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Legal History of Argentina


The history of Argentina can be divided into four main parts: the pre-Columbian time or early history (up to the sixteenth century), the colonial period (1530–1810), the period of nation-building (1810-1880), and the history of modern Argentina (from around 1880). Prehistory in the present territory of Argentina began with the first human settlements on the southern tip of Patagonia around 13,000 years ago.
Written history began with the arrival of Spanish chroniclers in the expedition of Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516 to the Río de la Plata, which marks the beginning of the Spanish occupation of this region.

In 1776 the Spanish Crown established the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, an umbrella of territories from which, with the Revolution of May 1810, began a process of gradual formation of several independent states, including one called the United Provinces of Río de la Plata. With the declaration of independence on July 9, 1816, and the military defeat of the Spanish Empire in 1824, a federal-state was formed in 1853–1861, known today as the Argentine Republic.

Brief History :

• 1816: Independence from Spain.
• 1853: National Constitution enacted.
• 1880: First democratic president (Julio Roca).
• 1900/1976: Alternated between democratic and military “unstable” governments.
• 1976: Beginning of the “National Reorganization Process” led by the military.
•1983: Democracy was restored and since then have been peaceful democratic governments.

Type of Government :

  • Democracy
    •Federal (23 provinces, plus Buenos Aires City with its own political, administrative and economic power)
  • National Constitution
    • From 1853 (last amended in 1994)
    •Principal source of law
    • Each province has its own constitution
    • Similar to U.S. (Bill of Rights)

Government Structure 3 branches

  • Executive Branch
    • President (in provinces, the governor) has the executive authority.
    • Elected by people for 4 years term (2 term limit)
    • Vice President and 12 Ministers
    • Can enact orders and regulations, appoints judges.
  •  Legislative Branch
    • Congress divided in two chambers (Senators and Deputies)
    • Enacts civil, commercial, penal and mining codes.
    • Provincial Congress can grant more rights in their constitution, but never less.
  • Judicial Branch
    National Court System (Federal Court in USA)
    • Supreme Court of Argentina
    • Appellate Court / First Instance Court
    • Other members (Jury of Prosecution, Magistrate Council, Public Ministry)
    • Local or Provincial Court System (State Court in USA)
    • Supreme Court of Argentina
    • Provincial Supreme Court
    • Appellate Court / First Instance Court

Legal System :

Sources of law (hierarchical system)
• Constitution (and some treaties with equal level).
• Treaties.
• Laws (codes and statutes)
• Decrees.
• Resolutions, administrative decisions and other administrative acts of the Executive Branch.

Civil law country
• Treaties.
• Based on civil law, not common law.
• Every case is decided on its own merit according to law.
• Judges can use precedence, but not obligated to apply stare decisis.
• Judges “create” law (with their decisions) but is not mandatory for other cases.


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