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How Do Chilean Courts Rule And What Are Your Chances?

Author:Mr Harris Gomez
Profession:Harris Gomez Group

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchmen?) - A question that goes all the way back to Platon and made famous by Roman poet Juvenal.

This leads to the question in modern times - Who supervises the judicial system considering that only they have the constitutional obligation and power to interpret and apply the law in the name of the state?

Firstly, it must be said that most systems, including the Chilean one, have several actions to review judicial rulings or sentences by an upper court. However, it useful to hear an outsiders perspective re-counting the way Judicial Courts are actually ruling.

In this regard, pro judicial reformers worldwide have recently emphasized the need to increase judicial accountability through oversight committees known as judicial councils.

In countries where the separation of powers is deep-seated in the political culture, attempts to establish judicial councils have caused debate between strict interpretationists who favor an internal control model (review only by judges) and those of liberal interpretationists who favor an external control model (review by judges but also representatives from other government institutions).

Recently in Chile, an independent think tank linked to the most conservative party of Chile, has created what is known as a "Judicial Observatory".

This issue had already been on the agenda for both of the right-wing candidates, Evelyn Mathey and Sebastian Piñera. The latter is running for his second term (not consecutive).

The private sector, in particular, large companies, have reason to be concerned about how the judicial system is working for them.

The statistics speak for themselves. For instance, in Labour Courts, cases won by the employee against their employer have a win rate of over the 90%. In addition, recently it has been published that the "Consejo de Defensa del Estado", this is the Council of State Defense, wins 92.7% of the cases when they go against private companies or individuals.

Lastly, and although this statistic goes beyond corporate business, in criminal cases, prosecutors win over 90% of the cases that reach an oral trial. Despite this fact, public opinion believes the judicial criminal court is not strong enough. Nevertheless, most cases do not reach an oral trial. Prosecutors and offenders often reach an agreement before it leads to court proceedings.

Tax Court

Chile has specialized Courts that only review tax cases. A recent study from PwC indicates...

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