Deciding body (English)
Deciding body (Original)
Type of body
Type of Court (material scope)
Type of jurisdiction
Type of Court (territorial scope)
Outcome of the decision
A hotel filed an annulment action of an administrative order issued by the Ministry of Environment on June 28, 2021. The plaintiff alleged that the Ministry had imposed a fine on the hotel due to its belated presentation of an environmental report (that the Hotel had the duty to present by law). According to the plaintiff, the Ministry should have considered a situation of force majeure created by the Covid-19 pandemic and should have suspended the deadline for presenting the environmental report. Furthermore, according to the plaintiff, this violation of the law was minimal, did not affect any environmental rights, and was the first time for the Hotel. Thus, a fine was a disproportionate sanction. The Court rejected the Hotel’s claim, stating there was no real force majeure in the current case, as, at the time of the presentation of the report, the Hotel had already resumed tourist activities. Furthermore, the law allowed the Hotel to request a deadline extension to fulfill its obligation, but the plaintiff neglected to make such a request. Furthermore, there was no violation of the principle of proportionality, as in the present case there were no competing rights to weigh against one another. Rather, authorities had duly followed the law and imposed the fine provided within it.
Facts of the case
In March 2020, a national emergency was declared in Bolivia, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing people into lockdown. The plaintiff (a hotel) had the legal duty to present an environmental report before September 18, 2020. The plaintiff did not present the report in due time and did not request a deadline extension, alleging a situation of force majeure due to the pandemic. The plaintiff finally presented the report on October 14, 2020. The Ministry of Environment imposed a fine on the plaintiff through an administrative order on June 28, 2021. The plaintiff requested that the Court annul the administrative order and on November 29, 2022, the Court rejected the claim.
Type of measure challenged
Measures, actions, remedies claimed
Individual / collective enforcement
Nature of the parties
Type of procedure
Reasoning of the deciding body
The Court reasoned that there was no situation of force majeure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Court held that, at the time of the deadline, the Hotel had resumed its normal activities. Furthermore, the deadline had already been suspended due to the pandemic and the plaintiff had the possibility of requesting an extension, but chose not to. Likewise, according to the Court, there was no violation of the principle of proportionality, as there were no competing rights to weigh against one another in the present case. Rather, authorities had duly followed the law and imposed the fine provided within it.
Conclusions of the deciding body
The Court concluded that the authorities had duly followed the law and rejected the request to annul the administrative order.
Fundamental Right(s) involved
- Right to access to justice, to a fair trial and to jury trial
- Right to good administration
Fundamental Right(s) instruments (constitutional provisions, international conventions and treaties)
- Right to a healthy environment, Art. 33, Bolivian Constitution
- Right to health, Art. 35, Bolivian Constitution
- Due process, Art. 115, Bolivian Constitution
Rights and freedoms specifically identified as (possibly) conflicting with the right to health
General principle applied
Balancing techniques and principles (proportionality, reasonableness, others)
The Court emphasized that authorities need not apply the principle of proportionality (suitableness, necessity, and weighing) in every case. In the present case, according to the Court, authorities did not have the duty to weigh competing interests when imposing the fine. Rather, they had (as they did) to duly apply the law as provided.
On the type of procedure: annulment of an administrative environmental decision – Art. 190 of the Bolivian Constitution