Colombian high court opposes judicial reform

The Colombian high court decided Wednesday that proposed judicial reforms threaten the autonomy and governance powers of the justice system, and fail to address its needs.

The 30 judges of the State Council, Colombia’s highest court, have withdrawn from the ongoing congressional debate on justice system reform because of inconsistencies between the plans currently being proposed and those originally announced. State Council president Mauricio Fajardo blamed hasty deliberations that appeared “out of control”.

Fajardo said the proposed reforms “ignore” recommendations made by the government earlier this year, and fail to address needs such as the decongestion of court offices and equal, universal access to an independent and effective justice system.

A key criticism relates to proposed reforms granting increased judicial power to lawyers and other legal workers. This would undermine the autonomy and governence of the justice system and “achieve nothing”, according to the president of the Observatory of the Administration of Justice, Maria del Pilar Arango.

The judiciary has called on the United Nations to intervene to prevent the proposed reforms from being approved by Congress.

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