collective amparo.

Venezuela

Amparo

1961

Art. 27

Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (1999)

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

The procedure of amparo is oral, public, brief, free and unencumbered by formalities.

Dominican Republic

Amparo

1999

No specific constitutional provision.

Supreme Court hears the amparo of under review as second or third instance.

Created through the jurisprudence. The judgment establishes an expeditious procedure for the amparo action.   

Uruguay

Amparo

1988

No specific constitutional provision. In National Law N°16.011 (19/12/1988)

Supreme Court hears the amparo of under review as second or third instance.

Article 72 of the Constitution enables the law that enshrines the protection.

Peru

Amparo

1979

Art. 200.2

Constitution of Peru (1993)

Constitutional Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

Habeas corpus fulfilled the functions of protection and was gradually expanding its natural scope of protection not only for the protection of personal freedom, but also for other fundamental rights.

Paraguay

Amparo

1967

Art. 134

Constitution of Paraguay (1992)

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

Heavily influenced by Argentina´s amparo.

Brazil

Mandado de seguranca

1967

Art. 5°, LXIX y LXX

Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil (1988)

Supreme Court hears the amparo of under review as second or third instance. Exceptional cases may go directly.

Establishes collective amparo.

Bolivia

Amparo

1967

Art. 19

Political Constitution of Bolivia (2009)

Constitutional Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

Heavily influenced by Argentina´s amparo.

Chile

Recurso de protección

1980

Art. 20

Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile (2005)

Constitutional Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

Recurso de amparo” in Chile, actually corresponds to the figure of habeas corpus, and the "Recurso de Protección” (resource protection) shares the legal nature of amparo.

Ecuador

Amparo

1967

Art. 95

Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador (2008)

Constitutional Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

Amparo es distinto a habeas data y habeas corpus

Costa Rica

Amparo

1949

Art. 48

Political Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica (1949)

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court. Direct Access.

Amparo is other than habeas data and habeas corpus

El Salvador

Amparo

1886

Art. 247

Constitution of El Salvador (1983)

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court. Direct Access.

Amparo is other than habeas data and habeas corpus

Nicaragua

Amparo

1894

Art. 45 y 188

Constitution of Nicaragua (1995)

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

Amparo is other than habeas data and habeas corpus

Panama

Amparo

1941

Art. 50

Constitution of Panama (2005)

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

 

Mexico

Amparo

1857

Art. 103 y 107

Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (2005)

Supreme Court hears the amparo of under review as second or third instance. Exceptional cases may go directly.

Establishes the Amparo Omnicomprensivo, whereby protects all the rights and fundamental freedoms and, in general, all the constitutional order of the nation.

Guatemala

Amparo

1921

Art. 265

Constitution of Guatemala (1993)

Constitutional Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance.

First country to introduce a constitutional court in Latin America by establishing autonomous Constitutional Court in 1965

Honduras

Amparo

1894

Art. 183

Constitution of Honduras (1982)

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court hears the amparo under review as second or third instance. Exceptional cases may go directly.

Amparo is other than habeas data and habeas corpus

 

 

Final thoughts

Even knowing the shortcomings of the action, the amparo stands as the mechanism with greater amplitude in jurisdictional protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in Latin American countries, expanding globally with similar scope and effectiveness.

 

Although the amparo shares many things in the region, the overall analysis of the different situations prevailing in different countries support the view that, in practice, national systems differ widely. That is why they have created a range of issues in the implementation of constitutional jurisdiction of the amparo and its appropriate guarantees.

In this regard, in the context of the analysis, it is logical that each country thinks and works on the necessary reforms and adjustments in the field of amparo writ.

 

In several of those countries, the discussion is already proposed.

In Argentina, the use of amparo as a human rights protection is not problematic when it comes to protect a citizen from harmful acts. However, the use of amparo against harmful omissions is still disputed in the legal academy.

Additionally, and even knowing the purpose of the protection of constitutional rights, in all the amparo cases, to bring the action is necessary that it meets, from the beginning, with all the conditions of proceeding. Otherwise, it may not be filed.

 

In Bolivia, the rights protected by the writ of amparo are even more extensive than in Argentina, protecting not only civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights. The amparo does not recognize exemptions, privileges or hierarchies.

 

Meanwhile, in Colombia, all judges have jurisdiction to hear the tutela. This is an important difference with other countries in the region, owing to its simplicity and accessibility. It may be filed even by an informal agent.

These characteristics make the tutela, an agile and dynamic action that provides effective and timely protection to the constitutional rights. Nevertheless, this feature of efficiency and protection has brought in practice, an excessive use of the action and congestion in the Colombian judicial system.

 

Very similar to Colombia, Chile shows more informality, and the amparo (named recurso de protección) can be filed by any natural or legal person affected, including collective entities -without legal personality- or any other person in its name.

The amparo cannot be understood as a unique process or substitute for other processes. However, stands as a short and concentrated to be preferential, since the type of rights at stake.

 

Suggested bibliography by country:

 

Argentina

-        Orgaz, Alfredo. 1961. El recurso de amparo; comentario a los casos "Siri" y "Kot.". Buenos Aires: Ediciones Depalma.

-        Diáz Solimine, Omar Luis. 2003. Juicio de amparo. Buenos Aires: Hammurabi.

-        Rojas de Anezin, Ana María. 2001. Amparo: análisis y jurisprudencia. Córdoba, República Argentina: Alveroni Ediciones.

-        Morello, Augusto Mario, and Carlos A. Vallefin. 1995. El amparo : regimen procesal. La Plata: Liberia Editora Platense.

-        García Morelos, Gumesindo. 1998. El amparo hábeas corpus: estudio comparativo México-Argentina. México: ABZ Editores.

-        Quiroga Lavié, Humberto. 1998. El amparo colectivo. Buenos Aires: Rubinzal-Culzoni Editores.

-        Gil Domínguez, Andrés. 2002. Constitución, emergencia y amparo. Buenos Aires: Ad-Hoc.

-        Bidart Campos, Germán José. 1961. Derecho de amparo. [Buenos Aires]: EDIAR.

-        Sbdar, Claudia Beatriz, and Raúl Canosa Usera. 2003.Amparo de derechos fundamentales. Buenos Aires: Ciudad Argentina.

-        Carranza Torres, Luis R. 1998. Práctica del amparo: doctrina y jurisprudencia : apéndice normativo. Córdoba: Alveroni Ediciones.

-        Fix-Zamudio, Héctor, and Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor. 2006. El derecho de amparo en el mundo. México, D.F.: Editorial Porrúa.

-        Aberastury, Pedro. 1999. La protección constitucional del ciudadano: Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica y Venezuela. Buenos Aires: CIEDLA.

-        Manili, Pablo Luis. 2005. Derecho procesal constitucional. Ciudad de Buenos Aires: Editorial Universidad.

 

Colombia

-        Ferrer Mac-Gregor, Eduardo. 2010. Acción de tutela y derecho procesal constitucional. Bogotá, D.C., Colombia: Doctrina y Ley.

-        Quinche Ramírez, Manuel Fernando. 2007. Vías de hecho: acción de tutela contra providencias. Bogotá, D.C.: Editorial Universidad del Rosario.

-        Mürrle Rojas, Anne Marie, and Juan Pablo Gonzalez Mejia. 1992. Características esenciales de la acción de tutela. Santafé de Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas.

-        Correa Henao, Néstor Raúl. 2001. Derecho procesal de la acción de tutela. Bogotá, D.C., Colombia: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas.

-        García Villegas, Mauricio, and María Isabel Borrero. 1997.Justicia constitucional y acción de tutela. Santa Fe de Bogotá: Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de los Andes.

-        Parra Guzmán, Mario Fernando, and Eduardo Andrés Velandia Canosa. 2000. Tutela jurisdiccional de los derechos fundamentales. Santafé de Bogotá: Ediciones Doctrina y Ley.

-        Camargo, Pedro Pablo. 1994. Manual de la acción de tutela. Santafé de Bogotá, D.C., Colombia: Ediciones Jurídica Radar.

-        Ortega Ribero, Germán. 1996. ABC de acción de tutela: guía práctica y jurisprudencia. Sante Fé de Bogotá, Colombia: Temis.

-        Osuna Patiño, Nestor Ivan. 1998. Tutela y amparo: derechos protegidos. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad Externado de Colombia.

-        Nisimblat Murillo, Nattan. 2009. Principios del proceso para la acción de tutela. Bogotá: Corporación Universitaria de Ciencia y Desarrollo.

 

Honduras

-       Honduras. 1995. Ley de amparo. Tegucigalpa, Hond: Graficentro Editores.

-       Flores Valeriano, Enrique. 2006. La justicia constitucional en Honduras. Tegucigalpa: Litografia Lopez.

-       Hernández Espinoza, Juan Arnaldo. 2003. Pareceres y paremias: dictámenes y sentencias sobre recursos de amparos ... habeas corpus. Tegucigalpa, Honduras: O.I.M. Editorial.

-       Molina V., Juan R. 1976. Recursos contra el abuso de poder: tesis. Tegucigalpa, D.C., Honduras: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídias y Sociales.

 

Bolivia

-        Bolivia. 1971. Jurisprudencia en materia de "amparo" constitucional. Cochabamba, Bolivia: [Editorial Universitaria].

-        Castellanos Trigo, Gonzalo. 2007. Hábeas corpus y amparo constitucional en Bolivia: jurisprudencia constitucional actualizada. Sucre, Bolivia: [s.n.].

-        Apaza Cossio, David. 2004. Amparo constitucional. Oruro, Bolivia: Latinas Editores.

-        Ramos M., Juan. 2005. Recursos constitucionales: habeas corpus, amparo constitucional, hábeas data y reformas constitucionales. [Bolivia]: Academia Boliviana de Estudios Constituconales.

-        Defensor del Pueblo (Bolivia). 2003. Recursos constitucionales. La Paz, Bolivia: s.n.

-        Castañón Barrientos, Carlos. 1979. Guía práctica de los procedimientos constitucionales: habeas corpus, amparo constitucional, inconstitucionalidad. La Paz: Editorial Los Amigos del Libro.

-        Arce Zaconeta, Héctor Enrique. 2003. Recursos constitucionales. La Paz, Bolivia: H.E. Arce Z.

-        Escobar Herbas, Victor Hugo. 2004. Justicia ordinaria vs. justicia constitucional. La Paz, Bolivia: Impresiones Quality, S.R.L.

-        Pérez Tremps, Pablo (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), and Cardozo Daza, Richard Eddy. 2008. El proceso de amparo en Bolivia. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (España).

-        Castellanos Trigo, Gonzalo. 2007. Hábeas corpus y amparo constitucional en Bolivia: jurisprudencia constitucional actualizda. Sucre, Bolivia: Talleres Graficos "Gaviota del Sur".

 

Chile

-        Aberastury, Pedro, and Humberto Nogueira A. 2000.Acciones constitucionales de amparo y protección: realidad y prospectiva en Chile y América Latina. Talca: Editorial Universidad de Talca.

-        Caffarena de Jiles, Elena. 1957. El recurso de amparo frente a los regímenes de emergencia.

-        Paillas, Enrique. 1990. El recurso de protección ante el derecho comparado. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Jurídica de Chile.

-        Tavolari Oliveros, Raúl. 1995. Habeas corpus: recurso de amparo. Santiago: Editorial Jurídica de Chile.

-        Errazuriz Gatica, Juan Manuel, and Miguel Otero A. 1989.Aspectos procesales del recurso de protección. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Jurídica de Chile.

-        Lira Herrera, Sergio. 1990. El recurso de protección: naturaleza jurídica, doctrina, jurisprudencia, derecho comparado. Santiago, Chile: Alborada.

-        Paillas, Enrique. 2002. El recurso de protección ante el derecho comparado: una acción en busca de una justicia rápida y eficaz. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Jurídica de Chile.

-        Verdugo Johnston, Pamela. 1988. El recurso de protección en la jurisprudencia. Santiago-Chile: Editorial Jurídica Ediar-ConoSur.

-        Gómez Bernales, Gastón. 2005. Derechos fundamentales y recursos de protección. Santiago de Chile: Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, Escuela de Derecho.

-        Soto Kloss, Eduardo. 1982. El recurso de protección: orígenes, doctrina y jurisprudencia. Santiago: Editorial Jurídica de Chile.

 

Brasil

-       Cretella Júnior, José. 1989. Os "writs" na constituição de 1988: mandado de segurança, mandado de segurança coletivo, mandado de injunção, habeas data, habeas corpus, ação popular. Rio de Janeiro: Forense Universitaria.

-       Xavier, Flavia da Silva, and José Antonio Savaris. 2011. Manual dos recursos nos juizados especiais federais. Curitiba, Paraná, Brasil: Juruá Editora.

-       Salem Neto, José, and Rafael Rossignolli Delamano. 2011. Mandado de segurança: reflexos da EC n. 45 : doutrina, jurisprudência e prática. São Paulo, SP, Brasil: LTr 75.

-       Fernandes, Bernardo Gonçalves. 2010. Remédios constitucionais: mandado de segurança individual e coletivo, mandado de injunção, habeas data, ação popular e habeas corpus na doutrina e na jurisprudência do STJ e do STF. Salvador: JusPODIVM.

-       Silva, Amaury. 2010. O novo mandado de segurança: comentários à lei n° 12.016, de 07 de agosto de 2009: disciplina o mandado de segurança individual e coletivo. Leme, SP: J.H. Mizuno.

-       Tavares, André Ramos. 2010. Curso de direito constitucional. São Paulo: Saraiva.

 

Ecuador

-       Chiriboga Z., Galo A. 2001. La acción de amparo y de hábeas data: garantías de los derechos constitucionales y su nueva realidad jurídica. Quito, Ecuador: Asociación Americana de Jurístas.

-       Chiriboga Z., Galo A. 2001. La acción de amparo y de hábeas data: garantías de los derechos constitucionales y su nueva realidad jurídica. Quito, Ecuador: Asociación Americana de Jurístas.

-       Pérez, Efraín. 2011. Esquema de la acción extraordinaria de protección en las sentencias de la Corte Constitucional. Quito: Corporación de Estudios y Publicaciones.

-       Ecuador. 2004. Prontuario de resoluciones del Tribunal Constitucional. 2, Acción de amparo. Quito: Corporación de Estudios y Publicaciones.

-       Oyarte Martínez, Rafael. 2006. La acción de amparo constitucional: jurisprudencia, dogmática y doctrina. Quito, Ecuador: Fundación Andrade & Asociados.

-       Cueva Carrión, Luis. 2010. Acción constitucional ordinaria de protección. Ecuador: Ediciones Cueva Carrión.

 

Guatemala

-       Rodríguez-Cerna Rosada, Carlos Rafael. 2005. El amparo guatemalteco y las verdaderas reformas que clama su justicia constitucional. Guatemala: Editorial Orión.

-       Sierra González, José Arturo. 2004. Propuestas para reducir los efectos dilatorios que provoca el abuso del amparo judicial. Guatemala: Fundación Myrna Mack.

-       Guatemala. 2004. Incidencias procesales: acciones de amparo, inconstitucionalidad de leyes en casos concretos. Guatemala: [Corte de Constitucionalidad].

-       Guzmán Hernández, Martín Ramón. 2004. El amparo fallido. Guatemala: Publicación de la Corte de Constitucionalidad.

-       Vásquez Martínez, Edmundo. 1998. "El proceso de amparo en Guatemala". Boletín Mexicano De Derecho Comparado. 3191: 221-259.

 

México

-       México, and Sergio Alonso Rodríguez Narváez. 2012. Los derechos humanos y su protección por el Poder Judicial de la Federación. México: Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Coordinación de Compilación y Sistematización de Tesis.

-       Alcala H.N. 2010. "La acción constitucional de protección en chile y la acción constitucional de amparo en México". Ius Et Praxis. 16 (1): 219-286.

-       García Morelos, Gumesindo. 2010. El proceso de acción de inconstitucionalidad. Azcapotzalco, México, D.F.: UBIJUS.

-       Lancaster- Jones, Carlos María Enrigue. 2006. Manual de exepciones civiles. México: Porrúa.

-       Ruíz Martínez, Ismael. 2003. La acción del amparo. Ciudad Juárez, Chih: Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez.

 

 



[[1]] Enshrined in the Carta Federal on February 5th, 1857.

[[2]] American Convention on Human Rights, available at http://www.cidh.org/Basicos/English/Basic3.American%20Convention.htm (02.03.2012)

[[3]] Adopted at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights, San José, Costa Rica, 22 November 1969.