Chile’s Constitutional Court “on the verge of corruption”

Gonzalo Díaz Ponce

“Before I arrived, there were suspended causes in the TC (Constitutional Court) for a long time, on the verge of corruption’’ these were Maria Luisa Brahm’s words, the President of the Constitutional Court of Chile on a national newspaper.

María Luisa Brahm was appointed by President Sebastián Piñera as a minister of the Constitutional Court in 2013. On August 28th, 2019 she was elected as President of the mentioned court.

Her performance has been very responsible, since she has not missed attending a single day to the Court which she presides. However, in the exercise of her office as the president, she has noticed certain flaws that, according to her, lead the future’s Court astray, as she said, ‘‘on the verge of corruption’’. How is it possible? According to María Luisa, a lot of causes have been halted for years. In fact, many causes belonging to the former penal system were not processed yet (the Criminal Procedure Reform was implemented in 2005 and it abolished the former penal system). In addition, María Luisa, by herself, discovered a lot of facts in particular; for example, a lawyer who charges extra amount of money to his client for the time the case was suspended.

Moreover, other statements of the president of the Constitutional Court have raised controversies. One of them was the function of the Constitutional Court as a third chamber, function that María Luisa says it is correct.

This issue has brought up another problem in relation to the existence of the Constitutional Court, because there are some countries that do not have this court in their legislation. As a matter of fact, this topic was also considered regarding the referendum for the new constitution. Nevertheless, María Luisa Brahm disagrees with this idea, as she highlights the importance of the Constitutional Court in the country monitoring constitutionality of law.

The author is an English teacher and also a law student at Universidad Central de Chile.