San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Law Would Cut Caseload of Sala IV

THE extraordinary workload of theConstitutional Chamber of the SupremeCourt (Sala IV) – amounting to 14,000new cases filed last year alone – could bereduced considerably if the LegislativeAssembly approves a bill to put some ofthe cases into lower courts. This wouldleave the high court to study only appealsand the most delicate cases: motions ofunconstitutionality, legislative and judicialconsultations and conflict of powers.A legislative commission is studying abill that would reform the law that grantsall citizens the rights to file injunctionrequests and suits of habeas corpus withthe Sala IV. The commission has untilNov. 23 to make recommendationsregarding the bill, the daily La Naciónreported. For the change to go into effect,the current legislature would have toapprove the bill by a simple majority (29votes) in two debates. The next legislature,to take office in May 2006, wouldthen have to study the bill again andapprove it three times with 38 votes, thedaily reported.Another bill would then have to createnew courts in charge of addressingrequests for injunctions and habeas corpus.The Sala IV has a greater number offunctions and powers that any other constitutionalentity in the world, LuisFernando Solano, president of the chamber,told The Tico Times earlier this year,when he and other justices were workingto draft the bill now under consideration(TT, April 22).

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