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
In a civil judicial procedure, the Judge of the first instance admitted the objection of limitation proposed by the Defendant. The Court of Appeals, in the second instance, confirmed this decision.
The Claimant filed a cassation appeal against this ruling, as he considered that the Judge had not adequately applied Law 21226, which was enacted in Chile due to the pandemic. This law was related to the interruption of the limitations period from the declaration of a state of emergency in the country. The Claimant stated that this norm did not establish whether it applied only to lawsuits filed after entering into force. Therefore, to guarantee his right to due process, the Judge should have used it in his case.
The Supreme Court of Justice pointed out that this rule had an extraordinary character and only applied to cases filed after the pandemic, especially considering that the Claimant's case occurred in 2018, so he had had enough time to carry out the necessary procedural actions.
Facts of the case
The Claimant sued someone in a civil executive process on November 22, 2018. However, he did not notify the Defendant of the process promptly. For this reason,, the first instance court accepted the statute of limitations exception in the judgment against the Claimant. In the second instance, the judge confirmed that decision.
The Claimant filed a cassation appeal against the decision because it considered that it went against Law 21226, a regulation issued by the Chilean government due to the pandemic. According to this provision, "during the state of constitutional exception of catastrophe... the statute of limitations of the actions will be interrupted by the mere filing of the lawsuit...".
In the Claimant's view, that rule did not distinguish between claims filed before the date of its publication, April 2, 2020, or after that date. The Claimant indicated that the spirit of this law was to safeguard the rights and actions of all persons in legal proceedings during the pandemic. In this regard, he considered that this rule should apply to his case and not the opposite, as the judges of the first and second instances said, by indicating that this law applied only to cases whose lawsuit had been filed after the declaration of emergency, since otherwise his right to due process and equality would be violated.
Type of measure challenged
Measures, actions, remedies claimed
Individual / collective enforcement
Nature of the parties
Type of procedure
Reasoning of the deciding body
First, the Court indicated that in the challenged rule, the legislature referred to the cases in which the lawsuit was filed during the state of constitutional exception decreed due to the pandemic, but that it did not cover those that had been filed previously as in this case because in those cases the executor could have made the due notification before the beginning of the state of exception.
Thus, in the present case, the lawsuit was filed on November 22, 2018, so it is understood that the executor had enough time to notify the executed party and thus interrupted the statute of limitations, which he did not do.
In addition, the Court indicated that the argumentation of the second instance judge was correct. It noted that the challenged law was special and should have a restricted application.
Conclusions of the deciding body
The Court rejected the Claimant's petition because it considered that Law 21226 did not apply to claims filed before it entered into force since it was understood that the Claimant had had time to notify the claims in those cases .
Fundamental Right(s) involved
- Right to access to justice, to a fair trial and to jury trial
- Right to due process
Fundamental Right(s) instruments (constitutional provisions, international conventions and treaties)
- Right to defense, Art. 19, Chilean Constitution
- Right to due process, Art. 19, Chilean Constitution
Rights and freedoms specifically identified as (possibly) conflicting with the right to health
- Health v. access to justice
- Health v. right to due process
General principle applied
Balancing techniques and principles (proportionality, reasonableness, others)
The Court implicitly applied the principle of due process to determine whether the Court of Appeals' decision had respected the Claimant's procedural rights.
On "type of measure challenged": The Claimant questioned the scope of Law 21226, considering that there would be an omission in it if it did not apply to claims filed before its enforcement because this could lead to paradoxical and unfair situations for the exercise of its procedural rights.