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Colombia: More Efficient Administrative Courts

March 20, 2013

Isabelle Schäfer/ World Bank

  • There are 170,000 lawsuits against the State that are still ongoing in the written process.
  • A recent law seeks to make the system more efficient.
  • With the technical assistance of the World Bank, bottlenecks were detected and work could be better organized.

If a Colombian that worked for the State has a problem with his or her pension, or suffers harm because of a fault of the State, he has to go to the administrative courts to settle his differences with his employer.

The problem was that many Colombians had to wait several years before a suit could be resolved, and the cases in process accumulated.

To improve the system's efficiency, changes were made to the way the lawsuits were processed – but some still remained unresolved in the former process: 170,000 in total.

The same law that changed the way of processing the lawsuits also ordered to prepare a plan to make the system more efficient and an inventory of the lawsuits in process. These 170,000 claims, states the law, should all be resolved in four years.

Find the bottlenecks

With the technical assistance of the World Bank, an analysis was made to see:

  • Where the bottlenecks were that made the process inefficient
  • How long every stage took
  • How work was being managed

The experts revised – one by one – more than 157,000 lawsuits of the administrative courts throughout Colombia. The result was statistical data that helped to plan and implement public policies in the judicial administration.

The analysis showed for example what type of suits were the most frequent, who the actors were, how long every stage of the process took, and where the lawsuits started.

Distribute the work according to the judges’ specializations

Why is it important to have this information?

Now, the courts can group the lawsuits that have similar topics so that specialized judges can take care of the cases and resolve them faster.

Also, measures could be taken with a specific focus on each region of the country, because they had different characteristics, according to the information obtained by the experts.

The World Bank in Colombia

The World Bank collaborates with Colombia in the sector of efficient public policies, offering an integral package of financial products that include loans for projects, giving technical assistance and analytical work, and brings together the main interested parties in the topic.