Judicialization of Economic Development

The ability of the executive and legislative powers to effectively lead their country's economy is seriously diminished by the excessive actions of the judicial branch, especially the Constitutional Courts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


It is happening in Central America but it is a growing problem throughout Latin America. The legitimate concern to guarantee that all citizens fully exercise their rights under the very welcomed liberal democracy, has created a culture of acceptance of virtually all proceedings filed in courts against executive actions taken by the government, and also against laws which have been formally approved.

And any legal recourse easily reaches the highest levels, and in most jurisdictions it results in the paralysis of government actions or valid laws until there is a final judgment, which can take years.

Added to the ease with which any citizen can paralyze government actions, is the increasing interference with executive functions which results from a lot of the judgments. In this way, in Costa Rica, a judge orders the execution of road works, glossing over criteria on technical or financial feasibility, and in Guatemala the Constitutional Court bans the differentiated minimum wage, claiming that "... salaries can not be understood under a purely monetary concept ".

Especially in the economic area, government actions always have negative consequences for a minority of the population, and it is utopian to expect a country to develop economically if a price is not paid in that regard. Governments must make room for the measures that political and economic philosophy demand from them, because it is for that purpose they have been democratically elected. And the judicial branch should refrain from sentencing using political criteria.

On this subject Antonio Mosquera Aguilar concludes in his article on Prensalibre.com referring to a ruling in Guatemala against differentiated minimum wages: "The current Constitutional Court should know its limits and functions. Interfering with the functions of the Executive makes it a political actor, removed from an interpretive role, as protector of the regime of legality and democratic rule of law. Many actors who resort to this court are motivated by political reasons. Lowering constitutional disputes to the level of opportunistic resolutions, undermines confidence in its members. "

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