Panamanian constitutionalism influenced by Spanish constitution, expert says

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  • Thu, 10/25/2018 - 11:18
Sebastian Rodríguez
  • Panamanian constitutionalist Sebastián Rodríguez
  • EFE

Constitutionalism in Panama and its jurisprudence are directly influenced by the Spanish Constitution of 1978, said a Panamanian expert at a colloquium on the issue organized by the Panamanian Administration Procurator Embassy of Spain in the Central American country.

"The Spanish Constitution, through its authors and its jurisprudence marked by the Constitutional Court, has significantly influenced, not in the Constitution (Panama's policy), but in a much larger phenomenon that is constitutionalism," which defends the legal primacy of the Constitution, Panamanian constitutionalist Sebastián Rodríguez told Efe.

Rodríguez, president of the Ibero-American Institute of Constitutional Law, Panama Chapter, addressed this issue during the symposium.

The lawyer cited Panamanian precedents and rulings in which the influence of the Constitutional Court of Spain, supreme interpreter of the Constitution, and that of some Spanish specialists who "have given light to make our jurisprudence more effective and more protective of fundamental rights".

He also explained that this influence of the Constitutional Court of Spain is also "in the projection of Spanish constitutionalism in Panamanian constitutional jurisprudence".

He also stressed that the Spanish Magna Carta marked a milestone in "the modernization of individual and social fundamental rights" that, in the Panamanian Constitution as in other Latin American Constitutions, "date in its philosophy of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789".

"I think it would be the great contribution of the Spanish constitutionalists, and therefore of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, coupled with all that enriching jurisprudential line of the Spanish Constitutional Court," he said.

The expert went further and highlighted that "we probably need a Panamanian Constitutional Court, as an extra-power branch, as it exists in Spain".

In his lecture, Rodríguez used what he called the "functional comparatism" method to highlight the communicating vessels between the Spanish constitutionalism of 1978 and that of Panama, whose jurisprudence, he explained, is nourished by decisions of the Spanish Constitutional Court, as well as of the doctrine and other sources.

He cited as an example of this influence, decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama that "have cited institutions developed in the Spanish constitution", as "the effective judicial protection that has to do with the normative force of the constitution".

Rodríguez praised the initiative of the Spanish embassy to convene this debate together with the Administration Attorney’s Office on the 40 years of the Spanish Constitution and thus contribute to "strengthening the democratic institutions of Panama."


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