Closed due to COVID-19, Colombian National Courts reopen by virtual means on July 1, 2020
The Colombian Superior Council of the Judiciary issued the Agreement PCSJA20-11581 of 2020, lifting the suspension of procedural terms as of July 1, 2020, already ordered through the Agreement PCSJ20-11567 of 2020. However, courthouses, as a general rule, will remain closed to the public, using technological means to administer justice.
Under Agreement PCSJA20-11556, courthouses will remain closed to the users of the judicial system until further order, and electronic communications between the public and the courthouses shall be defined by each Sectional Council of the Judiciary. Indeed, the Sectional Council of the Judiciary of Cundinamarca and Bogota provided the following instructions regarding electronic and exceptional in-person filings before courthouses (Circular DESAJBOC20-29):
- Electronic filings before courthouses: users may electronically file lawsuits via the URL https://procesojudicial.ramajudicial.gov.co/demandaenlinea, attaching all documents related in PDF format, based on the user’s manual.
- In-person filings before courthouses: exceptionally, users may file lawsuits in person. For this purpose, they shall request an appointment via the website https://www.ramajudicial.gov.co/web/direccion-seccional-de-administracion-judicial-debogota-cundinamarca/oficinas, explaining the reasons for not using the official electronic means, and the lawsuit and its documents shall be filed by CD or DVD in PDF format.
- Constitutional actions before courthouses: constitutional and Habeas Corpus actions for the protection of fundamental rights may be filed via the URL https://procesojudicial.ramajudicial.gov.co/TutelasEnLinea, submitting all documents related in PDF format, based on the user’s manual, or in-person requesting an appointment on the link https://www.ramajudicial.gov.co/web/direccion-seccional-de-administracion-judicial-debogota-cundinamarca/oficinas-adscritas and reasons must be provided as to why is not file by electronic means.
Furthermore, all proceedings should be continued or conducted by electronic means to every extent possible, or in-person only if needed. In this case, users will be able to access authorized places for a limited period, and must avoid close contact, even to greet, and maintain at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) of distance from other people.
According to the mentioned Agreement, the suspension of judicial terms remains with respect to actions carried out by the Constitutional Court and courthouses of Leticia and Puerto Nariño (Amazonas), these latter subject to the exceptions as detailed in articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of the Agreement PCSJA20-11567 of 2020.