DESCRIPTION OF THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF BOLIVIA
The Judicial Branch is composed of the Supreme Court (highest instance of ordinary jurisdiction),* the District and Lower Courts*, and the Magistracy Council. Justice is dispensed in two jurisdictions: ordinary and indigenous. Constitutional justice is administered by the Constitutional Court.
Through Law Nº 1585 (August 12, 1994), and Law Nº 1615 (February 6, 1995), profound changes in the structure of the Judicial Branch were introduced, with the creation of new organs, these being divided as follows: The Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Judiciary Council, District Courts, Civil, Commercial, Criminal, Family, Labor, Social Security, Controlled Substances, Mining Administrative and Breaches courts.
The Judicial Branch is also composed of the following, which, however, are without jurisdiction: Real Estate Registration and notaries, as well as supervising judges and civil servants of the judicial branch. The reforms to the 1994 Constitution have introduced substantial modifications in the way authorities are elected to the Judicial Branch.
Supreme Court Justices are chosen by Congress by a two-thirds vote of the total of its members. Constitutional Court Magistrates, who are five with five substitutes, just as the Advisers to the Judicature, who are four, are designated by Congress by a two-thirds vote of the total of its members.
National Agrarian Court judges (7) and District Court Judges are chosen by the members of the Supreme Court, from lists given by the Council of the Judicature. Other judges and civil servants are chosen by the District Court judges from lists given by the Council of the Judicature. These reformed enactments integrated into the judicial branch the following: The Constitutional Court, the National Council of the Judiciary as specialized organs; the first one to control constitutionality and the second to apply administrative and disciplinary functions in the judicial branch.
The creation of the Constitutional Court was not intended to replace the Supreme Court, but rather to relieve it of accumulated cases. At all events, according to article 118, the Supreme Court continues to be the most representative institution of the judicial branch. In order to give unity to the three organs, all have their headquarters in the city of Sucre.
By constitutional mandate, the Supreme Court is the maximum ordinary, contentious and contentious-administrative Court of Justice of Bolivia. Its head office is in Sucre. It is composed of twelve Justices, constituted by law. The requirements for being a Justice of the Supreme Court are established in arts. 64 and 61 of the Constitution, excluding numerals 2 and 4 of article 61: Justices must have a Bolivian law degree and have practiced the profession or practiced as a teacher of law for ten years. Justices are chosen by Congress, and they perform their functions for a ten-year term. The President of the Court, or Supreme Justice, is also President of the Council of the Judicature, and is chosen by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Supreme Court.
This is part of the Judicial Branch. It is independent and, according to Law No. 1836, exists under the Constitution. Its head office is in Sucre. It has national jurisdiction. It guarantees that all the acts, resolutions and decisions of the governed and governors are subordinated to the Constitution. It guarantees the total use of and defense of democratic order and balance in the exercise of power, as well as the total use of and respect for the rights and fundamental guarantees of the people. The Court is composed of five magistrates and five substitutes designated by the Congress for a 10 year term. Its chief authorities are the President of the Court, the President of the Constitutional Court and the Commission of Admission, which is composed of three Magistrates, who decide the admission or rejection of cases.
Council of the Judiciary
The Council of the Judiciary was created to be an administrative and disciplinary agency and disciplinary body for the judicial branch. It assumed to a great extent and in independent form powers that traditionally had pertained to the Supreme Court in the matter of finances and disciplinary issues.
The faculties or attributions of the Council of the Judicature can be classified as follows:
· Development and development policies
· Economic and financial affairs
· Human resources affairs
· Infrastructure affairs
· Disciplinary and control affairs
· Regulatory affairs, and
· Coordination and information
The Judicial Power in agrarian affairs is held by the Agrarian Judicature, in accordance with the constitutional principle of jurisdictional unity. It is independent in the exercise of its functions and is protected by the Constitution. It is the institution of Agrarian Justice Administration. It has jurisdiction over and is competent for the resolution of conflicts relating to possession and the agrarian right to property and other matters that the law establishes.
Law No. 1715 of October 18, 1996, creates the agrarian judiciary granting jurisdiction and is competent for the resolution of conflicts emerging from possession of agrarian titles to property (Art.30). The National Agrarian Court has jurisdiction and is competent throughout the country. Agrarian judges function in one or several provinces of their judicial district. Ordinary justice is not entitled to review, modify or annul its decisions.