Areas of Activity

Posted on June 25, 2015 Under Contenido



Panamanian Law which regulates the matter: Judicial Code.

  • Last reform: Law 23 of June 1st, 2001. Wide reform.  The change facilitates the processes.  The reform has modified the numbers of the articles.
  • Government Organism in charge of the Activity: Judicial Organ (Municipal and Circuit Courts, Superior Judicial District Courts, and Supreme Court of Justice).
  • Type of Administration. Exclusively in the judicial level.
  • Important facts regarding the double instance Processes.
  • Other facts. To have access to the Extraordinary Cassation Resource, before the First Court of the Supreme Court of Justice, the process must be for a minimum amount of US$25,000.00.

Norm which regulates the matter:

  • In constitution matter: Political Constitution of Panama and the Judicial Code.
  • In Contentious Administrative and Administrative matters: Political Constitution, Law No. No. 35 of 1943, reformed by the Law No.33 of 1946, and the Law 38 of 2000.
  • Complementary Legislation: Law No.6 of 2002 regarding Transparency of Public Administration and Habeas Date Actions.
  • Competent Government Organisms:
  • In constitutional matters: Judicial Organ (according to the Type of Action: Supreme Court of Justice, Superior Judicial District Courts and/or Circuit Courts).
  • In Contentious Administrative matters: Judicial Organ (Supreme Court of Justice).
  • In Administrative matters: Executive Organ (Entities of the Central Government) or Autonomous or Semi-autonomous Entities (decentralized)
  • Type of Administration.
  • In constitutional matters: Exclusively in the judicial level.
  • In Contentious Administrative matters: Exclusively in the judicial level.
  • In Administrative matters: Exclusively in the government level.
  • Important facts regarding the Administration.  The most important steps in these matters are:
  • In constitutional matters: A. Inquiries about Constitutionality (Unconstitutionality Warnings); B. Unconstitutionality Actions, and C. Protection Actions of the Constitutional Warranties
  • In Contentious Administrative matters. A. Illegality Actions: A-1. Of Full Jurisdiction (against individual acts which affect the subjective rights). B. Inquiries regarding the Legality (Illegality Warnings).
  • In Administrative matters: Reconsideration Resources or Appeals, or both (reconsideration with an appeal in subsidy).
  • Other facts: Matters relative to the control of constitutionality are privative competence of the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice.  The matters relative to the control of the legality are privative competence of the Third Court of the Supreme Court of Justice (of the Contentious Administrative).  Processes relative to actions related to the protection of constitutional warranties, depending upon the officer sued, are competence of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Superior Judicial District Courts who acknowledge the civil causes or the Civil Circuit Courts.

III. CONTRACTS (Civil or Commercial Contracts; Labor, and Public).

  • Panamanian Legislation which regulates these matters.  Civil Code, Commercial Code, Labor Code, and Law No.56 1995 (Public Contracts).
  • Last important reform.
  • Of the Civil Code: Law No.18 of 1992.
  • Of the Commercial Code: Law  Decree No.5 of 1997.
  • Of the Labor Code: Law No. 44 of 1995.
  • Of the Law No.56 1995: Modified or added 8 times between 1996 and 1999, in very specific areas.  The largest reform, without being extensive, corresponds to the Law 4 of 1998. The last addition was introduced by the Law No.38 of 1999.
  • Government Organism in charge of the Activity.
  • The civil and commercial contractual relations are clearly between individuals.  In the Administrative level, they could require registration in the Public Register.  The disputes and controversies are resolved before the Ordinary Jurisdiction courts (civil or penal).
  • In matters of labor, at an administrative level, the mediator role of the Ministry of Work and Labor Development is important.  At a judicial level, Sectional Courts, Conciliation and Decision Boards, a Superior Labor Court, and Labor Cassation in charge of the Third Court of the Supreme Court of Justice, even though the Law 59 of 2001 creates the Labor Cassation Court, which would be the Fifth Court, but is not operating as of now.
  • In matters of public contracts, the administrative process for the selection of contractors in all the government entities, whether from the central government or not, with an important audit from the General Comptroller’s Office of the Republic.
  • Type of Administration. Private as well as administrative, and, if necessary, judicial.
  • Important facts regarding the Administration.
  • The contractual relations in civil and commercial matters are oriented towards the globalization, with the adequacy of the legislation to the compliance of the fulfillment of the commitments of Panama as member of the WCO
  • Labor relations are regulated by constitution principles of Government tutelage of the interests of the Employees and the application of the principle “in dubio pro operario” (in case of doubt about the scope of a norm, the choice will be the most favorable interpretation for the employee).
  • In matters of Public Contracts, depending upon the amount of the contract, it will be necessary to have a favorable concept from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the National Economic Council, or the Cabinet Council.
  • Other facts.
  • In matters of Public Contracts, contracts with the Panama Canal Authority are not regulated by the rules of the Law 56 of 1995 and its reforms and additions, but by special rules.


  • Panamanian Legislation which regulates this matter: Law 31 of 1996.
  • Last Legislative Reform.  Added by Law 24 of 1999.
  • Government Organism in charge of the activity.  The Regulatory Entity for Public Services, even though we have to highlight that the concession contracts which fall under Type A Services will be granted by the Cabinet Council (Minister’s Council) and, later, the compliance of said contract will be audited by the Regulatory Entity.
  • Types of Administration. Imminently administrative in nature.
  • Important facts regarding the Administration.  The Law acknowledges the public character of the telecommunications service, and classifies them in two categories, that is, Type A and Type B.  The first are those that, because of technical or economic nature, they have to be granted in concession under the temporary exclusivity regime, or to a limited number of concessionaires who operate under the competitive regime. The Type B services are those that are granted in concession freely under a competitive regime, to everyone requesting them who comply with the requirements demanded by the Law.  The concession contracts for the Type A services are granted by the Cabinet Council and the Type B services are granted by the Regulatory Entity.  The tariffs for the services are established in the contract, when the concession is granted under the temporary exclusivity regime; the tariffs of the services granted under the competitive regime are established by the concessionaire.
  • Other facts.  The concessions will be in force for twenty (20) years, renewable for equal periods.

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