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AMERICAN FOREIGN LAW
Bibliographies of Foreign Law Series
LAW AND LEGAL LITERATURE
CENTRAL AMERICAN REPUBLICS
MEMBER OF THE BARS
OF NEW YORK AND OF THE
FEDERAL DISTRICT OF MEXICO
By EDWARD SCHUSTER
0 S 0
Printed in United States of America
The convenience of presenting a composite guide to the legal ma-
terial relating to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and
Salvador is indicated by several considerations. Thus, there is the
historic factor of political union. Prior to achieving independence,
these five republics formed as many provinces within the Kingdom or
Captaincy General of Guatemala, which in turn was a dependency
of the Spanish Crown. After their separation from Spain (1821),
except for a brief period of annexation to Mexico (1822-1823), the
five provinces were sovereign states within a federal republic (1824-
1838); and this federal republic was twice revived (1896-1898 and
1921-1922). Again, by reason of cultural contacts, the legislation as
well as the administrative and judicial practices of the five jurisdic-
tions reflect a certain degree of similarity or of reciprocal influence.
Again, their juridic literature, aside from legislation, is relatively
slight in bulk, as compared with that of the larger and more industri-
alized republics of Hispanic America, and consequently admits of
commodious review in a single compilation.
Panama has been included in this compilation, chiefly in deference
to practical considerations. This republic is of recent establishment
(1903) and its corpus juris, as yet modest in extent, may be reviewed
within brief compass. But it should be borne in mind that, despite its
geographic position within Central America, Panama has its juridic
ties with Colombia, rather than with the countries lying immediately
to the North.
Before reviewing the legal literature peculiar respectively to the
six republics now found within the geographic area of Central America,
we submit an initial section wherein an attempt has been made to
assemble the literature of a general or comparative character relevant
to that area. By adopting this arrangement, we have avoided a certain
amount of repetition, in the succeeding sections devoted to the several
republics, which otherwise would be necessary.
In an appendix will be found a brief review of the literature per-
tinent to the juridic aspects of the former "Federal Republic of Central
America" and of its two ephemeral revivals. Reference to this litera-
ture is justified by the consideration that the impulse towards federa-
tion has been persistent in Central America and that federation may
again be realized, in a not too distant future. Moreover, the impulse
towards federation has influenced in a marked degree the constitu-
tional law and also the international law of the several states formerly
ii PREFATORY NOTE
With reference to the several sections which compose the present
compilation, it should be explained that the classification and sequence
of topics reflect, with some simplification deemed convenient, the
plan adopted by Professor Edwin M. Borchard for his Guide to the
Law and Legal Literature of Argentina, Brazil and Chile (Washington,
Government Printing Office, 1917).
It has been the aim of the compiler to refer to the pertinent litera-
ture which has been published, to the end of 1935; in a few instances,
reference has been made to material printed in 1936.
In addition, it has been the aim of the compiler to supply, so far
as available, the names of publishers or printers, also paginations, as
to all titles published or printed in Central America; as to titles
published or printed outside Central America, data as to pagination
usually have been omitted, because readily found elsewhere. Through-
out, paginal data are omitted in the cases of serial publications and of
works consisting of more than one volume. Regarding format of titles
listed, the reader may assume that it is octavo, unless the contrary
In extenuation of the obvious deficiencies of his work, the compiler
desires to explain, as to the bibliographic data, that he is not a pro-
fessional bibliographer and that he has been unable to examine all
the publications noted or described by him, many of which are not
available in this country. As regards his sketch of the legislation of the
area treated, he has not attempted a complete exposition, due to the
exigencies of professional duties.
The compiler desires to express his gratitude to colleagues, for cor-
rection of drafts of the several sections and for provision of additional
data or material, as follows:-Costa Rica: Sam G. Baggett, of the
Boston (Mass.) Bar; Clifford G. Cornell, of the New Mexico Bar, now
resident in San Jose, C. R.; Fernando Nuiiez, of the San Jose Bar;
Frank Feuille and Milo A. Borges, of the New York City Bar.
Guatemala: Rafael Arevalo Martinez, Director of the National Library
of Guatemala; Enrique L6pez Herrarte, Secretary of the Guatemalan
Legation, Washington, D. C.; Jos6 Mariano Trabanino, of the
Guatemala City Bar; Pedro J. Urbina, of the Boston (Mass.) Bar.
Honduras: Arturo Humberto Montes, of the Tegucigalpa Bar;
Leandro Valladares, President of the Supreme Court of Justice of
Honduras. Nicaragua: Felix E. Guandique, of the Managua Bar; also
Messrs. Borges and Urbina. Panama: Florencio Arosemena F. and
John O. Collins, of the Panama and Canal Zone Bars. Salvador: Jos6
Aviles, of the San Salvador Bar; Manuel Quijano Hernandez, Curator
of the Juridic Museum of the National University of Salvador. In
addition, Dr. Aviles prepared the index.
The compiler is further indebted to John T. Vance, Law Librarian
PREFATORY NOTE iii
of the Library of Congress, for provision of shelf-lists and of additional
data pertinent to the several sections of the Bibliography; and to his
assistant, Miss Margaret Lord, for checking early drafts of all sections.
Mr. Franklin O. Poole, Librarian of The Bar Association of the City
of New York, and Mr. Harry M. Lydenberg, Director of The New
York Public Library, also members of their respective staffs, have
extended courtesies which are gratefully acknowledged.
The present compilation is a contribution to the programme of the
Committee on Foreign Law of The Association of the Bar of the City
of New York; by arrangement between this committee and the Ameri-
can Foreign Law Association, the compilation is published as an item
in the "Bibliographies of Foreign Law Series" of the latter association.
One Cedar Street
New York, N. Y.
I. GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE ON CENTRAL
AMERICA . 1
Legislation . 1.
General Works.. . ..... 3
Civil and Commercial Law... . 5
Constitutional Law.... .. 7
Administrative Law . . 9
International Law (Public and Private) . 12
II. COSTA RICA . 21
Bibliography . 21
Legislation . 21
Court Reports and Digests ... 23
General Works.... . .24
Legal History 25
Civil Law . . 26
Commercial Law .. . 27
Judicial Organization and Civil Procedure 28
Notarial Law and Practice ... . 29
Criminal Law and Procedure . .29
Constitutional Law . 32
Administrative Law ..... 33
Military Law 39
International Law (Public and Private) .39
III. GUATEMALA...... . .43
Bibliography .. . 43
Legislation . 43
Court Reports 45
General Works..... . 46
Legal History 47
Civil Law . . 47
Commercial Law . .50
Judicial Organization and Civil Procedure .51
Notarial Law and Practice . 54
Criminal Law and Procedure . .54
Constitutional Law ..... . 56
Administrative Law .... . 57
Military Law . .. 61
International Law (Public and Private) .62
IV. HONDURAS .. 65
Bibliography . 65
Legislation . 65
Court Reports and Digests. ... .... 67
General Works.... . .68
Legal History ... . .69
Civil Law . 69
Commercial Law .. . 70
Judicial Organization and Civil Procedure .71
Notarial Law and Practice . .. .72
Criminal Law and Procedure . .72
Constitutional Law . . 73
Administrative Law .. . 74
Military Law 78
International Law (Public and Private) 79
V. NICARAGUA .. 81
Bibliography . 81
Legislation . 81
Court Reports and Digests . 84
General Works 85
Legal History 85
Civil Law ... . 85
Commercial Law . . 87
Judicial Organization and Civil Procedure 87
Notarial Law and Practice . 88
Criminal Law and Procedure . 89
Constitutional Law . 90
Administrative Law 90
Military Law 96
International Law (Public and Private) . 97
VI. PANAMA .... . 99
Bibliography . 99
Court Reports and Digests . .. 103
General Works . .103
Legal History . 105
Civil Law..... . 105
Commercial Law .... 108
Judicial Organization and Civil Procedure 109
Notarial Law and Practice . .. 110
Criminal Law and Procedure .. 110
Constitutional Law .. . 111
Administrative Law . .. 112
Military Law 115
International Law (Public and Private) 115
VII. SALVADOR. . 119
Bibliography .. 119
Court Reports and Digests . .. 121
General Works.... . 122
Legal History 124
Civil Law . 124
Commercial Law .. .. 126
Judicial Organization and Civil Procedure 127
Notarial Law and Practice . .. 130
Criminal Law and Procedure . .. 130
Constitutional Law ... . 132
Administrative Law . . .133
Military Law . 135
International Law (Public and Private) . 136
Appendix.Central American Federations . .. 139
First Federation: 1824-1838 . 141
Second Federation: 1896-1898 .. 142
Third Federation: 1921-1922 .. 144
I. GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE ON
CENTRAL AMERICAN LAW
Before we consider the material peculiar to the law of each of the
several republics of Central America, we propose to pass in review
the juridic literature which, in greater or lesser degrees of complete-
ness, deals with Central America as a whole. This literature, which is
of a panoramic or comparative character, is reviewed under the
following heads: legislation; general works; civil and commercial
law; constitutional law; administrative law; and international law,
public and private.
The legislative output of the six republics of Central America,
considered as units in larger groupings of countries, has been the
subject-matter of divers serial publications. Thus, the Societe de
Legislation Comparee, of Paris, has published yearly, since 1872, an
Annuaire de Ligislation Comparee which carries French translations
of important laws of the several countries; however, with the excep-
tion of the volume for 1885 (it referred to Costa Rican laws of that
year), this series did not reflect the legislation of Central America,
until 1888. Beginning with the volume for 1888 (volume XVIII;
Paris, 1889), an effort was initiated to cover all the republics of this
region; but in recent years, due presumably to the difficulty of as-
sembling the material, the effort has been abandoned. Consultation
of this series, for the years 1870-1930, is facilitated by two cumulative
digests, respectively entitled Table Alphabitique et Analytique des
Matieres (Paris, 1905), and Table des Volumes I d XXVII de la
Second Sirie (Paris, 1935).
In 1885 two Spanish jurists, Garcia Moreno and Romero Gir6n,
initiated in Madrid a publication entitled Colecci6n de las Institu-
ciones Politicas y '7uridicas de los Pueblos Modernos. This collection
was to be divided into two sections, a European and an American; but
of the latter section only two volumes were published: volume I,
compiling the constitutions and codes of Honduras, also the constitu-
tion and selected laws of the Dominican Republic (Madrid, 1902);
and volume II, the constitution and codes of Chile (Madrid, 1908).
Pending issuance of the constitutions and codes of the several coun-
tries of Europe and America, the editors published nineteen volumes
of Apindices (Madrid, 1895-1908), designed to furnish the Spanish
texts of current legislation of the several countries; the legislation of
the Hispanic-American jurisdictions was carried in volume I (Ma-
GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
drid, 1895) and in alternative volumes thereafter (volume III;
Madrid, 1897, etc.). For the years 1895-1908 these volumes are useful
as a repository of Central American legislation.
It is to be regretted that the Hispano-Portuguese-American
Institute of Comparative Law, of Madrid, has not continued the
annual review of legislation enacted by the several countries lying
within its field which it initiated with the following volume:
Anuario legislative hispano-portugues-americano: 1927. Pr6-
logo por Rafael Altamira, Presidente del Instituto. Primer afio.
(Instituto de Derecho Comparado Hispano-Portugu6s-Americano.)
Madrid, Imprenta ClAsica Espaiiola, 1929. (In this volume are
included reviews of the important laws, enacted during 1927, of
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Salvador.)
American lawyers, whether or not they have access to the legal
literature of the Central American republics, will find useful,-as
furnishing current news of legislative and administrative develop-
ments in these republics,-the section, now entitled "Laws affecting
Foreign Commerce," which is contributed to Commerce Reports by
the Division of Commercial Laws, U. S. Department of Commerce.
This periodical is the vehicle of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic
Commerce, of the department just mentioned; it has been published,
in its present format, weekly since September, 1921; its quarterly
volumes, through the volume for April-June 1933, are equipped with
substantive and geographic indices which facilitate consultation.
In October 1932 the Division of Commercial Laws began publica-
tion of three serials, in mimeographic form and letter-size, which have
been issued at frequent but irregular intervals:
Legislative News. (Has carried digests of legislative or ad-
ministrative novelties, arranged by countries in alphabetic order.)
General Legal Bulletin. (Has consisted of digests, texts or
translations of important commercial laws issued by the several
countries of the world.)
Industrial Property Bulletin. (Has reported developments
abroad in the field of copyright, trade marks and patents, with
digests, texts or translations of pertinent laws and regulations.)
All three of these serials contain material pertinent to the legisla-
tion of one or other of the Central American Republics. Consultation
of the last two serials is greatly facilitated by a cumulative "Geo-
graphic Index," issued at least once a year, which by countries and
by subjects furnishes references to material published therein and also
references to what is published in other forms by the Division of
The first of the above three serials ceased publication in May 1936,
when publication was renewed of a useful serial entitled Comparative
Law Series, which had been published during the years 1925-1929.
In July 1936 the Division of Commercial Laws announced that the
second and third of the above three serials,-namely, General Legal
Bulletin and Industrial Property Bulletin,-would be merged with the
newly revived Comparative Law Series, beginning with the issue for
Additional information as to matters pertinent to the American
trade with Central America may be sought in monographs of the
Division of Commercial Laws, published in its two series, entitled
respectively "Trade Promotion Series" and "Trade Information
Series," whose contents, it may be added, are described in the cumula-
tive "Geographic Index" above mentioned and also in the annual
editions of the List of Publications of the Department of Commerce
and in the quarterly Supplements thereto.
As it would take us too far afield, we do not attempt to refer to the
similar publications of the British Government and other foreign
governments, which on occasion deal with the legislation of the
Central American republics.
The Bulletin of the Pan-American Union, published monthly at
Washington in English, Spanish and Portuguese editions, carries
news items, deemed by the editors to be significant, as to current
legislation in Latin America and as to treaties to which the republics
of this area are parties.
The List of the Serial Publications of Foreign Governments: 1815-
1931 (New York, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1932), edited by
Winifred Gregory for certain learned societies, may be cited. This
compilation purports to list all official publications of a continuing
character, which have been sponsored by the several governments
foreign to the United States, including the Central American re-
publics; among such publications are those which carry the laws of
the several countries.
Under this head may be listed a series of handbooks on the several
republics of Central America (Panama excepted), compiled for the
International Bureau of the American Republics, at Washington, and
published by the U. S. Government Printing Office. Although these
handbooks were not issued for the legal profession and are now obso-
lete, they contain data of a juridic character, including translations
of constitutions and important laws then in force in the several
republics. The titles in this series follow:
Costa Rica (a handbook). (Bulletin No. 31, International
Bureau of the American Republics.) Washington, 1892.
Guatemala (a handbook). (Bulletin No. 32, I.B.A.R.) Wash-
Honduras (a handbook). (Bulletin No. 57, I.B.A.R.) Washing-
4 GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
Honduras. Geographical sketch, natural resources, laws, eco-
nomic conditions, actual development, prospects of future growth.
By Alfred K. Moe. Washington, 1904.
Nicaragua (a handbook). (Bulletin No. 51, I.B.A.R.) Wash-
Salvador (a handbook). (Bulletin No. 58, I.B.A.R.) Washing-
The Comparative Law Bureau of the American Bar Association
has published annual reviews of important legislation in the Latin
American countries, articles on special topics and lists or bibliog-
raphies ofjuridic literature: during the years 1908-1914, in an Annual
Bulletin; and during the years 1915-1928, in the American Bar
Association Journal, usually in the April issue of each year.*
In recent annual editions, both the Martindale-HubbellLaw Directory
(published in New York) and The Lawyers Directory (formerly pub-
lished in Philadelphia, now in Cincinnati) have carried digests of
leading topics of the public and private law of Hispanic American
countries, including Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.
In the 1936 edition of the directory first-named, there is added a
digest of the law of Salvador. Although detailed citations of codes and
statutes usually are lacking, due to limitations of space, these digests
In the British and American editions (London and Boston, circa
1911) of The Commercial Laws of the World, will be found, in digest or
in extenso, the codes of commerce and supplementary mercantile
laws, in force about 1906, of Guatemala, Nicaragua and Salvador;
together with historical introductions, brief bibliographies (excepting
Nicaragua) and summary expositions of the civil procedure. Publica-
tion of the British and American editions was suspended before the
volume which was to carry Costa Rica and Honduras was reached.
However, Costa Rica and Honduras are treated in the German and
French editions; for example, see volume XIII (Paris, 1914) of the
French edition. In the case of Panama, the editors of all three editions
were content to refer readers to the volume on Colombia.
The series just described, due to subsequent changes in legislation,
has become largely obsolete. Moreover, it has been superseded by an
encyclopedia of broader scope, entitled Rechtsvergleichendes Hand-
The Tulane Law Review, beginning with its issue for December, 1931,
became the official organ of the Comparative Law Bureau; but it has not
carried annual reviews of the legislation and juridic bibliography of Latin
America, presumably because these features have been omitted from the
programme of the Bureau. We may add that, at the annual meeting of the
American Bar Association, held in September, 1933, the Comparative Law
Bureau was re-organized as the Section of International and Comparative
Law, of that Association.
CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL LAW
wirterbuch fir Zivil und Handelsrecht, whose publication was begun in
1929 by Dr. Franz Schlegelberger, of Berlin, assisted by a group of
German lawyers and by native jurists of the several countries whose
law is treated. Thus far, five volumes of this encyclopedia have been
published (Berlin, Verlag von Franz Vahlen, 1929-1936); volume I
provides summary but excellent descriptions of the legal systems of
the countries of the world, with working bibliographies; volume II
and those following will supply digests of the laws of the principal
jurisdictions, following an alphabetical order of subjects; volumes
II-V cover the topics, "Abandon" to "Rechtsgeschfift."
CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL LAW
From the angle of comparative law, as yet little has been written
on the civil and commercial legislation of Hispanic America in general,
or of Central America in particular. However, the following publica-
tions may be listed:
Walton (Clifford S.) Leyes comerciales y maritimas de la
America Latina comparadas entire si. 5 vols. Washington, Govern-
ment Printing Office, 1907.
Alvarez del Manzano (Faustino) et al. C6digos de comercio
espafioles y extranjeros. 6 vols. Madrid, Libreria General de
Victoriano SuArez, 1904-1914 (incomplete).
Esquivel Obreg6n (Toribio) and Borchard (Edwin M.). Latin
American commercial law. New York, Banks Law Publishing
Tarragato (Eugenio). El divorcio en las legislaciones com-
paradas. (Biblioteca de Derecho, Sociologia y Politica, vol. III.)
Madrid, Centro Editorial de G6ngora, 1925.
Stinson (J. Whitla). "La base d'accord en droit maritime
interamericain," in Bulletin de la Societ& de Ligislation Comparee,
vol. XXXV (1925-1926), p. 181-194, 247-263.
Lobingier (Charles S.). "Modern civil law," in 40 Corpus Juris
(New York, 1926).
Rauchhaupt (W. von). "Correlaciones en el desarrollo de los
derechos de Europa y America," in Revista de la Universidad de
Buenos Aires, issue of January 1929.
Cosentini (Francesco). C6digo civil panamericano. (American
Institute of Comparative Law and Legislation.) Havana, 1929.
Cosentini (Francesco). Droit civil compare europeen et ameri-
cain: le droit de famille. Paris, 1929.
Mifiana y Villagrasa (Emilio). La Unificaci6n del derecho
mercantil hispano-americano. 3rd ed. Madrid, Editorial Reus,
Vicente y Gella (Agustin). Introducci6n al derecho mercantil
comparado. Barcelona, Editorial Labor, 1930.
Commercial arbitration in the American republics... (Docu-
ments for the use of delegates to the Seventh International Confer-
6 GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
ence of American States. Montevideo, Uruguay, December 3,
1933. No. 2.) Washington, D. C., Pan American Union .
Informe sobre la personalidad juridica de las compaiifas ex-
tranjeras. [Washington, D. C., Pan American Union, 1934.] 2,
140 p. (Mimeograph.)
Crawford (H. P.). "Corporation Laws of Central America,"
in U. S. Department of Commerce, Division of Commercial Laws,
General Legal Bulletin 157 (Washington, November 4, 1935).
The truncate work by the Peruvian jurist, Ricardo Ovidio
Limardo, entitled Legislacidn Comercial Comparada o sea C6digos de
Comercio de Europa y Amlrica Comparados entire Si (vol. I, Paris,
1869) contains practically no material pertinent to Central America.
Walton's The Civil Law of Spain and Spanish America (Washing-
ton, 1900) is also silent as to the Central American jurisdictions,
except for a brief list of constitutions, codes and laws (p. 602-603).
In this connection we note that the Inter-American Commission
of Women (formed in 1928 through appointment by the Pan-American
Union) presented to the Seventh Pan-American Conference, held at
Montevideo in December 1933, a report on "Civil and Political
Rights of Women," in the several republics of the Western hemisphere.
The English text of this report, which is of a comparative character,
appears at p. 29-34 of the following pamphlet:
Seventh International Conference of American States. Third
Committee: Civil and Political Rights of Women. Minutes and
antecedents. Montevideo, 1933. 47 p. folio.
The above report was based in turn on reports on the same sub-
ject which national sections of the commission prepared, during the
Summer and Fall of 1933, as to the laws of the several republics of the
Pan-American Union, including the six republics whose juridic litera-
ture is of primary concern to us. These reports, which cover in detail
every phase of the subject, were written in the official languages of
the several republics and issued in mimeographic editions, letter-size.
By way of example, we furnish the following description of the report
on the law of Costa Rica:
Cover-title: Derechos civiles y politicos de la mujer. Copia
preliminary. Costa Rica. Comisi6n Interamericana de Mujeres.
Inner title: T6pico 8. Informe de la Comisi6n Interamericana de
Mujeres sobre los derechos politicos y civiles de la mujer para
acci6n por la S6ptima Conferencia Internacional de los Estados
Americanos de acuerdo con la resoluci6n de la Sexta Conferencia.
Paginations various, totalling 75 p.
Here also reference may be made to the publications of the Inter-
American High Commission (United States Section), which, with a
view to unification of legislation, has published a series of pamphlets,
in English and in Spanish, dealing with the legislation of the several
Latin American jurisdictions relative to arbitration, commercial
paper, business corporations, trade-marks, etc. (Washington, 1923-
1928). In these pamphlets, the laws of Central America are included.
A comparative study of the law and practice of installment selling
in Latin America, entitled "Chattel liens and conditional sales in
Latin America" was published in the Year Books, for 1926, 1929 and
1931, of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In this
study, prepared for the Committee on Foreign Law of this association,
an attempt was made to state the civil, commercial and penal law,
pertinent to the subject, in the several jurisdictions, in the light of the
local legislation and of the case-law and of the doctrines of national
jurists; the sections dealing with the law of Costa Rica, Guatemala
and Honduras will be found in the 1929 Year Book; and the law of
Nicaragua, Panama and Salvador, in the 1931 Year Book.
In passing we wish to refer to two compilations, produced in
Central America during the early years of independence, which have a
bearing on the interesting problem of the survival in that area of the
Spanish legislation, metropolitan and colonial. This is a problem
which has not received, thus far, adequate treatment, either in Central
America or elsewhere. The two compilations are the following:
Gallegos (Valentin). Prontuario de derecho practice por ordeh
alfab6tico. Contiene la resoluci6n de los casos que comunmente
ocurren, con arreglo a las leyes vigentes. San Jose, Imprenta
Prontuario de todas las reales cedulas, cartas acordadas y
6rdenes comunicadas a la Audiencia del antiguo Reino de Guate-
mala, desde el afio de 1600 hasta 1818, formado por el sr. lie. don
Miguel Larreinaga, y continuado por los sres. licdos. d. Felipe
Neri y d. Rafael del Barrio: con un suplemento que contiene
algunos decretos emitidos por las Cortes de Espafia en 1813, 14,
20 y 21. Edici6n del Museo Guatemalteco. Guatemala, Imprenta
de Luna, 1857. xvi, 424 p.
For a discussion of this problem of the survival of Spanish legisla-
tion, as applied to Panama, recourse should be had to the Colombian
literature; see, for example, Fernando Velez' Datos para la Historia
del Derecho Nacional (Medellin, 1891).
The texts of the successive constitutions of the several republics
of Central America, in the original Spanish or in translations, have
been compiled at intervals, in the course of the years elapsed since the
dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America (1838). In the
compilations, to which we refer, will be found editorial comments and
GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
bibliographies of greater or lesser completeness and corresponding
usefulness to those interested in the content and history of the
constitutions of the several republics. Among the more recent compila-
tions are the following:
Rodriguez (Jos6 Ignacio). American constitutions. 2 vols.
Washington, Government Printing Office, 1906-1907. (Material
compiled to July, 1905.)
Altamira (Rafael). Constituciones vigentes de los estados
americanos, vol. I (Madrid, Editorial Arte y Ciencia, 1925).
(This is vol. LVI of Altamira's "Obras completes"; and vol. XIX
of his "Serie americana.")
Mirkine-Guetzevitch (B.). Les constitutions des nations ameri-
caines (Bibliotheque Americaine de l'Institut des Etudes Ameri-
caines.) Paris, Librairie Delagrave, 1932.
Dareste (F. R. and P.). Les constitutions de 1'Amerique Latine.
Paris, Recueil Sirey, 1932. (This is vol. IV, 4th ed., of a work
whose general title is "Les constitutions modernes.")
The Inter-American Bibliographical and Library Association, of
Washington, D. C., announced in October 1935 that an Index to
Latin-American Constitutions and Public Documents, Available in
English, by its Director, A. Curtis Wilgus, would be distributed among
members during the year.
Doctrinal discussion of the constitutional systems of the several
republics of Central America is provided by the following modern
Posada (Adolfo). Instituciones political de los pueblos hispano-
americanos. Madrid, Hijos de Reus, 1900.
Munro (Dana G.). The five republics of Central America: their
political and economic development and their relations with the
united States. New York, Oxford University Press,. 1918.
James (Herman G.) and Martin (Percy A.). The republics of
Latin America: their history, governments and economic condi-
tions. New York, Harper & Brothers, 1923.
Aulard (A.) and Mirkine-Guetzevitch (B.). Les declarations
des droits de l'homme. Textes constitutionels concernant les
droits de l'homme et les guaranties des libert6s individuelles dans
tous les pays. Paris, Librairie Payot, 1929.
Garcia Calder6n (Francisco). "Les transformations des democ-
raties de 1'Am6rique Latine pendant le premier tiers du xxe si6cle,"
in Annuaire France-Amirique, 1929-1930, p. 83 et seq.
Mirkine-Guetzevitch (B.). "Les nouvelles tendances des de-
clarations des droits de l'homme," in Annuaire de l'Institut Inter-
national de Droit Public, Paris, 1930, p. 265 et seq.
Mirkine-Guetzevitch (B.). "Essai synth6tique," which pref-
aces Les constitutions des nations amiricaines (Paris, 1932), cited
Special reference should be made to one of the older works, since
it provides a discussion of the earlier constitutional development in
Central America, by a Panamanian jurist of exceptional competence
who had personal knowledge of the constitutional systems of this
region. This work went through two editions:
Arosemena (Justo). Constituciones political de la America
Meridional reunidas i comentadas. 2 vols. Le Havre, 1870.
Arosemena (Justo). Estudios constitucionales sobre los gobier-
nos de la Am6rica Latina. Segunda edici6n mui mejorada. .2 vols.
Paris, Libreria Espafiola i Americana de E. Denne, 1878..
Constitutional developments in Central America, during recent
years, may be followed in the publications of the Union Interparle-
mentaire, whose headquarters are now situated at Lausanne; also in
the Annuaire France-Amirique, sponsored by the Institut des Etudes
Am6ricaines, of Paris. Thus far, adequate attention to constitutional
novelties in Central America is lacking in the Annuaire published by
the Institut International de Droit Public, of Paris; and also in the
Zeitschriftfiir auslandisches offentliches Recht und Vilkerrecht, which is
the organ of the Institut fiir auslindisches 6ffentliches Recht und
V1lkerrecht, of Berlin.
On the administrative aspects of the law of the six republics of
Central America, reference should be made to the remarkable com-
pilation entitled The Memorias of the Republics of Central America
and of the Antilles (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1932),
by James B. Childs, Chief of the Catalog Division, Library of Con-
gress. Mr. Childs appears'to have exhausted the references to the
extant Memorias of the several republics lying within the area treated
by him. These Memorias constitute the periodic reports, usually
annual, of the several departments of state of these republics; and,
since they reflect the activities of the executive branch of the:several
governments, they are an indispensable. source of information for
lawyers whose clients have government business. In point of impor-
tance these Memorias yield place only to the respective official gazettes
and other serial publications wherein the laws, decrees, regulations,
circulars, etc., appear.
The administrative law of the Central American republics on
special topics has been translated, digested or treated in several
foreign publications. We hazard the following selections from the
publications available, mainly in English:
A comparative study of the laws and regulations governing
aerial navigation in the countries, members of the Pan-American
Union. By Leland Hyzer ... (Documents for the use of delegates
IO GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
to the Seventh International Conference of American States.
Montevideo, Uruguay, December 3, 1933, no. 3.) Washington,
D. C., Pan-American Union . Mimeograph; 40 p. (Reprinted
without appendix of legislation, in 4 Journal of Air Law (Chicago,
1933), 531 et seq.)
Bowker (Richard Rogers). Copyright: its history and its law.
Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin and Co., 1912. See p.
Copinger (Walter Arthur). Law of copyright ... together with
international and foreign copyright. 6th ed. by D. E. Skone James.
London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1927. See part VI, ch. II.
Immigration and Nationality:
A collection of the nationality laws of the various countries, as
contained in constitutions, statutes :and treaties. Edited by
Richard W. Flournoy, Jr., and Manley O. Hudson. New York,
Oxford University Press, 1929.
Aguirre Fanaique (Luis de). "Bases para un proyecto de uni-
ficaci6n de disposiciones legales en material migratoria," in Manuel
Ravent6s y Noguer, Informe sobre la actividad de la Asociacidn
Espanfola de Derecho Internacional y Legislacidn Comparada
(Madrid, Academia "Editorial Reus," 1929).
Azkin (B.) et al. La nationality dans la science social et dans
le droit contemporain. (Institut de Droit Compare de l'Universit6
de Paris.) Paris, Recueil Sirey, 1933.
SBourbisson (E.). Trait6 general de la nationality dans les
cinque parties du monde. Paris, Recueil Sirey, 1931.
Mines and mining laws of Latin America. (Bureau of the
American Republics, Bulletin no. 40.) Washington, Government
Printing Office, April 1892.
Van Wagenen (Theodore). International mining law. New
York, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1918.
Thompson (J. W.). Petroleum laws of all America. (Bulletin
206, Bureau of Mines, U. S. Department of the Interior.) Wash-
ington, Government Printing Office, 1921.
Schuster (Edward) and Feuille, Jr. (Frank). "Oil laws of Latin
America," in American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical
Engineers, Transactions, July 1922. (This paper was designed to
supplement the Thompson compilation, listed next above.)
Filhol (J.). Legislation mondiale du petrole. Paris, Recueil
Legislaciones extranjeras sobre petr6leo (Republica de
Colombia, Ministerio de Industrias, Departamento de Minas y
Petr6leo. Biblioteca del Boletin de Minas y Petr6leo.) Bogoti,
Escuela Tipografica Salesiana, 1929. See p. 295-298.
Patents and Trade-marks:
Patents throughout the world. Edited by William Wallace
White and Wallace White. 2nd ed. by Byfleet G. Havenscroft.
New York, Trade Activities, Inc., 1928. (Loose-leaf digest kept
up to date by supplements.)
Foreign patents and trade-marks. Edited by Marks and Clerk.
New York, 1926. (Loose-leaf digest kept up to date by supple-
Trade mark laws of the world. Edited by J. H. Ruege and W.
R. Graham. 2nd ed. New York. Trade Mark Law Publishing Co.,
Ladas (Stephen P.). International protection of trade marks by
the American republics. Cambridge, Harvard University Press,
Ladas (Stephen P.). International protection of industrial
property. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1930.
Patent and trade-mark review. Published by Trade Activities,
Inc., New York. (Monthly review, whose current volume is 34,
beginning October 1935.)
Bulletin of the U. S. Trade-Mark Association, New York.
(Monthly review, whose current volume is 31, beginning January
Tax systems of the world. A year book of legislative and
statistical information Sixth edition. By The Tax Research
Foundation. Prepared under the direction of the New York State
Tax Commission Chicago, 1935.
Workmen's compensation legislation of the Latin American
countries. (Bulletin 529, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Depart-
ment of Labor.) Washington, Government Printing Office, 1930.
Antokoletz (Daniel). Curso de legislaci6n del trabajo. 2 vols.
Buenos Aires, Libreria El Ateneo, 1927.
Pic (Paul). Trait6 6lementaire de legislation industrielle. Les
lois ouvrieres. 6th ed. Paris, Librairie Rousseau, 1930.
In passing, we note that the monetary and fiscal systems and the
public debts of the Central America republics are treated by Munro,
op. cit., and in the following publications:
Annual reports, Corporation of Foreign Bondholders, 1873-
1935. London [1874-1936].
Annual reports, Foreign Bondholders Protective Council, Inc.,
1934-1935. New York, 1935-1936.
Dunn (Robert W.). American foreign investments. New York,
Viking Press, 1926.
12 GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
Young (John Parke). Central American currency and finance.
Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1925.
Winkler (Max). Investments of United States capital in Latin
America. Boston, World Peace Foundation, 1929.
Winkler (Max). Foreign bonds: an autopsy. Philadelphia,
Roland Swain Co., 1933.
Also in passing, attention may be drawn to a non-juridic work
which, aside from its polemic matter, contains information upon the
banana industry in Central America, and upon the ramifications of
this industry, including the media of transport on land and at sea
which are necessary thereto:
Kepner, Jr. (Charles David) and Soothill (Jay Henry). The
banana empire. A case study of economic imperialism. (Studies in
American imperialism.) New York, The Vanguard Press, 1935.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
The republics of Central America, including Panama since its
emergence as an independent state in 1903, have participated in the
adoption of international legislation of a universal character. Thus,
all six republics are members of the League of Nations; and, to the
extent that league activities have application in Central America,
the publications of that organization should be consulted, without
prejudice to examination of the pertinent literature produced in
Central America, such as the reports which the respective Secretaries
of Foreign Relations present, annually or biennially, to the local
legislatures. In this connection, consult Denys Peters Myers, Manual
of Collections of Treaties (Cambridge, Harvard University Press,
1922); also Childs' Memorias of the Republics of Central America, etc.
(cited under our caption, "Administrative Law," supra).
The six republics of Central America are also parties, in greater
or lesser degrees of completeness, to treaties and conventions of a
universal character which have been concluded under auspices other
than that of the League of Nations. For example, all six republics
signed, and later ratified, the Universal Postal Convention of June
28, 1929. Again, all six republics signed, at Madrid on November 1,
1926, the Spanish-American Convention on Aerial Navigation, al-
though only Costa Rica has ratified the convention, thus far. In
addition to Central American publications, such as the Meemorias of
the respective Secretaries of Foreign Relations, above mentioned, and
treaty compilations of the several governments which carry the texts
of international legislation of the character here under discussion,
we may refer to the following publications originating outside
Arbitration treaties among the American nations to the close of
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE) 13
the year 1910. Edited by William R. Manning. New York, Oxford
University Press, 1924.
Niboyet (J. P.) and Goul6 (P. P.). Recueil de textes usuels de
droit international. 2 vols. Paris, Recueil Sirey, 1929.
International legislation: a collection of the texts of multi-
partite international instruments of general interest. Edited by
Manley O. Hudson. 4 vols. Washington, Carnegie Endowment for
International. Peace, 1931. (Contains multilateral treaties signed
during the years 1919-1929, in original texts with English transla-
tions when original texts are in another language; is equipped with
valuable editorial notes and bibliographies.)
In this connection we note the following compilation of diplomatic
and consular laws of various countries, including those of Central
A collection of the diplomatic and consular laws and regula-
tions of various countries. Edited by A. H. Feller and Manley O.
Hudson. 2 vols. Washington, Carnegie Endowment for Interna-
tional Peace, 1933.
Turning now to international legislation of a regional character,
we note that the six republics of Central America have participated in
the activities of the Pan-American Union; and that they are bound, in
greater or lesser degrees, by the treaties and conventions signed at the
seven conferences of American states which have been held between
1889 and the present time. We draw special attention to the inter-
national legislation which originated at the sixth conference, held at
Havana, in 1928, and which included topics important to the legal
profession, such as private international law (the so-called "Busta-
mante Code"), commercial aviation, copyright, status of foreigners,
The primary source of information for the international legislation
of the Pan-American Union, just mentioned, consists in the proceed-
ings of the respective conferences. For example, for the sixth confer-
ence held at Havana in 1928, we have the following official publications:
Rep6blica de Cuba. Diario de la sexta conferencia international
americana. 38 issues. Jan. 16-Feb. 22, 1928. Habana [Imprenta
y Papeleria de Rambla, Bouza y Ca.], 1928.
Sexta conferencia international americana. Acta final. Mo-
clones, acuerdos, resoluciones y convenciones. Habana, Imprenta
y Papeleria de Rambla, Bouza y Ca., 1928.
Sixth international conference of American states. Final act.
Motions, agreements, resolutions and conventions. Habana,
Imprenta y Papeleria de Rambla, Bouza y Ca., 1928.
Report of the delegates of the United States of America to the
sixth international conference of American states held at Habana,
14 GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
Cuba, January 16 to February 20, 1928, with appendices. Wash-
ington, Government Printing Office, 1928.
"The sixth international conference of American states held at
Habana, January 16-February 20, 1928. A survey by James
Brown Scott." In International Conciliation, no. 241 (New York,
"The sixth Pan American conference," in Foreign Policy Asso-
ciation Information Service, vol. IV (New York, 1928), nos. 4 and 9.
In passing, we note that the Inter-American Commission of
Women presented to the Seventh Pan-American Conference, held at
Montevideo in December 1933, a report on "The Nationality of
Women." Appended to this report were digests of the laws of the
several republics composing the Pan-American Union, including the
six whose juridic literature is here under special consideration. The
English text of this report and its appendices, issued in a mimeo-
graphic edition, letter-size, is entitled as follows:
The nationality of women. Report presented by the Inter-
American Commission of Women to the Seventh International
Conference of American States. Montevideo, December 1933.
3, 66 p.
In addition to participating in the enactment of international
legislation originating at Pan-American conferences, the republics of
Central America (excepting Panama) have been active, since their
emergence as independent states in 1838-1842, in the adoption of
treaties and conventions destined primarily to govern international
relations in Central America or to pave the way for a revival of the
former Federal Republic. Here we have particularly in mind, as of
present day importance, the international legislation produced at the
Washington Peace Conferences of 1907 and of 1922-23.
The texts of the eight treaties and one protocol, which were signed
at the Washington Conference of 1907, may be consulted in divers
editions. We copy from Myers, op. cit., p. 561-562, the following
data as to five such editions:
The Central American peace conference at Washington, Sep-
tember, November and December, 1907. Minutes, supplementary
documents, and treaties signed December 20, 1907. Washington,
Government Printing Office, 1907. 166, 26, 17, 50 p.
Conferencia de paz centroamericana, 20 de diciembre de 1907.
San Jos6, Tipografia Nacional, 1907. 52 p.
Conferencia centroamericana de Washington. Managua, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1908. 190 p.
Documentos relatives a la conferencia de paz centroamericana.
Tratados y convenciones concluidos por los delegados de las cinco
repiblicas de Centro America a la conferencia de paz celebrada en
Washington, D. C., el 20 de diciembre de 1907. Comunicaciones
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE) 15
relatives a la ejecuci6n de esos actos internacionales. [San Salvador,
Tip. "La Uni6n" de Dutriz Hermanos, 1908.] 52 p.
Conferencia de paz centro-americana, Washington, D. C.,
1907. Tratados y convenciones. Guatemala, Tip. Nacional, 1913.
Discussion of the content and significance of this international
legislation of 1907 for Central America is provided by the following
works and by the earlier literature therein cited:
Central American peace conference held at Washington, D. C.,
1907. Report of William I. Buchanan, representing the United
States of America. Washington, Government Printing Office,
1908. 97 p.
Brown (Philip M.). "American diplomacy in Central America,"
in American Political Science Association, Proceedings, 1911, p.
"Central American League of Nations," in World Peace
Foundation Pamphlets, vol. VII, no. 1 (Boston, Feb. 1917).
Slade (William F.). The Federation of Central America.
Worcester, Mass., 1917. (Reprint from Journal of Race Develop-
ment, vol. VII, nos. 1-2.) See ch. IX.
Hill (Howard C.). Roosevelt and the Caribbean. Chicago,
University of Chicago Press, 1927. See ch. VII.
Moreno (Laudelino). Historia de las relaciones interestatuales
de Centroamerica. 2nd ed.; Madrid, Compafiia Ibero-Americana
de Publicaciones, 1928. See chs. VIII-IX; also bibliographies for
these chapters, especially valuable for Central American literature.
Buell (Raymond Leslie). "The United States and Central
American stability," in Foreign Policy Reports, vol. VII (New
York, 1931), no. 9.
One of the above treaties of 1907 made provision for the establish-
ment, at Guatemala City, of an International Central American
Bureau, among whose functions was that of promoting the uniformity
of the civil, commercial and criminal legislation of Central America.
This bureau, which functioned during fifteen years, maintained an
Centro America. Organo de publicidad de la Oficina Inter-
nacional Centro-Americana. 13 vols. Guatemala, Jan. 1909-
Pursuant to another treaty of 1907, entitled "Convention con-
cerning Future Central American Conferences," provision was made
for the celebration of annual conferences of the signatory powers, to
be held in rotation at their several capitals, "to the end of bringing
uniformity of their economic and fiscal interests." During the years
1909-1914, six conferences were held, respectively, in Tegucigalpa,
San Salvador, Guatemala, Managua, San Jose and again in Teguci-
GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
galpa, producing a considerable body of international legislation. We
take from Myers, op cit., p. 562, the following data as to publications
which reflect the proceedings at these six conferences:
Primera Conferencia Centroamericana. Convenci6n. Actas de
las sesiones. Informe. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1909. 81 p.
Segunda Conferencia Centroamericana (Actas de las sesiones;
convenciones firmadas). San Salvador, Imprenta Nacional, 1910.
Tercera Conferencia Centroamericana, 1911. (Oficina Inter-
nacional Centroamericana, Guatemala.) Guatemala, "El Na-
cional" Tip. . 47 p.
"Sobre el program de la Cuarta Conferencia Centroameri-
cana," in Centro-America, vol. III, p. 482-487.
Quinta Conferencia Centroamericana, San Jos6 de Costa Rica,
1913. San Jos6, Tip. Lehmann . 4, 76 p.
Sexta Conferencia Centroamericana, Tegucigalpa. [Tegu-
cigalpa] Tipograffa Nacional, 1914. 74 p.
A summary of the work of these six Central American Conferences
has been provided by the Salvadorian jurist, Abraham Ramirez Pefia,
in his Conferencias Centroamericanas, Ipo9-i914 (San Salvador,
Imprenta Nacional, 1916; 305 p.).
In the light of subsequent developments, the Convention for the
Establishment of a Central American Court of Justice was by far the
most important item of international legislation for Central America
which was produced by the Washington conference of 1907. This
court was composed of five judges, appointed, one each, by the five
republics; it was empowered to adjudicate all controversies arising
among these republics which might not be adjusted through diplo-
macy, and also to take cognizance of suits which the citizens of any
one of these republics might bring against the government of another
of the republics. The court began to function in 1908 and expired by
limitation in 1918. Its judgments were officially reported in Anales de
la Corte de /usticia Centroamericana, of which forty-one issues, in
seven volumes, have been published (San Jos6, Tipografia de Avelino
Alsina; August 1911 to September 1917). The judgments of the court
have also been published in the official gazettes of the several re-
publics or in their respective Memorias de Relaciones Exteriores;
English translations of the more important judgments, together with
editorial comments thereon, will be found in the American Journal of
International Law (see "Analytical Index" for vols. I-XVI, s.v.,
"Central American Court of Justice").
A considerable literature, dealing with the organization and oper-
ation of the Central American Court of Justice, its achievements and
failures, has been produced. From this literature, we hazard the fol-
lowing selections of works by jurists whose citizenship is foreign to
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE) 17
Central America: Jean Eyma, La Cour de Justice Centre-Americaine
(Paris, Ernest Sagot & Cie., 1928); Moreno, op. cit., chs. VII-XI;
Stuart, Latin America and the United States (New York, The Century
Co., 2nd ed., 1928), ch. IX. See also "Central American League of
Nations," being Part III of "The New Pan-Americanism," in World
Peace Foundation Pamphlets, vol. VII, no. 1 (Boston, Feb. 1917); and
Mario Rodriguez A., The First Permanent International Tribunal:
The Central American Court of Justice (Master's thesis, Georgetown
University School of Foreign Service, April 1935; 3, 167 p., mimeo-
Central American jurists have also devoted considerable attention
to the workings of the Central American Court of Justice. In addition
to references to the periodical literature collected by Laudelino
Moreno, op cit. ("Bibliography" for ch. IX), we offer the following
Castej6n Fiallos (Miguel). Le traits Bryan-Chamorro et les
conflicts qu'il a provoqu6 en Amerique Centrale. Paris, Association
des Etudiants de Doctorat, 1925. (Nicaraguan jurist.)
Castro Ramirez (Manuel). Cinco aiios en la Corte de Justicia
Centroamericana. San Jose, Imprenta Lehmann (Sauter & Co.),
1918. 184 p. (Salvadorian jurist.)
Garcia Alvarado (Ernesto). La base naval en el golfo de
Fonseca. Tesis de licenciatura. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Minerva,
1931. (Honduran jurist.)
Martin (Ernesto). La labor del pacifismo y la Corte de Justicia
Centroamericana. San Jose, Tipografia A. Alsina, 1908. (Costa
Rodriguez Gonzilez (Salvador). El golfo de Fonseca en el
derecho public centroamericano. La doctrine Mel6ndez. San
Salvador, Imprenta Nacional, 1918. xiv, 363 p. (Salvadorian
Rojas Corrales (Ram6n). El tratado Bryan-Chamorro ante
Centro-America. San Jos6, Imprenta Moderna, 1914. 99, 1 p.
(Costa Rican jurist.)
Anderson (Luis). "El tratado Bryan-Chamorro," in Anales de
la Corte de Justicia Centroamericana, vol. VII (San Jose, 1917),
p. 43-93. (Costa Rican jurist.)
At the second Washington conference, held in 1922-23, the re-
publics of Central America (excepting Panama) revised and expanded
the international legislation which they had adopted at the conference
of 1907. The texts of the twelve treaties and three protocols, which
were signed at this conference and subsequently ratified by the parties,
-as well as the preliminary agreement previously signed on the
U.S.S. Tacoma by the Presidents of Honduras, Nicaragua and Sal-
vador,-may be consulted in the following publications:
Convenio del "Tacoma" suscrito en aguas del golfo de Fonseca
18 GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
entire los sefiores Presidentes de El Salvador, Honduras y Nica-
ragua el 20 de agosto de 1922. San Salvador, Imprenta Nacional,
1922. 7 p.
Central American conference, Washington, Dec. 4, 1922-Feb.
7, 1923. Proceedings. Washington, Government Printing Office,
1923. 404 p. (English and Spanish.)
The conference on Central American affairs held in Washing-
ton, D. C., from December 4, 1922, to February 7, 1923. Texts of
treaties, conventions and protocols adopted, with an introduction
by Dr. Leo S. Rowe, director of the Pan-American Union. (Inter-
national Conciliation, no. 189.) New York, August 1923.
Tratados y convenciones firmados por la conferencia centro-
americana de Washington (1922). Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Na-
Tratados y convenciones de Washington de 1923. Edici6n
official. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1927.
Convenciones centroamericanas suscritas en Washington el 7
de febrero de 1923 y sancionadas por la honorable Asamblea
Nacional. (Publicaci6n del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores.)
San Salvador, Imprenta Nacional, 1924. 36 p.
El tratado general de paz y amistad suscrito por las Repiblicas
de Centro America en Washington el 7 de febrero de 1923 y el
process de su denuncia por el gobierno de El Salvador. Algunas
opinions al respect. (Publicaci6n del Ministerio de Relaciones
Exteriores.) San Salvador, Imprenta Nacional, 1933. 106 p.
The background and operation of these treaties of 1922-23 are
discussed in the following works (wherein, also, references to the
Central American literature will be found):
Cox (Isaac J.), "Nicaragua and the United States: 1909-
1927," in World Peace Foundation Pamphlets, vol. X (Boston,
1927), p. 765-773.
Moreno (Laudelino), op. cit., ch. XIII.
Scott (James Brown), "The Central American conference,"
in 17 American Journal of International Law (1923), 313-319.
Stuart (Graham H.), op. cit., ch. XIII.
Buell (Raymond Leslie), "The United States and Central
American revolutions," in Foreign Policy Reports, vol. VII (New
York, 1931), no. 10.
In passing we note that the Central American Court of Justice,
which had been created by the conference of 1907 and expired by
limitation in 1918, was not revived by the conference of 1923. In its
place, pursuant to one of the conventions of 1923, provision was made
for an arbitration tribunal before which justiciable controversies
among the several republics might be arbitrated. The new Central
American Tribunal, which is patterned after the Hague Tribunal, is
merely a panel of thirty arbitrators appointed, six each, by the five
republics, from whom arbitrators for a concrete dispute may be
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE) 19
selected. Up to the present time, so far as we can learn, no arbitration
under these auspices has taken place.
During the years elapsed since independence, the several republics
of Central America, including Panama, have been involved in bound-
ary disputes, either among themselves or with neighboring states to
the North or South; in connection with arbitration or mediation of
these disputes a considerable literature has been produced, both by
jurists of Central America and by jurists foreign to that region. In
view of the highly special character of these controversies, we do not
attempt to compile the bibliographic data; we must be content to
refer to three recent studies:
Moreno Quintana (Lucio M.). El sistema international ameri-
cano. 2 vols. Buenos Aires, Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias
Sociales, 1925-1926. See vol. II, part third, chs. I-II.
Waddell (Agnes S.). "Unsettled boundary disputes in Latin
America," in Foreign Policy Association, Information Service,
vol. V, no. 26 (March 1930).
Woolsey (L. H.). "Boundary disputes in Latin-America," in 25
American Journal of International Law (1931), 324-333.
A like remark applies to the juridic literature which has been in-
spired by claims pressed by foreign nations against the republics of
Central America, for personal injury or property damage suffered by
their nationals by reason of mob violence or revolution, etc.; by reason
of confiscation of property, deriving from legislative or administrative
acts, etc. Some of those claims have resulted in the establishment of
mixed claims commissions for their ventilation; others, in special
arbitrations. Here again we must be content to refer to the works on
international law, such as Edwin M. Borchard, The Diplomatic
Protection of Citizens Abroad (New York, The Banks Law Publish-
ing Co., 1915); Jackson H. Ralston, The Law and Procedure of Inter-
national Tribunals (revised edition; Stanford University, 1926);
Repertoire de Droit International, vol. I (Paris, Recueil Sirey, 1929), s.v.
"Arbitrage International"; Annual Digest of Public International Law
Cases, years 1919-1930 (London, Longmans, Green and Co., 1929-
II. COSTA RICA
Data as to the laws and legal literature of Costa Rica will be found
in the following compilations:
Catalogue, Bibliotheque du Comite de LUgislation Etrangere
(Paris, 1889), p. 292-293.-Supplement de 1902 (Paris, 1903),
.Catalogue de la Bibliothique, Societe de Legislation Comparbe
(2nd ed., Paris, 1899), p. 120.
Repertoire general alphab6tique du droit franCais (Fuzier-
Herman), vol. XV (Paris, 1896), s.v. "Costa Rica."
Eder (Phanor J.). "Costa Rica," in "Notes on the legal bibli-
ography of Latin America," 2 American Bar Association journal
Brenes C6rdoba (Alberto). "Bibliography," in Rechtsvergleichen-
des Handw6rterbuch (Schlegelberger), vol. I (Berlin, 1929), p. 718.
Dobles Segreda (Luis). Indice bibliografico de Costa Rica, vols.
VII-VIII (San Jos6, Libreria e Imprenta Lehmann & Cia., 1935-
1936.) (Coversjuridic literature published during years 1831-1935.)
Of the above compilations, by far the most valuable are those by
Messrs. Dobles Segreda and Eder. Our indebtedness to these two
compilers is hereby acknowledged.
The chief repository of laws enacted by the Congress of Costa
Rica, also of decrees and regulations issued by the Executive Power,
consists of a series of volumes whose title, printer and format have
varied since official compilation, on a chronologic basis, began in the
1830's. The title has been Colecci6n de Leyes y Decretos, since the
volume for the second semester of 1906; the printer has been the
Imprenta Nacional, since the volume for the second semester of 1916;
and the format, which was small octavo prior to the volume for the
second semester of 1926, since then has been large octavo, almost
small quarto, in order to accommodate within the volumes devoted
to a given semester the ever-increasing material. Presently the series
comprises 167 volumes, the current volume covering the first semester
The above series consisted initially of volumes numbered I-XXV
(in error there were two volumes "XXII"), which compiled the ma-
trial for the years 1824-1864 and 1870-1877. The gap for the years
1865-1869, in this numbered series, was filled by four un-numbered
volumes, which bear the imprint of the Imprenta Nacional but omit
the years of publication. Volumes carrying material later than 1877
Returning to the numbered volumes, we furnish the title pages of
the first two volumes, since the original editions have been out of
print for over fifty years and presumably are not extant outside
Colecci6n de los decretos y 6rdenes que ha expedido la legisla-
tura desde el dia 6 del mes de septiembre de 1824 hasta 29 de
diciembre de 1826. Tomo 1. San Jose, Imprentas de la Paz y de
la Libertad. Afio de 1832. xxxii, 342 p.
Colecci6n de los decretos y 6rdenes que ha expedido la legisla-
tura del estado desde el dia 1 de marzo de 1827 hasta el 20 de
diciembre de 1830. Tomo II impreso de orden del Supremo Poder
Executive de Costa Rica en la Imprenta de la Libertad aiios de
1833 y 1834 en las ciudades de San Jose y Alajuela. xxv, 295 p.
The remaining volumes of the above numbered series were printed
at the Imprenta de la Paz, in San Jose, during the years 1856-1872
An index of the above series, for the years 1824-1924, chrono-
logically arranged under titles in alphabetic order, remains truncate
due to the death of the compiler. The three volumes published cover
only the letters A to J:
Ortiz C. (Bienvenido). Indice alfabetico de leyes de Costa Rica.
Comprende las leyes emitidas desde 1824 hasta 1924. 3 vols. San
Jose, Imprenta Nacional, -1930.
In addition, an index, under topical heads, of the legislation in
force on April 30, 1936, has appeared:
Beeche (Octavio). Indice general de la legislaci6n vigente en
Costa Rica .... 2 vols. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1935-1936
Two earlier indices, of lesser scope and usefulness, are available:
Guzman (Alfonso M.). Indice alfabetico de la colecci6n de
leyes de Costa Rica. Arreglada de orden de la Secretaria de
Gobernaci6n. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional . 28 p.
Acosta (Jos6 Maria). Vocabulario del derecho patrio. San Jose,
Tipografia Nacional, 1902. 207 p.
Consultation of the Costa Rican legislation is facilitated by the
existence of several compilations of "usual laws":
Leyes usuales. Edici6n ordenada por el senior Ministro de
A second edition of these first two volumes was printed in 1886 by the
Imprenta Nacional, at San Jose.
COURT REPORTS AND DIGESTS 23
Gobernaci6n, Dr. don Juan J. Ulloa. (Administraci6n de don
Rafael Iglesias.) San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1896. 191, 1 p.
Leyes usuales vigentes. Edici6n ordenada por el senior Ministro
de Gobernaci6n, Lic. don Jose Astua Aguilar. San Jose, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1905. 252 p.
Leyes organicas vigentes. (Biblioteca de Derecho Vigente en
Costa Rica, III.) San Jose, Tipografia Lehmann (Sauter & Co.),
1913. 4, 190 p.*
Compilaci6n de leyes usuales vigentes. Edici6n ordenada por el
senior Secretario de Estado en el Despacho de Gobernaci6n, don
Aquiles Acosta. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1923. 4, 255, 80 p.
Leyes organicas Edici6n dirigida por el Lic. TomAs Fer-
nandez Bolandi. (Biblioteca de Derecho Vigente en Costa Rica.)
San Jose, Libreria e Imprenta Alsina (Sauter, Arias & Co.), 1930.
217, 8 p. (This volume supersedes that published in 1913, as de-
Leyes usuales de la Republica de Costa Rica. Edici6n official
dirigida por Buenaventura Casorla. (Tercera Administraci6n de
don Ricardo Jimenez.) San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1935.
xxvii, 719 p.
In addition, we note that the several editions of the codes of Costa
Rica usually carry, in appendices, the texts of pertinent special laws,
executive decrees and regulations or, in default of the texts, references
Since the volumes of the compiled laws and decrees, above
described, appear with a delay of several months, Costa Rican lawyers
consult, for the recent material, La Gaceta: Diario Oficial, published
daily since 1877. We may add that this official gazette also carries
minutes of the proceedings of the Congress, as well as the material,
such as bills, committee reports, etc., pertinent to the business of the
legislature. The volumes of this gazette lack indices.
COURT REPORTS AND DIGESTS
The present organization and hierarchy of the courts of Costa
Rica were established by the Organic Law of Tribunals of March 29,
1887. Excluding military matters, justice both civil and penal is
administered by municipal alcaldes; by courts of first instance for the
several provinces into which the republic is divided; and by a Supreme
Court. The last named tribunal has two chambers which hear appeals,
respectively civil and penal, from the courts of first instance; also a
third chamber-Sala de Casaci6n-wherein the decisions of the appel-
late chambers, just mentioned, are reviewed for errors in the interpre-
This work is one volume of a convenient "Library" of Costa Rican legis-
lation, edited since 1913 by Luis Castro Saborio. It includes the constitution
and principal codes of Costa Rica.
station of the laws. The Supreme Court also sits as a full bench for
certain types of matters, mostly of an administrative and disciplin-
The decisions of the trial courts and of the appellate chambers of
the Supreme Court are not regularly reported; however, important or
interesting judgments of the appellate chambers were published or
criticized, on occasion, in El Foro (described below), until 1921, when
this periodical ceased to appear.
The judgments of the Chamber of Cassation, Supreme Court, have
been regularly reported, since 1888, in a series of volumes, in octavo
format, which are now entitled Sentencias de la Corte de Casacion. The
series presently comprises 95 volumes and reports judgments through
the year 1934.
In passing we note that judgments in cassation are initially re-
ported in a periodical, in folio format, entitled Boletin Judicial. This
periodical began publication January 1895. Currently it is published
daily and carries, besides the judgments of the Court of Cassation, the
awards of the Superior Tribunal of Arbitration, an administrative
body which was created by the Workmen's Compensation Law of
1925 (as amended). It also carries minutes of proceedings of the
Supreme Court and miscellaneous judicial notices. It is, moreover, the
official organ of the Costa Rican Department of Justice.
No cumulative and comprehensive digest of judgments in cassa-
tion exists. In the lack thereof, recourse may be had to the following
compilations which cover partially the case-law of a civil character:
Guardia Quir6s (Victor). Prontuario de legislaci6n civil y de
jurisprudencia. San Jose, Imprenta de A. Alsina, 1904. 142 p.
Guardia (Jorge). Jurisprudencia civil. Extracto de la doctrine
que contienen las principles sentencias de la Sala de Casaci6n ...
dictadas durante los aiios de 1919 a 1924. San Jose, Imprenta,
Libreria y Encuadernaci6n Alsina, 1925. 45 p.
A digest of the case-law in criminal causes, to 1911, is provided by
the following work:
Castro Saborio (Luis). Guia practice de legislaci6n y jurispru-
dencia penales. San Jos6, Tipografia de Avelino Alsina, 1911. 221 p.
A compendious description of the legal system of Costa Rica, as it
stood in 1886, will be found in the Ripertoire du Droit Franfais
(Fuzier-Herman), vol. XV (Paris, 1896), s.v. "Costa Rica."
Dr. Alberto Brenes C6rdoba has contributed a summary state-
ment, in German, of the public and private law of Costa Rica, as it
stood in 1929, to the Rechtsvergleichendes Handw6rterbuch (Schlegel-
berger), vol. I, p. 714-718.
A digest of leading topics of the civil and commercial law of Costa
Rica has been furnished by Porfirio G6ngora, of the San Jose bar, to The
Lawyers Directory, 1936, p. 1536-1555. Reference may also be made
to a similar digest, revised by Messrs. Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt
& Mosle, of the New York bar, which is published in Martindale-
Hubbell Law Directory, 1936, vol. II, s.v. "Costa Rica."
Under this caption of "General Works" we may conveniently refer
to the General Code of Costa Rica, enacted in 1841. This code was
divided into three parts, dealing respectively with the topics of civil
law, penal law and procedure civil and criminal; its three parts re-
mained in force during forty years or more, until severally superseded
by modern codes reflecting the several topics mentioned. It had two
C6digo general de la Republica de Costa Rica, emitido en 30 de
julio de 1841. San Jos6, Imprenta del Estado, 1841.
C6digo general de la Rep6blica de Costa Rica, emitido en 30
de julio de 1841. Segunda edici6n anotada, adicionada, revisada y
corregida conforme a las leyes vigentes posteriores hasta el 30 de
diciembre de 1857 Nueva York, Imprenta de Wynkoop,
Hallenbeck y Thomas, 1858. iv, 175, vii; 142, viii; 153, xi; xii, 1 p.
Here also we may refer to the following work, which treats of
divers topics of the law of Costa Rica, both public and private:
Zambrana (Antonio). Estudios juridicos. San Jos6, Tipografia
Nacional, 1907. xii, 241 p.
Under this caption, also, we may refer to three legal periodicals,
all now defunct:
El Foro. Revista mensual de derecho, legislaci6n y jurispru-
dencia, ciencias sociales y political (Fundador: Luis Cruz Mesa).
17 vols. San Jose, 1905-1921.
La Revista Juridica. ? vols. San Jose, 1919-?
Jurisprudencia. Revista mensual de interns juridico. (Direc-
tores: Fernando Lara y Eladio Trejos.) 3 vols. San Jose, Imprenta
Nacional, Jan. 1933-Feb. 1936.
Lawyers who have concrete problems of Costa Rican law would be
well advised to consult files of these three periodicals, for possible dis-
cussion of such problems.
A brief but excellent account of the history of both the private law
and the public law of Costa Rica will be found in the appendix to
Alberto Brenes C6rdoba's, Historia del Derecho (2nd ed.; San Jose,
Tipografia Gutenberg, 1929; 400 p.).
See also Antonio Zambrana's Estudios Juridicos, mentioned under
our caption, "General Works," supra. At p. 131 begins a series of
"Conferences on the History of the Law"; the eleventh conference,
p. 227-233, deals briefly with legal history in Spanish America.
The development of the commercial law of Costa Rica, from the
Spanish era down to about the year 1902, is traced by Ram6n Zelaya
in his "Historical Introduction" to the Costa Rican section of volume
XIII of Les Lois Commerciales de I'Univers (Paris, 1914). See also
Esquivel Obreg6n and Borchard, Latin American Commercial Law
(New York, 1921), p. 21-22.
As to constitutional history, see our caption "Constitutional
Costa Rica continued to apply the Spanish civil law, which was in
force at the date of independence, until 1841 when there was enacted
the General Code to which reference has been made hereinabove
("General Works," supra).
The "First Part" of this General Code of 1841 appears to have
been a close copy of the Code Napoleon. The civil law of Costa Rica,
reflected therein, was treated by Salvador Jimenez, a leading jurist
of his day, in Elementos de Derecho Civil y Penal (2 vols., San Jose,
Imprenta de Guillermo Molina, 1874-1876).
In 1887 was enacted a Civil Code which superseded the "First
Part" of the General Code of 1841. This code, which is still in force,
is of an eclectic character; its main provisions derive from the Code
Napoleon or are based on the doctrines of French writers currently
authoritative, particularly Aubry and Rau. There exist three editions
of the Civil Code of 1887:
C6digo civil de la Republica de Costa Rica. Edici6n official. San
Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1887. 2, 192, 9 p.
C6digo civil, 1888. (Rep6blica de Costa Rica-America Cen-
tral.) Segunda edici6n official, dirigida y anotada por Victor
Guardia Q. y Alejandro Alvarado Q. San Jose, Tipografia
Nacional, 1910. 345, 10 p. 4to.
C6digo civil. (Biblioteca de Derecho vigente en Costa Rica
dirigada por el Lic. don Luis Castro Saborio, VIII.) San Jos6,
Tipografia Lehmann (Sauter & Co.), 1916. 12, 331 p.
The latter two of the three editions of the Civil Code of 1887, above
mentioned, are equipped with cross references and with citations of
the judgments in cassation wherein the code provisions have been
construed. The last edition cited carries, as an appendix, an alphabetic
table of related legislation.
In passing, reference may be made to an English translation of the
Civil Code of 1887:
Translation of the civil code of the Republic of Costa Rica
(containing amendments to 1st January, 1906). Prepared under
COMMERCIAL LAW 27
the direction of the law department of United Fruit Company.
Boston, G. H. Ellis Co., 1907. 2, 192, 9 p.
Thus far, only one treatise on the civil law of Costa Rica, as re-
flected by the Civil Code of 1887, has been produced. We refer to the
Derecho Civil de Costa Rica, by Dr. Alberto Brenes C6rdoba, which
consists of the following volumes:
Tratado de las personas. [Second edition.] San Jose, Libreria e
Imprenta Lehmann, 1933. vii, 3, 317 p.*
Tratado de los bienes. Segunda edici6n. San Jose, Imprenta
Trejos Hermanos, 1927. 327, 4 p.t
Tratado de las obligaciones y contratos. San Jose, Imprenta
Trejos Hermanos, 1923. 576, 3 p.
In passing we note the following exposition, in French, of the
Costa Rican system of title to lands:
Peralta (Jos6 F. de). La propriet' fonciere a Costa Rica.
Bruxelles, Imp.-Lith. Ad. Mertens, 1888. 80 p.
The General Code of 1841 did not deal with the commercial law.
In this situation the Spanish laws on commerce continued in force in
Costa Rica, until a Code of Commerce was enacted in 1853. As origi-
nally enacted the code of 1853 was a close copy of the Spanish code of
1829; an indication of this fact appears in the title given by the code
commission to the book wherein its labors were published:
C6digo de comercio espafiol reformado por comisi6n del
Supremo Gobierno de Costa Rica para servir al comercio de la
Republica. Paris, Imprenta de Belin-Mandar, 1850. 236 p.
In later years the Costa Rican Code of Commerce has been con-
siderably modified, in respect of the mercantile registry, commercial
companies, negotiable instruments, sales of mercantile establish-
ments, bankruptcy, common carriers, etc. The amendatory laws, as
well as supplementary legislation on subjects not covered by the code,
appear in two modern editions of the code:
C6digo de comercio y otras leyes mercantiles. (Biblioteca de
Derecho Vigente en Costa Rica, II.) San Jose, Tipografia Leh-
mann, 1913. 4, 293, 5 p.
C6digo de comercio y otras leyes mercantiles. Nueva edici6n
corregida y aumentada con todas las ultimas reforms. (Biblioteca
de Derecho Vigente en Costa Rica dirigida por el Lic. Don Luis
Castro Saborio.) San Jose, Libreria e Imprenta Lehmann (Sauter
& Co.), 1931. 5, 488 p.
The first edition, printed by the Imprenta Trejos Hermanos, appeared
in 1925; 334, 3, 1 p.
t The first edition was printed in 1906 by the Tipografia Nacional; xiv,
See also Ram6n Zelaya's "El Derecho Mercantil, de Cambio, de
Quiebra y Maritimo de Costa Rica," in Lois Commercialesdel'Univers,
vol. XIII (Paris, 1914).
Thus far, no treatise on the commercial law of Costa Rica has been
produced. A work entitled Latin American Commercial Law: Cuba-
Mexico-Costa Rica (New York, Latin American Adviser, Inc., 1926),
by Ernesto Martin of the Costa Rica bar and Stuart H. Benton of the
New York bar, merely furnishes the Spanish text, accompanied by an
English translation of selected titles of the Costa Rican Code of
Commerce and of the legislation amendatory or suppletory thereto,
with occasional explanatory foot-notes.
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE
Hereinabove reference has been made to the Organic Law of
Tribunals of March 29, 1887. We may now add that the procedure in
civil and commercial cases is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure,
dated January 25, 1933 and effective March 1 following. The text of
this code has been published as a supplement to La Gaceta, issue of
January 26, 1893; and separately in an official edition, with an
appendix of supplementary legislation, under the title:
C6digo de procedimientos civiles (Administraci6n del Li-
cenciado don Ricardo Jim6nez). Edici6n official dirigida por el
Lic. Ernesto Martin. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1933. ix, 230 p.
The above code of 1933 superseded that of May 6, 1886, of which
the following four editions have come to our notice:
C6digo de procedimientos civiles. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional,
1887. 151 p.
C6digo de procedimientos civiles. (Biblioteca de Derecho
Vigente en Costa Rica, V.) San Jose, Tipografia Lehmann, 1914.
8, 227 p.
C6digo de procedimientos civiles. Edici6n ordenada por el
senior Secretario de Estado don Aquiles Acosta Garcia. San Jose,
Imprenta Nacional, 1924. 6, 233 p.
C6digo de procedimientos civiles. Segunda edici6n official
atendida por Luis Castaing Alfaro. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional,
1928. ix, 1, 260, 1 p.
The code of 1886 repealed Books I and II of the "Third Part" of
the General Code of 1841, which in turn had superseded the Spanish
procedural laws in force at the date of independence (1824). These two
books had been frequently amended during the 47 years that they
governed procedure in civil causes. Brenes C6rdoba has remarked,-
as to the above two books, regulating civil procedure, and as to Book
III, regulating criminal procedure,-that they were based on anti-
quated Spanish laws and doctrines and were of slight technical value
(Historia de Derecho, p. 316).
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE 29
Thus far no treatise on civil procedure, as established by the code
of 1933, has appeared. As to civil procedure under the code of 1886, we
may refer to the sketch provided by Zelaya for Lois Commerciales de
l'Univers (op. cit.); and also to the following titles:
Fernandez Bolandi (Tomas). Formulario de actuaciones (parte
civil). Segunda edici6n aumentada y corregida de acuerdo con
la legislaci6n actual. San Jose, Libreria e Imprenta "Alsina"
(Sauter, Arias & Co.), 1929. 47, 2 p.
Z'iiiga Montufar (Tobias). Tribunal y recurso de casaci6n.
Tesis. San Jose, Imprenta Alsina, 1908. 49 p.
The pamphlet on cassation by Z6fiiga Montufar, noted next above,
has been superseded by the following treatise:
Picado G. (Antonio). Jurisprudencia del recurso de casaci6n.
Admisi6n o rechazo del recurso. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional,
1933. 270 p.
Presumably Costa Rican lawyers rely on the standard Spanish
treatises, since the Costa Rican codes of civil procedure are based in
large measure upon the Spanish code of 1881.
The rules governing the education, admission and organization of
the members of the Costa Rican bar have been compiled in the fol-
Ley organica y reglamento del Colegio de Abogados. Regla-
mento de la Escuela de Derecho y anexos importantes. San Jos6,
Imprenta Nacional, 1926. 56 p.
NOTARIAL LAW AND PRACTICE
Here the basic statute is the Organic Law of Notarial Practice, of
October 12, 1887, as subsequently amended. In connection with this
statute reference may be made to the following compilation:
Divisi6n territorial de la Rep6blica de Costa Rica. Compilaci6n
hecha por Jose Joaquin Garcia C. Leyes y reglamentos tiles para
el ejercicio del notariado. San Jose, Libreria Alsina, 1914.
There exists a manual of notarial precedents, which has gone
through two editions:
Castaing Alfaro (Luis). Formulario para cartulaci6n. [San
Jose] Tipografia Nacional, 1896. 56 p.
Castaing Alfaro (Luis). Prontuario de cartulaci6n. Segunda
edici6n. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1923. 87, 2 p.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
Costa Rica has had successively three penal codes, namely: Books
I and II of the "Third Part" of the General Code of 1841; the Penal
Code of 1880; and the Penal Code of 1924.
Reference has been made hereinabove ("Civil Law," supra) to two
editions of the General Code of 1841. In connection with the "Second
Part" thereof, here we may recall the following treatise, whose
"Second Book" deals with the criminal law:
Jimenez (Salvador). Elementos de derecho civil y penal de
Costa Rica. 2 vols. San Jose, Imprenta de Guillermo Molina,
As regards the Penal Code of 1880, we note three editions:
C6digo penal de la Republica de Costa Rica emitido por el
Gran Consejo Nacional a iniciativa del Poder Ejecutivo y san-
cionado por 6ste el 27 de abril de 1880 Primera edici6n. San
Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1880. 181, xi p.
C6digo penal. (Biblioteca de Derecho Vigente en Costa Rica,
VI.) Tipografia Lehmann (Sauter & Co.), 1914. 6, 178 p.
C6digo penal de la Republica de Costa Rica. Afio 1918.
Administraci6n de don Federico Tinoco. San Jose, Imprenta
Nacional, 1919. 137 p.
The criminal law of Costa Rica, as reflected by the Penal Code of
1880, has been treated in the following works:
Orozco (Rafael). Elementos de derecho penal de Costa Rica.
Precedidos de un pr6logo de Antonio Zambrana. Primera
edici6n. San Jose, 1882. 502 p.
Astua Aguilar (Jose). Tratado del delito. Notas tomadas por
los alumnos del primer curso en la Escuela de Derecho, segun las
lecciones del professor de la asignatura San Jose, Tipografia
Nacional, 1909. 84 p.
Astua Aguilar (Jose). Tratado de la pena. Notas tomadas por
los alumnos del segundo curso de la Escuela de Derecho. San
Jos6, Tipografia Nacional, 1909. 77 p.
Gonzalez Viquez (Cleto). Casos prActicos de c6digo penal.
San Jose, Tipografia Avelino Alsina, 1910. 136 p.
Castro Saborio (Luis). Estudios penales. San Jose, Tipografia
Nacional, 1914. 486, 1, p.
Rojas Corrales (Ram6n). Condena conditional en Costa
Rica. San Jose, Imprenta Alsina, 1913. 46 p.
In this connection, we note the following Costa Rican edition of
an Italian treatise on criminal law:
Carrara (Francisco). Program del curso de derecho criminal
desarrollado en la Universidad de Pisa por el professor Tradu-
cido por Octavio Beeche y Alberto Gallegos. Parte general. 2 vols.
San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1889.
Consultation of the texts of laws and regulations which supple-
mented the Penal Code of 1880 is facilitated by the following com-
Acosta (Jose Maria). Compilaci6n de las leyes de policia y
disposiciones vigentes 2 vols. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional,
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
Manual para la policia judicial. Compilaci6n arreglada de
orden del senior Ministro de Policia Lie. don Alfredo Volio. San
Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1910. xxviii, 234 p.
In this connection, also, we may recall the following useful index
of the legislation supplementary to the Penal Code of 1880, and of
judicial decisions interpretative of the code provisions:
Castro Saborio (Luis). Guia prictica de legislaci6n y juris-
prudencia penales. San Jose, Tipografia de Avelino Alsina, 1911.
The text of the Penal Code of 1924 is reflected in the following
C6digo penal de la Republica de Costa Rica. Afio de 1924.
Edici6n ordenada por el senior Secretario de Estado encargado del
Despacho de Gobernaci6n don Aquiles Acosta. San Jose, Im-
prenta Maria V. de Lines, 1924. 141, 2 p.
C6digo penal de la Repiblica de Costa Rica. Edici6n dirigida
por el Lie. don Jose Astua Aguilar. Contiene un indice alfa-
betico y numerosas notas de referencia entire los articulos del texto.
San Jose, Imprenta, Libreria y Encuadernaci6n Trejos Hnos.,
1924. 299, lxxxvi, 5 p.
The laws and regulations supplementing the Penal Code of 1924
have been compiled in the following publication:
Manual para la policia judicial. Compilaci6n de todas las
disposiciones legales en material de policia vigentes el 1 de enero
de 1929. San Jose, Tipografia Lehmann (Sauter & Co.), 1929.
4, 344 p.
Ley de excarcelaci6n con todas sus reforms. (Biblioteca de
Derecho Vigente en Costa Rica dirigida por el Lie. don Luis
Castro Saborio.) San Jose, Libreria e Imprenta Lehmann (Sauter
& Co.), 1931. 17 p.
In the lack of a treatise on the criminal law of Costa Rica, as re-
flected in the Penal Code of 1924,-it appears to have been drafted
by Licentiate Jose Astua Aguilar on the model of the Italian code of
1889,-we may refer to the "Exposition" with which this jurist pref-
aced his Proyecto de Cddigo Penal (San Jose, Tipografia Nacional,
1910; cii, 215 p.); also to the first of a series of syllabi projected by
him for the use of his students, namely:
Prontuario de derecho penal. Tratado del delito. San Jose,
Imprenta Nacional, 1934. 52 p.
Criminal procedure has been regulated successively by three
codes, namely: Books III and IV of "Part Third" of the General
Code of 1841; the Code of Penal Procedure of 1906; and like code of
Hereinabove ("Civil Law," supra), reference has been made to two
editions of the General Code of 1841. Here we may add that the
legislation amendatory of, or supplementary to, the General Code of
1841 in respect of criminal procedure, is contained in the following
Procedimientos judiciales en lo criminal y leyes vigentes
ordenadas y anotadas por Fabio Baudrit. San Jose, Tipografia
Nacional, 1903. 1, 99, ii p.
The code of Penal Procedure, of 1906, and laws supplementary
thereto, are reflected in two editions:
C6digo de procedimientos penales, 1906. San Jos6, Tipografia
Nacional . 1, 144 p.
C6digo de procedimientos penales, 1906. San Jose, Tipografia
Nacional . 1, 177 p.
The Code of Penal Procedure, of 1910, together with comple-
mentary legislation, is contained in the following compilation:
C6digo de procedimientos penales y leyes complementarias.
(Biblioteca de Derecho Vigente en Costa Rica, I.) San Jose, Tipo-
grafia Lehmann, 1913. 4, 199 p.
As to procedure and forms of pleadings in criminal actions, see:
FernAndez Bolandi (Tomis). El auxiliar del instructor.
Segunda edici6n aumentada. San Jose, Imprenta Trejos Her-
mahos, 1924. 47 p., 2 fold. tables.
Castro Saborio (Luis). Formulario de actuaciones penales.
San Jose, Libreria Espafiola de M. v. de Lines, 1910. 132, 2 p.
The Constitution of 1871, as subsequently amended, is still the
basic law of Costa Rica. A new constitution, adopted in 1917, was
abolished in 1919, the constitution of 1871 being restored. The two
most modern editions of this constitution are next described:
Constituci6n political de la Rep6blica de Costa Rica, con ano-
taciones del Lic. don Claudio GonzAlez Rucavado. San Jos6,
Imprenta Trejos Hermanos, 1929. 53 p.
Constituci6n political de la Republica de Costa Rica San
Jose, Libreria e Imprenta Alsina (Sauter, Arias & Co.), 1929. 34 p.
The constitutional law of Costa Rica has been treated recently in
the following text-book for law students:
Leiva Quir6s (Elias). Principios de ciencia constitutional. San
Jose, Imprenta Gutenberg, 1934. 240 p.
Presumably the work just noted supersedes the following:
Leiva Quir6s (Elias). Lecciones de derecho constitutional. San
The work next noted deals only with the historical and philosophic
aspects, without touching the positive system of Costa Rica:
Beeche (Octavio). Estudios de derecho constitutional. San
Jose, Libreria Espafiola de Maria vda. de Lines, 1910. 224 p.
The constitutional history of Costa Rica has been sketched in
chapter XII of Dr. Leiva Quir6s' Principios de Ciencia Constitucional,
above noted. Source material for the early period will be found in the
Iglesias (Francisco Maria). Documentos relatives a la inde-
pendencia. 3 vols. San Jos6, Tipografia Nacional, 1899-1902.
The basic legislation relative to the provincial, cantonal and muni-
cipal administration of Costa Rica, as contrasted with the central
government, will be found in the following compilation:
Garcia Solana (A.). Gobierno municipal (disposiciones que lo
regulan). Edici6n ordenada por el senior Secretario de Estado en el
Despacho de Gobernacion, don Rafael Castro Quesada. San Jos6,
Imprenta Nacional, 1927. 259, iv p.
The foregoing compilation appears to have superseded an earlier
publication, to which we have the following reference:
Garcia Solana (Alberto). Legislaci6n municipal de la repiblica
de Costa Rica. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1921. 96 p.
Ordenanzas municipales de la republica de Costa Rica. San
Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1890. 45 p.
The basic legislation relative to the central administration of Costa
Rica is found mainly in the Fiscal Code of 1885 and in the laws amen-
datory or supplementary thereto. This code deals with taxation, in-
cluding port charges, sealed paper and documentary stamps, liquor
taxes, etc.; mails and telegraphs; railways; public lands and forests;
the monetary system; the organization and procedure of the public
treasury and its dependencies, etc. Most of these topics receive annual
attention from the Congress; in consequence, the pertinent laws,
enacted subsequently to the compilation next to be mentioned, must
be sought in the compiled "session laws" and in the official gazette.
The standard edition of the Fiscal Code of 1885, and of amendatory
and supplementary legislation, is entitled:
C6digo fiscal. (Biblioteca de Derecho Vigente en Costa Rica,
VII.) San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1915. 6, 235, 1 p.
Beer Pastor (Oscar). Pricticas fiscales. Recopilaci6n de ar-
34 COSTA RICA
ticulos del c6digo fiscal y leyes vigentes, decretos, reglamentos,
disposiciones, circulares e instrucciones en sus procedimientos para
uso de los resguardos fiscales de la Republica de Costa Rica. San
Jose, Imprenta de Maria v. de Lines, 1927. 246 p.
The compilations of "usual laws," described under our caption of
"General Works," supra, carry many of the laws and regulations
pertinent to administrative topics. In addition, special topics have
been compiled or treated in divers publications; for convenience, these
publications are arranged next below, in alphabetic order of topics:
Under this head we note several compilations, dealing mainly with
the banana industry:
Contratos presentados por la United Fruit Co. y M. M. Marsh
al Congress Nacional. San Jose, Imprenta "La Tribuna," 1926.
Contratos presentados por la United Fruit Co. y M. M. Marsh
al Congress Nacional. No. 2. San Jose, Imprenta "La Tribuna,"
1927. 116 p.
Cooperative Bananera Costarricense. Certamen de patrio-
tismo. Trabajos y opinions sobre las cuestiones agraria y ferro-
carrilera, en relaci6n con los concesionarios extranjeros en Costa
Rica. San Jose, Imprenta "La Tribuna," 1928. 194 p.
Sienz (Alfredo). Contratos y actuaciones de las Compafiias
del Ferrocarril de Costa Rica, la Northern Railway Co. y la
United Fruit Co., en Costa Rica. San Jos6, Imprenta "La Tri-
buna," 1929. 478 p.
Import duties constitute an important division among the
revenues of Costa Rica. The customs tariff, as reEnacted from time to
time, has been reflected in numerous editions. The latest which has
come to our attention is the following:
S Arancel de aduanas de la Republica de Costa Rica decretado
bajo la administraci6n de don Julio Acosta Garcia el 30 de octubre
de 1922. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1923, 276 p., incl. forms.
The laws and regulations relative to education have been compiled
under the following titles:
Compilaci6n legislative de instrucci6n primaria. Edici6n official.
1886-1892. (Rep6blica de Costa Rica. America Central.) San Jose,
Tipografia Nacional, 1893. 133 p.
Compilaci6n legislative de instrucci6n public. Edici6n orde-
nada por el senior Ministro de Instrucci6n P6blica, Lic. don Luis
Anderson. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1907. xxxv, 283 p.
C6digo de instrucci6n public. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional,
1920. 90 p.
There have been numerous editions of the election laws; the latest
edition that has come to our attention is composed of two parts as
Beeche (Hector). Ley de elecciones con las disposiciones, leyes
y jurisprudencia relatives al sufragio y un indice practice alfa-
betico. Edici6n complete anotada. San Jose, Imprenta "La
Tribuna," 1931. 192 p.
Beeche (Hector). Ley de elecciones. Suplemento a la edici6n
compendiada de legislaci6n electoral. San Jose, Imprenta "La
Tribuna," 1933. 42 p.
Finance, including Money and Banks:
La reform del sistema monetario de la Republica de Costa
Rica, decretada el 24 de octubre de 1896. San Jose, 1897. 56 p.
Compilaci6n de leyes y documents oficiales relatives a la
evoluci6n monetaria de Costa Rica 1896-1900. San Jose,
Tipografia Nacional, 1900. 125 p.
Ley de bancos con las modificaciones introducidas por la
Comisi6n Permanente. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1902. 19 p.
Ley de bancos y de cambio (letra de cambio). (Secretaria de
Hacienda.) San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1903. 74 p.
Political hacendaria de la Caja de Conversi6n. San Jose,
Imprenta Nacional, 1922. 87 p.
Soley Giiell (TomAs). Evoluci6n monetaria. Articulos de
divulgaci6n sobre la Caja de Conversi6n. San Jos6, Imprenta
Nacional, 1924. 93 p.
El Banco Nacional de Seguros. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional,
1925. 314, 1 p.
Soley Giiell (Tomis). Historia monetaria de Costa Rica. San
Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1926. 287, 3(fold.), 2 p.
Legislaci6n referente al Banco Internacional de Costa Rica.
Enero 10 de 1918 hasta la actualidad. San Jose, Trejos Hermanos,
A convenient index of financial and banking legislation, to 1916, is
furnished by the following pamphlet:
Prontuario de legislaci6n financiera y de leyes de banco,
anotado por Manuel A. Quir6s. San Jos6, Libreria, Imprenta y
Fotografia Alsina, 1916. 46 p. 4to.
Sanitary laws and regulations have twice been compiled in chrono-
Ortiz Cartin (Bienvenido). Copilaci6n de leyes, decretos y
circulares referentes a medicine e hijiene del afio de 1821 hasta
1920. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1921. 366 p.
Leyes, decretos y reglamentos de caricter sanitario (1923-
1935). (Secretaria de Salubridad Publica y Protecci6n Social.)
San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1936.
In this connection, see-
Montagne Carazo (Rogelio). Estudio de la legislaci6n farma-
ceutica vigente. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1933. 62 p.
Highways and Railways:
Index-digests of the laws and regulations relating to the highways
and railways, issued in Costa Rica during the century of 1824-1924,
as well as the texts of the legislation in force in the latter year, will be
found in the Appendix to a historical study of communications in
NGiiez (Francisco Maria). Iniciaci6n y desarrollo de las vias
de comunicaci6n y empresas de transportes en Costa Rica .
San Jos6, Imprenta Nacional, 1925. 336, 7 p.
-See also the following pamphlet:
Ley de trAfico. (Rep6blica de Costa Rica.) San Jose, Imprenta
Nacional, 1927. 27 p.
The laws and regulations relating to insurance have been compiled
in the following pamphlet:
Legislaci6n de seguros. San Jose, Imprenta Lehmann, 1930.
Included in the above compilation is the Insurance Law (Law
No. 11 of October 22, 1922), of which an English translation has been
published by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, U. S.
Department of Commerce (Trade Information Bulletin No. 77,
Washington, 1922). It should be borne in mind that the writing of
insurance of all kinds has been made a governmental monopoly which
is exploited by a National Insurance Bank. See Law No. 12, of October
The Workmen's Compensation Law of January 31, 1925, and its
regulations, tariff, etc., have been officially compiled:
Ley sobre reparaci6n por accidents del trabajo, con su regla-
mento, tarifa medica y catAlogo de mecanismos destinado a
impedir los accidents. Edici6n ordenada por el senior Secretario
de Estado en los Despachos de Trabajo y Previsi6n Social,
Licenciado don Ra6l Gurdiln. [San Jose] Imprenta Nacional,
1921. 66 p.
An English translation of this law, as it stood at the end of 1930,
will be found in Workmen's Compensation Legislation of the Latin
American Countries (Bulletin No. 529, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
U. S. Department of Labor), Washington, December 1930. Important
amendments will be found in Law No. 34 of February 11, 1931. The
Regulations for the Workmen's Compensation Law are now furnished
by Executive Decree No. 117 of May 11, 1931; they supersede those
translated in Bulletin No. 529. We also note that this bulletin omits
the regulations covering compulsory insurance on the part of em-
ployers with the National Insurance Bank (Executive Decree No. 18
of June 10, 1926), although such insurance was imposed by Articles
52 et seq. of the Workmen's Compensation Law of 1925.
Waring (Healton M.). Comentarios a la ley de accidents del
trabajo de Costa Rica. Primera parte: la responsabilidad. San
Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1926. 70 p.
Lands and Forests (Public):
Laws and regulations governing the public lands and forests of
Costa Rica, in force in 1899, have been compiled:
Caballero (Jose). Compilaciones de leyes y disposiciones
vigentes sobre tierras baldias y bosques nacionales. San Jose, Im-
prenta a Vapor de Alfredo Grefias, 1899. 95 p.
Mines and mining continue to be governed by the Mining Ordi-
nance of June 26, 1830, although this ordinance has been much
amended. The standard modern edition is entitled:
Ordenanza de mineria y decretos relatives a esta industrial.
Segunda edici6n corregida y aumentada bajo la direcci6n de
TomAs Bolandi y Amadeo Johanning hijo. (Comprende todas las
anotaciones reformatorias de la ley principal y un vocabulario
adicional.) San Jose, Imprenta Lehmann (Sauter & Co.), 1930.
110, vii, 1 p.
An English translation of the Mining Ordinance, entitled Mining.
Law of the Republic of Costa Rica (Topeka, Kan., 1897), has been
published by Charles S. Caldwell.
An extended controversy as to the ownership of the petroleum
subsoil, arising during the years 1916-1922,-initially, between the
Costa Rican government and its grantees of concessions for the
exploitation of the petroleum in such subsoil and, later, between these
grantees and the private owners of the freehold,-produced a con-
siderable literature, mostly of a pamphlet character. Of this literature,
the following titles have come to our attention:
Pacheco (Le6nidas). Los hechos y el derecho. El contrato
petrolero ante el Congreso. San Jose, Imprenta Moderna, 1916.
36 COSTA RICA
Nifiez (Francisco Maria). Labor de prensa. (Inner title:
Recopilaci6n de articulos publicados con motive del debate del
contrato Pinto-Greulich en el Congreso.) San Jose, Imprenta de
San Jose . 76 p.
Valentine (Lincoln G.). The case of Costa Rica. Washington,
D. C., Press of Gibson Bros., Inc., 1919. 107 p.
Documentos relatives al proyecto de contrato Pinto-Greulich.
Publicados por orden de la Secretaria del Congreso. San Jose,
Imprenta Nacional, 1920. 106 p.
Gonzalez (Alfredo). El petr6leo y la political en Costa Rica.
San Jos6, Imprenta y Libreria Trejos Hermanos, 1920. 1, 92 p.
Wilson (H. G.). El contrato Pinto-Greulich ante el Congreso.
San Jose, Imprenta Alsina, 1920. 35 p. (Opinions by Bernardo
Soto, Jos6 Joaquin Rodriquez and Ricardo Jimenez.)
Estudio sobre la ley del subsuelo y observaciones a la misma.
Por la Costa Rica Oil Corporation. San Jose, Imprenta, Libreria
y Encuadernaci6n Alsina, 1921. 103 p. (Opinions by Luis Ander-
son, Le6nidas Pacheco and the firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost,
Colt & Mosle.)
El petr6leo para los costarricenses. Estudios juridicos sobre la
ley del subsuelo. San Jose, Imprenta Lehmann, 1921. iv, 51 p.
(Opinions by Ricardo Jimenez, Carlos Maria Jimenez and Frank
Ziiiiga Montufar (Tobias). El contrato Pinto-Greulich y el
estado. El problema de la caducidad. San Jose, Imprenta Alsina,
1922. 143 p.
Buell (Raymond Leslie), "The United States and Central
American Stability," in Foreign Policy Reports, vol. VII (New
York, 1931), p. 161, at p. 178-180.
Patents, Trademarks and Copyright:
Patents of invention and copyright are governed by the Law of
Intellectual Property, No. 40 of June 27, 1896. Regulations for this
law have not been issued.
Trademarks are governed by Law No. 19 of October 23, 1930,
entitled Law of Commercial Protection; and by Regulations under
Executive Decree No. 10 of September 12, 1931, as amended by
Executive Decree No. 13 of October 1, 1931.
The above laws and regulations may be conveniently consulted in
one or more of the compilations of "usual laws" listed under our
caption of "Legislation," supra.
The laws and regulations pertinent to this topic may be consulted
in the manuals or compilations relative to the Judicial Police, which
are listed under our caption of "Criminal Law and Procedure," supra.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE) 39
No comprehensive treatise, covering the whole field of the adminis-
trative law of Costa Rica, has appeared. A Costa Rican jurist,
Antonio Zambrana, has provided, in two publications, commentaries
on selected topics within this field, although treating them from the
philosophical angle rather than from that of the positive system of
La administraci6n. Un studio. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional,
1897. 148 p.
Estudios juridicos. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1907. xii,
241 p. (See p. 1-127.)
On the topic of public finance, including the budget, taxes and
public domain, there exists a modern treatise dealing adequately with
the Costa Rican system:
Soley Giiell (Tomis). Elementos de ciencia hacendaria. San
Jose, Imprenta Lines A. Reyes, 1929. xxi, 350 p.
Under this head the following titles may be noted:
C6digo military para el ejercito de la Rep6blica de Costa Rica.
San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1884. xi, 281, viii p.
Formularios de los procedimientos en los sumarios por delitos
militares conforme al c6digo military de 21 de enero de 1884. San
Jos6, Tipografia Nacional, 1884. 29 p.
Ley de organizaci6n general del ejercito de la Republica
de Costa Rica. (Diciembre 22 de 1897.) San Jose, Tipografia
Nacional, 1898. 54 p.
C6digo de justicia military de la Repiblica de Costa Rica. San
Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1898. 178 p.
Ordenanza para el ejercito de la Republica de Costa Rica. San
Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1899. 212 p.
Ley orginica de registro military. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional,
1906. 40 p.
For additional titles see Luis Dobles Segreda, Indice Bibliogrdfico,
vol. VIII, p. 381-519.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
The treaties to which Costa Rica is or has been a party have been
Colecci6n de tratados celebrados entire Costa Rica y varias
naciones extranjeras. San Jose, Imprenta de la Paz, 1861. 1, 258 p.
Colecci6n de tratados internacionales celebrados por la Re-
publica de Costa Rica. 2 vols. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional,
Colecci6n de tratados. Edici6n ordenada por la Secretaria de
Relaciones Exteriores. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional, 1896.
245, iii p.
40 COSTA RICA
Colecci6n de tratados. Contiene solamente los tratados vigentes
en la fecha del 31 de diciembre de 1907. Edici6n ordenada por la
Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. San Jose, Tipografia Nacional,
1907. 6, xiii, 664 p.
Colecci6n de tratados. Contiene solamente los tratados vigentes
en la fecha del 31 de diciembre de 1926. Edici6n ordenada por la
Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. San Jose, Imprenta, Libreria
y Encuadernaci6n Alsina, 1927. 435 p.
Costa Rica appears not to have enacted any legislation relating to
its diplomatic service. The consular service, however, is regulated by
an Organic Law of July 7, 1925; this law and other legislation perti-
nent to the duties of consuls, have been compiled under the following
Ley orginica del servicio consular (Decreto no. 46 del 7 de
julio de 1925). Contiene ademas un formulario y leyes sobre
registro del estado civil, sucesi6n testamentaria, notariado, ciu-
dadania, entrada y expulsion de extranjeros, pasaportes, sanidad
maritima, etc. Edici6n ordenada por el Secretario de Estado en el
Despacho de Relaciones Exteriores, Lic. Juan R. Argiiello de
Vars. San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1925. 176, 3 p.
In addition, the legislation as to the entry, residence and expulsion
of foreigners may be consulted in the following compilation:
Recopilaci6n de las leyes vigentes en la Republica de Costa
Rica sobre la entrada de los extranjeros al pais, su residencia en
'1 y su expulsion asi como sobre todos sus deberes y derechos.
San Jose, Imprenta Nacional, 1922. 30 p.
No Costa Rican jurist has produced a treatise covering the whole
field of public international law. However, one Costa Rican jurist,
Luis Anderson, has dealt with many topics within that field, as may
be gathered from the following titles which have come to our attention:
"Arbitration as a judicial remedy," in American Society of
International Law, Proceedings, 1909, p. 35-48.
"Monroe doctrine and international law," same series, 1912,
El gobierno de facto. San Jose, Imprenta Lehmann, 1925. 78 p.
Bases de una convenci6n de aviaci6n commercial. (Coordinaci6n
de las convenciones existentes.) San Jose,Imprenta"LaTribuna,"
1935. 56 p.
Legislaci6n international del trabajo. San Jose, Imprenta
Nacional, 1935. 40 p.
We note also the following titles, by other Costa Rican jurists:
Martin (Ernesto). La labor del pacifismo y la Corte de Justicia
Centroamericana. San Jose, Tipografia A. Alsina, 1908.
Rojas Corrales (Ram6n). El tratado Chamorro-Weitzel ante
Centro Am6rica y ante el derecho international. San Jos6, Im-
prenta Moderna, 1914. 100 p.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE) 41
Sotela (Rogelio). La doctrine de Monroe desde un punto de
vista subjetivo. Tesis presentada por. San Jose, Imprenta,
Encuadernaci6n y Libreria Alsina, 1925. 34 p.
Costa Rica has been a party to boundary disputes with Colombia,
with Nicaragua and with Panama. These disputes, as well as the
ensuing arbitrations, have given rise to a considerable literature,
whose existence we merely note in passing to the topic of private
At the Sixth International Conference of American States, held in
Havana in 1928, the delegation from Costa Rica signed the Conven-
tion on the Code of Private International Law but joined with the
Colombian delegates in a series of reservations. By Law No. 50, of
December 13, 1928, the Congress of Costa Rica ratified this conven-
tion, with the reservations mentioned but extending them to include,
besides current Costa Rican legislation, any legislation which in the
future might be contrary to the said code. By Executive Decree No. 2
of November 1, 1929, the convention was promulgated, subject to all
the reservations mentioned; by this decree the Executive Power
withdrew its initial veto of said Law No. 50. See Coleccion de Leyes y
Decretos, 1929, vol. II, p. 342-343.
In the lack of a Costa Rican treatise especially devoted to private
international law, we may refer to the commentary on Articles 3-11
of the Civil Code, furnished by Doctor Brenes C6rdoba in his Tratado
de las Personas. The subject of nationality in Costa Rica has been
treated by Doctor Luis Anderson; see Ripertoire de Droit Interna-
tional, vol. IX (Paris, 1931), p. 592-594.
Under this head we may refer to the following publications:
Catalogue, Bibliotheque du Comite de Legislation Etrangere
(Paris, 1889), p. 489-490.-Supplement de 1902 (Paris, 1903),
Catalogue de la Bibliotheque, Societe de Legislation Comparte
(2nd ed.; Paris, 1899), p. 180.
Repertoire gn&erale alphab6tique du droit francais (Fuzier-
Herman), vol. XXIII (Paris, 1900), s.v. "Guatemala."
Azpuru (Jose) and Mencos (Alberto). "Commercial law of
Guatemala," in Commercial Laws of the World, vol. IX (London,
1911), p. 7.
Matos (Roberto). "Bibliography," in Rechtsvergleichendes
Handwirterbuch (Schlegelberger), vol. I (Berlin, 1929), p. 725-726.
Catalogo de la Biblioteca Nacional. Guatemala, 1932. See
A catalogue of the Guatemalan section of the Library of the
Guatemalan Law Faculty is printed in volume VIII (1897), pages
250-255 and 290-296, of La Escuela de Derecho, which was the
official organ of the Law Faculty. This catalogue is useful, for purposes
of checking, although it omits data as to imprints and years of publi-
cation of the titles listed.
Reference may also be made to the catalogue of the Library of the
Guatemalan Supreme Court, published serially in volume XXVI
(1928-1929) of the Gaceta de los Tribunales; in this catalogue, un-
fortunately, the Guatemalan publications usually are not segregated
or otherwise distinguished from foreign items.
The primary source for Guatemalan laws, decrees and regulations
is the official gazette which, under varying titles and with occasional
lapses, appears to have been published from the year 1831 to date.
(For details as to years of publication and variations in titles, see
Catalogo de la Biblioteca Nacional, p. 187.) Since March 1931, the
official gazette has been called Diario de Centro Amirica; beginning
with volume IV (March-July, 1932), these volumes have been pro-
vided with indices.
In practice, Guatemalan lawyers who are in search of the legisla-
tion on a given subject, consult the files of the official gazette only for
the period since March 1933, since the legislative and administrative
decrees, down to the month and year just mentioned, are available
in compiled form, in the following two publications:
Recopilaci6n de las leyes de Guatemala, compuesta y arreglada
por don Manuel Pineda de Mont, a virtud de orden especial del
Gobierno Supremo. 3 vols., fol. Guatemala, Imprenta de la Paz,
Recopilaci6n de las leyes de la Republica de Guatemala:
1871-1933. 51 vols., 4 to. Guatemala, 1881-1935. (Present title as
indicated; printed in Tipografia Nacional. Various earlier titles
The above two compilations have superseded divers earlier or
contemporaneous publications, as to which Azpuru and Mencos,
op cit., p. 7, and the Catdlogo de la Biblioteca Nacional, p. 190-191,
may be consulted. However, we draw attention to one compilation,
which is of special interest, since therein are collected the organic
laws enacted by the Guatemalan Constitutional Convention of 1839-
Colecci6n de los decretos de observancia general, expedidos
por la Asamblea Constituyente del Estado de Guatemala, en los
afios de 1839 y 1840. Guatemala, Imprenta del Gobierno a cargo
de A. Espaiia [1841?]. 1, 224, xiv p.
Several cumulative indices of legislation have been published;
of these, the following are the most useful:
Padilla (M.). Indice de los decretos del Supremo Gobierno del
Estado emitidos desde el 15 de abril de 1839 hasta el 20 de no-
viembre de 1844. (N.p. N.d.)
Marure (Alejandro) and Fuentes Franco (Andr6s). CatAlogo
razonado de las leyes de Guatemala. Comprende todas las que
han sido promulgadas desde la independencia hasta el 30 de
septiembre de 1856. Guatemala, Imprenta de la Paz, 1856.
Mendez (Rosendo P.). Indice general de la recopilaci6n de
leyes vigentes de la Republica de Guatemala. Guatemala, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1925. 107 p. (Includes laws in force, to March
Chronologic indices of executive decrees, covering the years 1871-
1909, will be found in the following issues of the periodical, La Escuela
de Derecho: no. 8 (October 1896) of vol. VII; no. 6 (July 1902) of
vol. XII; no. 3 (April-May 1903) of vol. XIII; no. 13 (April 1908) of
vol. XIV; and no. 15 (January 1910) of vol. XV.
In passing we note that during the years 1880-1928, with some
gaps, the proceedings of the Guatemalan legislature appeared in a
special periodical, as to which we submit the following data (subject
Asamblea Nacional Legislativa. Diario de las sesiones. 1880-
1898. 20 vols.
Diario de las Sesiones de la Asamblea Legislativa. 1923-1933.
During recent years minutes of sessions of the Legislative Assembly
have been published in the official gazette.
Consultation of the Guatemalan laws, decrees and regulations is
greatly facilitated by a number of compilations of "usual laws."
We list two of these compilations:
Gonzalez Saravia (Antonio). Derecho patrio. 2 vols. Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, 1910-1914. (The second volume
forms an "Appendix" to the first.)
Mendez (Rosendo P.). Leyes vigentes recopiladas por la
Secretaria de Gobernaci6n y Justicia y apendice de reglamentos.
Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1927. 655 p.
In this connection, we also note that important laws and regula-
tions, as currently enacted or decreed, are reprinted in the Gaceta de los
Tribunales, either within its text or as supplements thereto. This
periodical, which is primarily designed to report the decisions of the
Supreme Court, is described under the caption next below.
In passing, we may mention the practice of the several Guatemalan
departments of state, in recent years, of publishing bulletins wherein
the current legislative and administrative material within their
respective jurisdictions is conveniently gathered. References to these
bulletins, so far as important to the legal profession, will be found
under the captions of "Administrative Law" and "International
The Gaceta de los Tribunales appears to be the sole official vehicle
of publicity for the judgments of the courts. Publication of this peri-
odical began in 1881; the volume for 1935 (vol. XXXI) was recently
completed (July 1936). Herein are reported the decisions of the
Supreme Court, sitting as a tribunal of cassation in review of the
decisions of its own appellate chambers; selected decisions of these
appellate chambers; and also the decisions of the Supreme Court,
when hearing, either in original jurisdiction or on appeal, cases in-
volving the recurso de amparo. The recurso de amparo (literally,
"recourse of protection") is a peculiar judicial remedy, borrowed from
Mexico, whereby alleged violations of the constitutional rights of
nationals or of foreigners are corrected and whereby also illegal or
arbitrary acts of the judicial or administrative authorities-are set
In addition, there are published in the Gaceta de los Tribunales
the decisions of the Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal de lo Con-
tencioso-Administrativo), which was created by Legislative Decree
No. 1550 of June 9, 1928, to hear appeals in administrative causes
decided by the several departments of state.
As above intimated, only selected or important judgments of the
appellate chambers of the Supreme Court are reported in the Gaceta
de los Tribunales. No provision is made for publication of the judg-
ments of the trial courts.
In passing we note that in the Gaceta de los Tribunales are pub-
lished editorials on current questions of interest to the legal profession
as well as articles contributed by members of the bar. As intimated
hereinabove, the utility of this periodical is enhanced by the fact that
therein are reprinted the important decrees of the Guatemalan legisla-
ture and of the executive power.
So far as we can learn, no digest of the Guatemalan case-law exists.
In this situation, Guatemalan lawyers seemingly must rely on the
indices of the several volumes of the Gaceta de los Tribunales, occa-
sionally published; or, in default thereof, upon the tables of contents
affixed to the individual issues.
Under this head we should refer again to a treatise which is still
a working tool of Guatemalan lawyers, although it has become some-
what out of date, namely: Derecho Patrio, by Antonio Gonzalez
Saravia, who at one time was chief magistrate of the Supreme Court.
Also under this head we may mention three legal periodicals, which
were published at Guatemala City:
Revista del Foro. 2 vols. April 15, 1875 to October 1, 1877.
La Escuela de Derecho. Publicaci6n trimestral de la Facultad
de Derecho, Notariado y Ciencias Politicas y Sociales del Centro.
18 vols.; vol. 19 incomplete (2 nos.). May 1890 to June 1926.
(At outset, published weekly; then monthly; and in last years,
El Foro Guatemalteco. Revista mensual. Organo de la Asocia-
ci6n de Abogados de Guatemala. 5 vols. 1923-1927.
In passing we note a periodical, published by the students of the
University of Guatemala, which carries articles on legal topics:
Studium. Organo de la Asociaci6n de Estudiantes Univer-
sitarios de Guatemala. Vol. I, no. 1, February 1921-vol. IX, nos.
31-32, July-December 1930.
In respect of non-Guatemalan publications, we may refer to the
Repertoire du Droit Francais and to the Rechtsvergleichendes Hand-
wirterbuch, cited hereinabove, for summary descriptions of the
Guatemalan legal system. Brief digests, in English, of leading topics
of the administrative, civil and commercial law of Guatemala have
been furnished, respectively by Dr. George F. Sanchez, of the Guate-
malan Bar, to the 1936 edition of The Lawyers Directory (Cincinnati,
1936), p. 1651-1658; and by Messrs. Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt &
Mosle, of the New York Bar, to the 1936 edition of Martindale-
Hubbell Law Directory (New York, 1936), vol. II, s.v. "Guatemala."
The history of Guatemalan legislation to 1867 is reviewed by
Pineda de Mont (Recopilaci6n de Leyes, vol. III, p. 363-406); and
considerable information as to later developments, to 1910, may be
gleaned from Gonzalez Saravia (Derecho Patrio, passim). The early
constitutional history is treated in detail by Ram6n A. Salazar in his
work entitled Historia de Veintiun Anos (Guatemala, Tipografia
National, 1928; 267 p.). The commercial legislation, to about 1907, is
briefly sketched by Azpuru and Mencos in their introduction to the
Guatemalan section of Commercial Laws of the World (vol. IX),
Many documents which reflect the constitutional and administra-
tive history of Guatemala during the presidency of General Justo
Rufino Barrios (1871-1885) have been collected and printed in the
Rubio (Casimiro D.). Biografia del General Justo Rufino
Barrios, reformador de Guatemala. Recopilaci6n hist6rica y
documentada. (Cover-title: Barrios a traves de la historic.
Homenaje de la Policia Nacional de Guatemala a su ilustre
fundador. Centenario 19 de julio 1835-1935 ) Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional, julio de 1935. xv, 665 p.
The Spanish civil legislation, which was in force in Guatemala at
the date of independence (1821), continued to have application until
1877. There existed a treatise on this Spanish civil legislation, written
by a Guatemalan jurist, Jose Maria Alvarez. This treatise, which
became a classic in Spanish America, went through several editions,
Guatemalan, Spanish and Cuban. The last Guatemalan edition is the
Instituciones de derecho real de Castilla y de Indias, por el
doctor Jose Maria Alvarez. Segunda edici6n guatemalteca, pre-
cedida de la biografia del autor, y arreglada, corregida y aument-
tada con muchas notas y various apendices sobre diversas materials
importantes que no tenia la obra, por el Icdo. don Doroteo de
Arriola. 4 vols. Guatemala, Imprenta de L. Luna, 1854.
On September 15, 1877, a new Civil Code went into effect and all
prior civil legislation, both Spanish and Guatemalan, was repealed.
This code had been prepared by a Codifying Commission initially
appointed in 1875. The new code was of an eclectic character; it was
based mainly on the French Civil Code of 1804, the Spanish Project of
Civil Code of 1851 and the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, with
occasional borrowings from the Peruvian code of 1851 and from the
Chilean code of 1855.
The text of the Civil Code of 1877, as amended from time to time,
is reflected in the following publications:
C6digo civil de la Republica de Guatemala. Guatemala,
Imprenta de "El Progreso," 1877. lxxxiii, 312, ix p.
C6digo civil de la Republica de Guatemala, 1877. Madrid, F.
G6ngora y Cia., 1880.
Ley de reforms al c6digo civil. 1882. 57 p. (N.p. N.d.)
El c6digo civil de la Republica de Guatemala. Nueva edici6n
que comprende las reforms y otras disposiciones complementarias.
Publicada por J. S. C. [Jose Salazar Cardenas]. Guatemala,
Tipografia "El Progreso," 1886. vi, 425 p.
C6digo civil y de procedimientos. Guatemala, Tipografia "El
Consultation of the Civil Code of 1877, as it stood in 1916, was
facilitated by the following index:
Zecefia Beteta (Manuel). Indice alfab6tico del c6digo civil de
Guatemala. Guatemala, Tipografia Sanchez & de Guise .
Only one treatise on the civil law of Guatemala, as reflected in the
Civil Code of 1877, has been published:
Cruz (Fernando). Instituciones de derecho civil patrio. 3 vols.
Guatemala, .1882-1888. (Vols. I and II were printed by Tipo-
grafia "El Progreso"; vol. III, by Tipografia "La Uni6n.")
Beginning in October 1925, a Commission of Legislation attached
to the Secretariat of Government and Justice undertook the revision
and modernization of the Civil Code of 1877. The labors of this
commission were reflected initially in Executive Decree No. 921,
dated June 30, 1926 and effective on September 15 following, whereby
a new Book I ("Preliminary Title" and "Persons") was decreed, in
substitution of existing Book I of the code.* Projects of a new Book II
("Property") and of a new Book III ("Succession"), as prepared by
this commission, were published respectively in 1927 and in 1931. In
1932, a project of new Book IV ("Obligations and Contracts") was
published; this project had been prepared by Federico Ojeda Salazar,
Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice.
In 1933, the Guatemalan government abandoned its programme of
progressive enactment of successive revisions of the several books of
the Civil Code of 1877. Instead, there was submitted to the Legisla-
Extensively amended by Legislative Decree No. 1730, of June 22, 1931.
tive Assembly a revised Project of Civil Code, composed only of three
books, namely: Book I, "Persons"; Book II, "Property" (including
testate and intestate succession); and Book III, "Modes of acquiring
Property." From Book I, the so-called "Preliminary Title" of general
rules as to the force and effect of laws, etc., was omitted, by virtue of
incorporation in a new Constituent Law of the Judicial Power. More-
over, the topic of "Obligations and Contracts" was entirely omitted
from the Project of Civil Code, of 1933, since it was proposed to pre-
pare and submit for enactment a draft Code of Obligations and Con-
tracts which would include both civil and commercial aspects of said
topic; meanwhile, Book III ("Obligations and Contracts") of the
Civil Code of 1877 was left in force, notwithstanding the repeal of the
other books of that code.
The text of the Civil Code of 1933, as enacted, together with the
reports thereon of the Legislative Commission of the Secretariat of
Government and Justice and of the like committee of the Legislative
Assembly, will be found in the following compilation:
Constituci6n de la Republica de Guatemala. Ley constitutiva
del poder judicial, decreto numero 1928. C6digo civil de la
Rep6blica de Guatemala, decreto numero 1932. (Secretaria de
Gobernaci6n y Justicia.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, julio de
1933. 371 p. (See p. 117 and following.)
The labors of the Commission of Legislation, of the Secretariat of
Government and Justice, from 1925 to 1934, may be consulted in the
C6digo civil de la Republica de Guatemala. Libro primero.
Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1926. 99 p.
Leyes de probidad, de cedula de vecindad, orgAnica y regla-
mentaria de tribunales, y de reforms ultimas a los c6digos penal,
de procedimientos penales, civil, y de procedimientos civiles.
Recopiladas por Rosendo P. Mendez. (Secretaria de Gobernaci6n
y Justicia.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, octubre de 1931. 115
p. (See p. 73-97.)
C6digo civil. Libro segundo. Guatemala [Tipografia Nacional],
noviembre de 1927. 44 p.
C6digo civil de la Repiblica de Guatemala. Libro segundo.
Publicaci6n de la Gaceta de los Tribunales, 1927. 151 p.
Proyecto de c6digo civil de la Republica de Guatemala pre-
sentado a la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa, por la Secretaria de
Gobernaci6n y Justicia. Marzo de 1932. Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional. 321 p.
C6digo civil de la Repiblica de Guatemala. Proyecto formu-
lado por la Comisi6n de Legislaci6n adscrita a la Secretaria de
Gobernaci6n y Justicia. Guatemala, Centro Editorial, S.A., 1933.
C6digo de enjuiciamiento civil y mercantil. Ley de notari-
ado. Reglamento general de tribunales. Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional, noviembre de 1934. (Legislative Decree No. 2010, of
May 30, 1934, amending the Civil Code 1933, will be found at
In passing we note that the Ojeda-Salazar project of Book IV of
the Civil Code, to which reference has been made, was published under
the following title:
Proyecto del libro 4 del c6digo civil de la Republica de
Guatemala por el licenciado Federico Ojeda Salazar, magistrado
de la Suprema Corte de Justicia. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional,
1932. 171 p. (Supplement to Gaceta de los Tribunales.)
There exists a considerable body of legislation, supplementary to
the Civil Codes of 1877 and of 1933, which must be consulted by
those who have concrete problems within the general scope of these
codes. The main items of this legislation may be found in several
compilations, of which the chief are Gonzalez Saravia's Derecho
Patrio (1910-1914) and Mendez' Leyes Vigentes (1927), cited under
the caption, "General Works," supra. Add now the following
Leyes de hipoteca, prenda y registros de la propiedad inmueble.
Recopiladas por Rosendo P. Mendez. (Publicaciones de la
Secretaria de Gobernaci6n y Justicia.) Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional, septiembre de 1930. 47 p.
Until 1877, Guatemala continued to be governed, in respect of
commercial matters, by the Spanish Ordinances of Bilbao; in the year
mentioned a Code of Commerce and a Law of Mercantile Procedure,-
both sanctioned by executive decree of July 20, 1877,-went into
The Code of Commerce, although amended during subsequent
years, has remained in force. The texts of this code, of the report of the
Codifying Commission which drafted it, and of amendatory or sup-
plementary laws, are reflected in the following two editions:
C6digo de comercio de la Reptblica de Guatemala. 1877.
Guatemala, Imprenta de Luna . xxxvi, 2, 328, 39 p.
C6digo de comercio de la Rep6blica de Guatemala, torado
fielmente de la edici6n del aiio de 1877, ampliado con todas las
reforms habidas hasta la fecha. Edici6n de 1928. Guatemala,
Uni6n TipogrAfica. xli, 289, 25, 6, 2 p.
Appended to both of the above editions of the Code of Commerce
is the text of the Law of Mercantile Procedure, of 1877. This law, as
subsequently amended, remained in force until September 15, 1934,
when it was repealed by a new Code of Civil and Mercantile Procedure.
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE 51
Executive Decree No. 1543, of June 26, 1934, as amended by
Executive Decree No. 1612, of December 17, 1934 (Diario de Centro
America, issues of June 28 and December 18, 1934), is of great im-
portance to share companies, both domestic and foreign, which oper-
ate for profit in Guatemala. This decree sets forth the requisites of
publicity with which such companies must comply; it also prescribes
the taxes which they must pay.
Important also to common carriers, including aviation companies,
is Legislative Decree No. 1827, dated May 10, 1932 (Diario de Centro
Amlrica, issue of May 13, 1932), regulating their liability for injury
to, or death of, passengers and third persons not in contractual
privity. This decree repealed Legislative Decree No. 652, of May 10,
Hereinabove reference has been made to a projected Code of
Obligations and Contracts, which the Guatemalan government has in
course of preparation and which eventually will supersede Book III
of the Civil Code of 1877; and to the circumstance that this projected
Code of Obligations and Contracts will regulate not only civil, but
also mercantile, transactions. Here we may note that, in consequence,
Book II ("Contracts of Commerce"), of the Code of Commerce of
1877, will also be superseded, in due course. Presumably we may also
look forward to the enactment of a new Code of Commerce, in the
near future, in substitution of that of 1877.
No Guatemalan treatise on the commercial law has been published.
In this situation, Guatemalan lawyers rely upon the standard French
and Spanish treatises; also upon the Chilean treatises, to the extent
that they may be available in Guatemala. Mention is made of the
Chilean literature, since the Guatemalan Code of Commerce of 1877
is based primarily upon the Chilean code of 1865 and secondarily
upon the Spanish code of 1829, both of which derive largely from the
French code of 1807.
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE
The Guatemalan courts of justice are now organized, and they
function, mainly pursuant to the Constituent Law of the Judicial
Power, which was enacted initially by Legislative Decree No. 928,
of May 19, 1933 and which subsequently was amended by Legislative
Decree No. 2007, of May 30, 1934. The text of this law may be
consulted in the following compilations:
Ley constitutiva del poder judicial de la Rep6blica de Guate-
mala. Publicaci6n de la Gaceta de los Tribunales. Guatemala,
El Centro Editorial, S.A., 1933. 108 p.
Constituci6n de la Republica de Guatemala. Ley constitutiva
del poder judicial, decreto numero 1928. C6digo civil de la
Rep6blica de Guatemala, Decreto numero 1932. Guatemala, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, julio de 1933. 371 p. (See p. 31-46, for reports of
drafting commissions; and p. 47-113, for text of law.)
C6digo de enjuiciamiento civil y mercantil. Ley de notari-
ado. Reglamento general de tribunales. Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional, noviembre de 1933. xxxix, 360 p. (See p. 223-228.)
In the last of the above three compilations will be found the ex-
ecutive regulations, including the so-called "Internal Regulations,"
which were adopted in 1934 for the administrative side of the activi-
ties of the courts of justice. See also the following supplement to the
Gaceta de los Tribunales:
Reglamento general de tribunales de la Republica de Guate-
mala. Publicaci6n de la Gaceta de los Tribunales. Guatemala,
El Centro Editorial, S.A., 1934. 56, 30 p. (Appended are the
The Constituent Law of the Judicial Power, of 1933, superseded
the Organic Law regulating the Judicial Power, of May 28, 1931
(Legislative Decree No. 1929); and this law in turn repealed the law
of identic title of May 28, 1889 (Executive Decree No. 67).
Hereinabove, we have had occasion to note that the Constituent
Law of the Judicial Power, of 1933, took over from the Civil Code of
1877 the "Preliminary Title" of the latter code, as being the more
appropriate vehicle to carry the fundamental and general rules of
law which comprise the title mentioned.
Hereinabove also, we have referred to the recurso de amparo, as
being a peculiar remedy designed to prevent or to correct violations of
constitutional rights. We may now add that it combines features of the
American writs of certiorari, prohibition and habeas corpus. The
organic law dealing with this remedy appears to be Legislative Decree
No. 1529, of May 18, 1928, known as "Ley de Amparo."
The organization and functions of the so-called "Tribunal de lo
Contencioso-Administrativo," which passes upon litigated matters of
the administrative law, are determined by Legislative Decree No.
1550, of June 5, 1928, known as "Ley de lo Contencioso-Administra-
tivo." A convenient compilation, which carries this law, as well as the
"Ley de Amparo," previously mentioned, and certain related laws,
is found in the following pamphlet:
Leyes de amparo, de responsabilidades, de lo contencioso-
administrativo, y otras varias, recopiladas por Rosendo P.
Mendez. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, octubre de 1928. 150 p.
With respect to procedure in civil causes,-as distinguished from
administrative and criminal causes,-the basic law is now the Code of
Civil and Mercantile Procedure, enacted by Legislative Decree No.
2009, of May 30, 1934. The official edition of this code, which also
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE
carries the reports of the executive and legislative commissions who
intervened in its confection, is entitled as follows:
C6digo de enjuiciamiento civil y mercantil Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional, noviembre de 1934. xxxix, 360 p.
The code of 1934, just mentioned, repealed the Code of Civil
Procedure of 1877. Of the latter code, or of its amendatory legislation,
there have been several editions, as follows:
C6digo de procedimientos de la Rep6blica de Guatemala.
Guatemala, Imprenta de "El Progreso," 1877. vii, 251, 1 p.
Ley de reforms al c6digo de procedimientos civiles. 1882.
(N.p. N.d.) 49 p.
C6digo civil y de procedimientos. Guatemala, Tipografia de
"El Progreso," 1887.
C6digo de procedimientos de la Rep6blica de Guatemala.
Revisado con arreglo a la edici6n official y con las adiciones,
reforms y disposiciones reglamentarias publicadas hasta la fecha.
Guatemala, R. Mufioz y Cia., 1926. viii, 220 p.
C6digo'de procedimientos civiles de la Republica de Guate-
mala. Segunda edici6n con todas las reforms promulgadas hasta
la fecha, corregidas por Octavio Aguilar y Clemente Marroquin
Rojas. Esta edici6n contiene ademas las leyes siguientes: de
abogados, de notariado, de hipoteca, prenda y registro de la pro-
piedad, arancel de abogados, notarios, etc., y la de instituciones
de credito. Guatemala, Uni6n Tipografica, 1930. 290 p.
The nearest approach to a treatise, by a Guatemalan jurist, on
the civil procedure of Guatemala, is the following manual for law-
Prontuario de los procedimientos judiciales, formado por el
lic. don Ricardo C. Castafieda. Guatemala, Imprenta "Casa
Colorada"-Marroquin Hnos., 1922. 118, iv p.
In the lack of an adequate Guatemalan treatise on civil procedure,
presumably Guatemalan lawyers rely upon the standard Spanish
works, since the Guatemalan codes have been patterned largely upon
the Spanish codes.
Although it is now obsolete, we may refer in passing to a sketch,
in English and in Spanish, of Guatemalan procedure in mercantile
causes, which was furnished by Azpuru and Mencos for the British
edition of Commercial Laws of the World (vol. IX, London 1911).
The admission of lawyers to practice, their rights and their obli-
gations, are regulated chiefly by the Constituent Law of the Judicial
Power (Legislative Decree No. 1928, dated May 19, 1933), arts.
197-202. As to fees which lawyers may charge, see Executive Decree
No. 1406, of June 28, 1933, entitled "Tariffs of Lawyers, Notaries,
Procurators, Experts and Depositaries." This decree repealed Legis-
lative Decree No. 1327, dated June 17, 1924, whose text may be
consulted in the following compilation:
Leyes y aranceles de abogados, notarios, procuradores, ex-
pertos y depositarios, recopiladas por Rosendo P. Mendez. Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, julio de 1929. 72 p.
In passing we note that on November 9, 1935, there was issued
Executive Decree No. 1755 (Diario de Centro Amirica, of even date).
This is the.current moratory law; it repeals a series of legislative and
executive decrees on the same topic which began with Legislative
Decree No. 1809, of April 22, 1932. See Article 22 of the decree first
NOTARIAL LAW AND PRACTICE
The office and functions of the notary public, as well as the fees
which he may charge, are now regulated by the Notarial Law of
October 8, 1935 (Executive Decree No. 1744, published in the
Diario de Centro Amirica, issue of October 10, 1935). This law repealed
expressly the Notarial Law of August 20, 1934 (Executive Decree
No. 1563); also tacitly, "Paragraph III" of the Tariffs of Lawyers,
Notaries, etc. (Executive Decree No. 1406, of June 28, 1933), which
paragraph prescribed the fees that notaries might charge.
Guatemalan notaries and lawyers are fortunate in having at their
disposal an excellent treatise on notarial practice, whose value is
augmented by a series of forms, reproduced in facsimile, of usual acts
and contracts. We refer to the following work, which has gone through
four editions since 1900:
Gir6n (J. Eduardo). El notario practice o tratado de notaria.
Cuarta edici6n aumentada y corregida de conformidad con
nuestras leyes vigentes por J. Eduardo Gir6n y Ziri6n. Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, noviembre 1932. 581, 1 p.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
Merely as an item of historical interest, we note that in 1836
Guatemala enacted as its Penal Code the draft of like code for the
State of Louisiana which Edward Livingston had published in New
Orleans, in 1824. This code of 1836,-together with a Law of Civil
and Criminal Procedure enacted in 1830,-was published in a com-
pilation whose title we take from the Catdlogo de la Biblioteca Nacional
Sistema de legislaci6n penal decretado por la Asamblea y
sancionado por el Consejo del Estado de Guatemala. Comprende
el c6digo penal, el de procedimientos, el de pruebas, el de reform
y discipline de circeles y un libro de definiciones. Guatemala, Im-
prenta de la Academia de Estudios, 1836.
The code and law just mentioned were repealed by a law of March
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
13, 1838. See Pineda de Mont, Recopilaci6n de Leyes, vol. II, p. 46,
and vol. III, p. 379-380; also Gonzalez Saravia, Derecho Patrio,
vol. I, p. 106.
In 1877, contemporaneously with a Civil Code and a Code of Civil
Procedure, President Barrios decreed a new Penal Code and a new
Code of Criminal Procedure (Decree of July 4, 1877, effective
September 15 following). These two laws were published in an official
edition whose title page reads:
C6digo penal de la Rep6blica de Guatemala. 1877. [Guate-
mala] Tipografia "El Progreso" . 142, 1 p.
In the lack of an explanatory report from the draftsmen, we may
cite Gonzalez Saravia (op. cit., vol. I, p. 107) for the statement that
this Penal Code was based on the Spanish code of 1850, as amended
in 1870 and 1876.
A revision of the Penal Code of 1877 resulted in the Penal Code of
1889 (Legislative Decree No. 48 of May 1, 1889), of which there
exist three editions, all official:
C6digo penal de la Repiblica de Guatemala. Guatemala,
Establecimiento Tipografico, 1889. (Prefaced by Report of Codi-
C6digo penal de la Republica de Guatemala emitido en 1889.
(Publicaci6n de la Secretaria de Gobernaci6n y Justicia.) Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, 1914. 126 p.
C6digo penal de la Republica de Guatemala emitido en 1889,
con inclusion en el texto de las reforms de que ha sido objeto.
(Publicaci6n de la Gaceta de los Tribunales.) Guatemala, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1932. 117 p.
The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1877, above mentioned, was
replaced, in 1898, by a new code (Executive Decree No. 551 of Janu-
ary 7, 1898), of which there exist three editions, all official:
C6digo de procedimientos penales. Guatemala, Tipografia
National, 1898. 111, 1 p.
C6digo de procedimientos penales de la Republica de Guate-
mala emitido en 1898. (Publicaci6n de la Secretaria de Goberna-
ci6n y Justicia.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1914. 145 p.
C6digo de procedimientos penales de la Republica de Guate-
mala, emitido en 1898, con inclusion en el texto de las posteriores
reforms de que ha sido objeto y ap6ndice conteniendo las leyes
que se relacionan con este c6digo. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacio-
nal, agosto de 1933. 180 p.
The following treatise on penal law, by a Guatemalan jurist, is
worthy of special mention:
Zecefia (Oscar). Derecho penal. Quetzaltenango, 1933. Uni6n
Tipografica, Muiioz Plaza y Cia., Guatemala. 459 p.
Reference may also be made to several Guatemalan publications
dealing with divers aspects of criminal law and procedure:
Aguilar (Octavio). Elementos de investigaci6n judicial. Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, 1928.
Molina (Miguel F.). Estudio medico-legal. Guatemala, 1928.
Mora (Carlos Federico). Manual de medicine forense. Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, 1931.
Palma (J. J.). De la responsabilidad penal de los alienados
mentales. Guatemala, Tipografia Sanchez & de Guise, 1929.
Guatemala is governed, at the present time, by a constitution
which was originally promulgated in 1879 but subsequently has been
amended on frequent occasions, the last of which was in July 1935.
Numerous editions of this constitution, reflecting the successive
amendments, have been published by the Guatemalan Government;
the latest edition is entitled:
Constituci6n de la Republica de Guatemala decretada por la
Asamblea Nacional Constituyente en 11 de diciembre de 1879 y
reformada por el mismo alto cuerpo en 5 de noviembre de 1887, 30
de agosto de 1897, 20 de diciembre de 1927 y 11 de julio de 1935.
(Secretaria de Gobernaci6n y Justicia.) Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional, octubre de 1935. 167, 1 p.
The proceedings of the constitutional conventions of 1879, 1927
and 1935 have been recorded, respectively, in the three publications
Diario de las sesiones de la Asamblea Constituyente de 1879.
Reimpreso por acuerdo de la Comisi6n de Regimen Interior de la
Asamblea Constituyente de 1927 en observancia de la Asamblea
Legislative de 1925 Preimbulo del ex-representante Rafael
Montufar. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, septiembre de 1927.
189, 1 p.
Diario de las sesiones de la Asamblea Constituyente de la
Rep6blica de Guatemala, celebrada el 15 de julio de 1927. Tomo
I. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1927.
Reforma constitutional de 1935. Antecedentes. Texto taqui-
grifico de los debates sostenidos en la Comisi6n de la Constituyente
que abri6 dictamen sobre la material. Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional, enero de 1936. 600 p.
No professional treatise exists dealing with the constitutional law
of Guatemala, beyond the incidental treatment found in the three
works by Antonio Gonzalez Saravia mentioned under the caption of
"Administrative Law," infra. In this situation we may refer to several
recent manuals, designed for scholastic or popular use:
Saravia (Salvador A.). Manual del ciudadano. Guatemala,
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW 57
Soto Hall (Miximo). Instrucci6n moral y civica. Nueva edi-
ci6n. Guatemala, Goubaud y Cia., Ltda., 1917. 218 p.
Espinosa Altamirano (Horacio). El libro del ciudadano.
Doctrinas juridicas contemporAneas. Guatemala, Tipografia
Trabanino (Mariano). Elementos de instrucci6n civica. Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, julio de 1931. 95 p.
Foreign lawyers will find to be instructive and authoritative, in the
field of administrative law, up to their respective dates, three treatises
by Antonio GonzAlez Saravia:
Lecciones de derecho administrative. Guatemala, Tipografia
"El Progreso," 1882. 5, 382 p.
La administraci6n piblica o curso de derecho administrative.
Guatemala, Establecimiento Tipografico de "La Uni6n," 1888.
Derecho patrio. 2 vols. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional,
We have not examined the first of these three treatises; but we note
that the usefulness of the last two is enhanced by the fact that they
carry the texts of many of the laws, decrees and regulations which are
or have been fundamental to the Guatemalan administrative system.
Thus, in Derecho Patrio (vol. I, p. 44 et seq.) will be found Executive
Decree No. 244 of October 7, 1879, entitled "Organic Law of Political
Government of the Departments"; and Executive Decree No. 242
of September 30, 1879, entitled "Organic Municipal Law." These two
decrees, as subsequently amended, furnished the framework for the
government of the departments and municipalities of Guatemala,
until 1935. By Executive Decree No. 1702, of August 9, 1935 (Diario
de Centro Am1rica, issue of August 10, 1935) there was enacted a new
Municipal Law, replacing that of 1879.
In passing, we note that the subject of municipalities has been
treated in a professional thesis by Francisco Sarti, Municipios
(Guatemala, Tipografia SAnchez & de Guise, 1928).
The modern fiscal system of Guatemala was initiated by the Fiscal
Code of 1881, officially published with the report of the drafting
commission under the following title:
C6digo fiscal de la Republica de Guatemala. 1881. Guatemala,
Establecimiento Tipografico "El Progreso" . xli, 2, 389 p.
As a result of frequent and substantial amendments, little now re-
mains of the original Fiscal Code. The text of this code, as amended
to the end of 1926, together with the interpolated texts of new laws,
decrees and regulations relative to taxation, money, banking, etc.,
will be found in the following compilation:
" 6 GUATEMALA
Prado (Jose Luis). Leyes y reglamentos de hacienda, 1926.
Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1927. 602, 1 p.
Later amendments to the Fiscal Code, as well as new legislation
on related topics, should be sought in the issues of the official gazette.
They may also be consulted in the Boletin de la Secretaria de Gobierno
en el ramo de Hacienda, which began publication in January 1928 and
subsequently has appeared at irregular intervals.
The principal taxes, of an internal character, appear to have been
consolidated initially by Executive Decree No. 494, of February 26,
1894, published officially in a pamphlet entitled:
Ley de contribuciones de la Rep6blica de Guatemala. (Secre-
taria de Hacienda y Credito Publico.) Guatemala, Tipografia
y Encuadernaci6n Nacional, 1894. 48 p.
This executive decree of 1894 was superseded by Legislative
Decree No. 1153, of June 27, 1921, which has been published in suc-
cessive pamphlet editions. It will suffice to refer to the latest edition:
Ley de contribuciones y reglamento para la administraci6n
de la renta de papel sellado y timbres. Guatemala, Tipografia
National, enero de 1930. 107 p. (Includes amendments and
In this connection, we may note two additional pamphlets:
Decreto numero 1389. Reglamento del impuesto de papel
sellado y timbres. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1933. 23 p.
Gracias (Albino). Manual de la ley de papel sellado y timbres.
Guatemala, Tip. Amos & Anderson, Sue., 1933.
The monetary and banking legislation of Guatemala has been
compiled recently, in the following pamphlet:
Decretos legislativos numeros 1379 y 1406 con sus reforms.
Ley monetaria y de conversion. Ley de instituciones de credito.
Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, diciembre de 1931. 112 p.
The treatise by John Parke Young, Central American Currency
and Finance (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1925) continues
to be the standard and most modern discussion of Guatemalan mone-
tary and banking policy. For the pertinent Guatemalan literature, see
the bibliography appended to this treatise, at p. 251-252.
The organization and procedure of the Guatemalan customs are
governed at the present time by Legislative Decree No. 2064 of
April 16, 1935, published under the title of "Customs Code" in the
Diario de Centro Amirica, issues of April 22, 23 and 24, 1935. The
current customs tariff was provided by Legislative Decree No. 1588
of May 30, 1929, published in El Guatemalteco of June 21, 1929.
Amendments to the Customs Code and to the Customs Tariff may be
traced in the Boletin de Aduanas, a monthly publication initiated in
January 1930 by the Director General of the Customs.
Mining of minerals, other than the hydrocarbons, is now regulated
by Legislative Decree No. 1403, dated June 19, 1933 and entitled
"Mining Law"; mining of the hydrocarbons, by Legislative Decree
No. 1404, dated the same day and entitled "Law of Hydrocarbons."
In the lack of pamphlet editions, we note that these two laws were
published in the Diario de Centro America, issue of June 22, 1933. The
two laws just cited repealed Legislative Decree No. 1828, of May 11,
1932 (Diario de Centro Amirica, issue of May 14, 1932), whereby the
Legislature sought to consolidate the rules for mining in general and
those for the exploitation of deposits of the hydrocarbons.
Legislative Decree No. 1828 of 1932, just cited, in turn had re-
pealed the Mining Code of 1908 (Executive Decree No. 686 of June
30, 1908). This code went through the following editions:
C6digo de mineria de la Republica de Guatemala. 1908. Guate-
mala, Tipografia Nacional, 1908. 55 p.
Mining code of the Republic of Guatemala. 1908. Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional . 32 p.
C6digo de mineria de la Reptblica de Guatemala. Guatemala,
Imprenta Nacional "La Instrucci6n," 1921. 84 p.
Legislative Decree No. 1828 of 1932 also repealed the Law of
Hydrocarbons of 1922 (Legislative Decree No. 1214, of June 3, 1922)
and its Regulations, dated December 31, 1924, of which the following
pamphlet edition had been published:
Decreto legislative no. 1214. Ley y reglamento de hidro-
carburos. (Secretaria de Fomento.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacio-
nal, 1925. 71 p.
Patents of invention are governed by Executive Decree No. 550,
of December 17, 1897. There exists the following pamphlet edition:
Decreto no. 550. Ley sobre patentes de invenci6n. Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional, 1898.
Trade-marks and trade names are governed by certain domestic
laws and regulations, including Executive Decree No. 882, of
December 31,1924 (approved by Legislative Decree No. 2079, ofApril
30, 1935) and Regulations dated January 8, 1925 and December 18,
1929; also by certain conventions and treaties. This legislation,
municipal and international, has been compiled in a recent pamphlet,
which supersedes earlier compilations:
Decreto numero 882. Ley de marcas, nombres y avisos comer-
ciales, reglamento de la misma y clasificaci6n de articulos, con in-
clusi6n del decreto legislative 1411 y convenciones en vigor sobre
la material. Recopilaci6n por el official mayor, Br. CUsar G. Solis.
(Administraci6n Jorge Ubico. Publicaciones de la Secretaria de
Fomento.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, septiembre de 1935.
A Code of Electric Communications was enacted by Legislative
Decree No. 2080, of May 5, 1935. This decree, which was published
in the Diario de Centro Amirica, issues of July 3, 4 and 5, 1935, has
not appeared as yet in pamphlet edition. The code embraces the im-
portant topics of the telegraph, telephone and cable lines and also
wireless and radio stations.
Laws, regulations, contracts, etc., relative to agriculture have been
Recopilaci6n de leyes correspondientes al ramo de agriculture,
compiladas por Arturo Ibarra, official mayor de la Secretaria de
Agriculture. Guatemala, Tipograffa Nacional, septiembre de 1933.
In recent years, both the legislative and the executive branches of
the Guatemalan government have been active in the field of adminis-
trative law. Their activities are reflected in the following publica-
tions, in addition to those noted hereinabove:
Ordenanza de policia national de la Republica de Guatemala.
Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1929. 42 p.
Ley reglamentaria de ingenieros topogrificos y acuerdo respec-
tivo. Tablas,' datos y formulas tiles. Guatemala, Tipografia
Decreto legislative no. 1364 y reglamento para el otorgamiento
de concesiones sobre explotaci6n de bosques nacionales. Ley
forestal de la Republica de Guatemala. Guatemala, Tip. Sanchez
& de Guise, 1928. 24 p.
Ley de trabajadores y disposiciones legales que regulan el
trabajo del campo en Guatemala. (Ministerio de Agricultura.)
Guatemala, Imprenta Electra-G. M. Staebler, 1928. 32 p.
Ley organica de educaci6n public de la Rep6blica de Guate-
mala, decretada por la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa en 11 de
mayo de 1929. (Secretaria de Educaci6n P6blica.) Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional, 1929. 31 p.
Ley orginica del servicio de salubridad de la Republica de
Guatemala emitida por la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa en
decreto no. 1607 de 31 de mayo de 1929. Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional, julio de 1929. 28 p.
Ley de trabajadores y sus reforms, ley protectora de em-
pleados particulares, ley protectora de obreros, ley del trabajo, ley
de accidents, ley forestal y otras varias. Recopiladas por Rosendo
P. Mendez. (Ministerio de Gobernaci6n y Justicia.) Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional, octubre de 1929. 156 p.*
The Ley Protectora de Obreros (Executive Decree No. 669 of November
21, 1906), which is reprinted in this pamphlet, constitutes the Guatemalan
Workmen's Compensation Law. An English translation of it will be found in
Bulletin No. 529 of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor
(Washington, Government Printing Office, 1930).
MILITARY LAW OI
Leyes de saneamiento, salubridad, higiene y vacuna. Recopi-
ladas por Rosendo P. Mendez. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional,
Decreto numero 1661. Ley para la importaci6n, desalmacenaje,
venta y uso de armas. Guatemala [Tipografia Nacional], 1930. 16 p.
Leyes que rigen el estanco de los f6sforos. (Ministerio de
Hacienda y Credito Publico.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional,
septiembre de 1930. 36 p.
Reglamentos de juegos de suerte, evite, azar, loterias, rifas y
otros similares; de especticulos publicos y sus impuestos. Recopi-
lados por Rosendo P. Mendez. (Secretaria de Gobernaci6n y
Justicia.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, enero de 1931. 48 p.
Leyes de probidad, de cedula de vecindad, orginica y regla-
mentaria de tribunales, y de reforms ultimas a los c6digos penal,
de procedimientos penales, civil y de procedimientos civiles.
Recopiladas por Rosendo P. M6ndez. (Secretaria de Gobernaci6n
y Justicia.) Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, octubre de 1931.
Decreto numero 2135. Ley que reglamenta la pisicultura y la
pesca. (Publicaciones de la Secretaria de Gobernaci6n y Justicia.)
Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, febrero de 1932. 23 p.
Decreto numero 1389. Reglamento del impuesto de papel
sellado y timbres. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, abril de 1933.
The military legislation of Guatemala is found, at the present
time, mainly in Executive Decree No. 214 of August 1, 1878, known
as "Military Penal Code and Code of Military Penal Procedure"; in
Executive Decree No. 538 of November 3, 1897, called "Military
Ordinance of the Army," save as modified by the "Regulations for the
Service of the Army in Time of Peace," of April 29, 1935; and in
Executive Decree No. 1729 of September 24, 1935, called "Constituent
Law of the Army."
The above Military Code of 1878 was originally published in that
year; a second edition was published in 1898; and a new edition,
reflecting amendments, appeared in 1930.
The above Military Ordinance of 1897 has been published sepa-
rately under the following title:
Ordenanza military para el regimen, discipline, subordinaci6n
y servicio del ejercito. Guatemala, Tipografia Nacional, 1927.
Presumably a new edition may be expected, reflecting the above
Regulations of 1935.
The laws of war have received treatment by a Guatemalan jurist in
the following work:
Montufar (Lorenzo). Nociones de derecho de gentes y leyes de
guerra para los ejercitos centroamericanos. Guatemala, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1893.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
The treaties to which Guatemala has been a party and which were
in force about May 1870 were compiled by Pineda de Mont in his
Recopilacidn de Leyes, book III of volume I (p. 294-460).
Next in point of time is the compilation which is reflected in the
following three volumes (the last two serving to supplement the first):
Colecci6n de tratados de Guatemala formada por el Dr. D.
Ram6n A. Salazar. Guatemala, Tipografia y Encuadernaci6n
"Nacional," 1892. 3, 624 p.
Colecci6n de tratados de Guatemala compilados por el
Licenciado Federico S. de Tejeda. Tomo II. Guatemala, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1912. 512 p.
Colecci6n de tratados de Guatemala compilados por el
Abogado Federico S. de Tejeda. Tomo III. Guatemala, Tip.
"Casa Colorada" de Marroquin Hnos., 1919. 478, v p.
Finally, a selection of important treaties, to which Guatemala was
a party and which were in force at the end of November, 1927, are
printed in the compilation by Dr. Rosendo P. M6ndez, entitled
Leyes Vigentes (p. 346-431), cited under the caption, "Legislation,"
Guatemalan treaties may also be followed through the current
volumes of the compiled laws, the issues of the official gazette, the
annual Memorias of the Secretariat of Foreign Relations and the
following periodicals published by the Secretariat mentioned:
Boletin de la Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. October
1912-June 1917 (15 issues).
Boletin de la Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. Segunda
6poca. January 1928-?
Special attention is drawn to the compilation next described, since
it includes not only the texts of all Guatemalan laws and regulations
relating directly or indirectly to immigration and to the condition of
foreigners but also those pertinent to the diplomatic and consular
services; and since it supersedes earlier compilations within its field:
Leyes de inmigraci6n y extranjeria recopiladas por Rosendo P.
Mendez. (Secretaria de Gobernaci6n y Justicia.) Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional, febrero de 1931. 176 p.
On public international law we have references to two treatises of
general scope, by Guatemalan jurists: the first being that by Monti-
far, cited under our caption of "Military Law," supra; and the second,
by Jose Flores y Flores, entitled Extracto de Derecho Internacional
(Guatemala, Tip. Nacional, 1902). Here also we note two studies by
the Guatemalan jurist, Jose Matos: "Le Statut International du
Guat6mala," in Acad6mie Diplomatique International, Siances et
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
Travaux, 1929, no. 1, p. 32-39; "L'Am6rique et la Societe des
Nations," in Academie de Droit International, Recueil des Cours,
vol. XXVIII (1930), p. 1-104.
On private international law we have a comprehensive and recent
treatise by the Guatemalan jurist just mentioned:
Matos (Jos6). Curso de derecho international privado. Guate-
mala, Talleres SAnchez & de Guise, 1922. 568 p.
Supplementing this work, we note the monograph on "Droit Inter-
national Priv6 du Guatemala," contributed by Dr. Matos to Riper-
toire de Droit International, vol. VIII (Paris, 1930), p. 547-552; and a
monograph written by a Venezuelan diplomat:
Planas SuArez (Sim6n). Condici6n legal de los extranjeros en
Guatemala. Madrid, Editorial Reus, 1919. 62 p.
The Guatemalan law of nationality and naturalization has been
treated briefly by a French jurist, E. P. Thebault, under the title
"Nationalite au Guatemala," in Ripertoire de Droit International, vol.
IX (Paris, 1931), p. 655-658.
Guatemala is a party to, and has ratified (without reservations),
the Code of Private International Law, adopted at Havana in 1928 by
the Sixth International Conference of American States. Two editions,
in pamphlet form, have been published by the Guatemalan Govern-
Convenci6n subscrita por los plenipotenciarios de Guatemala,
en La Habana, Cuba, el 13 de febrero de 1928, mediante la cual se
adopta un c6digo de derecho international privado. Guatemala,
Tipografia Nacional, noviembre de 1930. 52 p.
C6digo de derecho international privado. Convenci6n sub-
scrita por los plenipotenciarios de Guatemala, en La Habana,
Cuba, el 13 de febrero de 1928, mediante la cual se adopta un
c6digo de derecho international privado. Guatemala, Tipografia
Nacional, 1932. 87 p. (Supplement to Gaceta de los Tribunales,
issue of February, 1932.)
Catalogue, Bibliotheque du Comite de Legislation Etrangere
(Paris, 1889), p. 493.-Supplement de 1902 (Paris, 1903), p. 434.
Catalogue de la Bibliotheque, Societe de Legislation Compar6e
(2nd ed.; Paris, 1899), p. 181.
Repertoire gen'rale alphabetique du droit frangais (Fuzier-
Herman), vol. XXIV (Paris, 1900), s.v. "Honduras."
Velasquez (Jesis) and Eder (Phanor J.). "Honduras," in
"Notes on the legal bibliography of Latin America." 2 American
Bar Association Journal (1916), 338-346.
Trejo Castillo (Alfredo). "Bibliography," in Rechtsvergleichendes
Handwirterbuch (Schlegelberger), vol. I (Berlin, 1929), p. 731.
Catilogo de la Biblioteca Nacional (Guatemala, 1922), p.
The Velasquez-Eder bibliography, above listed, appears very
nearly to exhaust the legal literature of Honduras, extant at its date.
Since 1830, but with several lapses during periods of disturbance,
the Honduran government has published an official gazette. The title
of this periodical has varied; but since 1876 it has been La Gaceta:
Periddico Oficial. (See editorial in said gazette, issue of May 26, 1930;
also Serial Publications of Foreign Governments, p. 332.) The official
gazette is the primary tool of Honduran lawyers for years for which
the laws have not been compiled.
The "session laws," including those enacted both by the Constitu-
ent Assemblies of 1924 and 1936 and by the Congress in its sessions
of 1924-1936, have been compiled annually since the year first men-
tioned; prior thereto, only for 1885 and for 1896-1903. The series of
volumes, totalling fourteen, which reflect legislation during the years
1924-1936, may be described as follows:
Decretos de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente y del Con-
greso Nacional Legislativo. 1924. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacio-
Decretos del Congreso Nacional Legislativo. 1925-1927. 3 vols.
Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional 1925-.
Decretos emitidos por el Congreso Nacional. 1928-1929. 2 vols.
Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional [1928-1929].
Decretos del Congreso Nacional. 1930-1932. 3 vols. Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional -1932.
Decretos del Congreso Nacional. 1933-1936. 4 vols. Teguci-
galpa, Talleres Tipogr6ficos Nacionales -1936.
Decretos de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente. 1936.
Tegucigalpa, Talleres Tipograficos Nacionales, 1936.
The laws enacted by the Constituent Assemblies of 1924 and 1936,
above mentioned,-as well as those enacted in 1894-1895 and 1906
by the Constituent Assemblies sitting in these years,-were chiefly
organic laws designed to implement the respective constitutions of
1894, 1904, 1924 and 1936. The Constituent Assembly which sat in
1908 revived the constitution of 1894; it also revived, with amend-
ment in some cases, the organic laws which had been decreed by the
Constituent Assembly which sat in 1894-1895. The texts of these four
sets of organic laws, as well as the proceedings of the respective Con-
stituent Assemblies, are found in the following official periodicals:
Diario de las Sesiones. Nos. 1-100. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia
Nacional, July-November 1894. (Volume incomplete.)
Boletin de la Asamblea Constituyente. Nos. 1-60. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, June 1904-May 1906.
Diario de las Sesiones. Nos. 1-24. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia
Nacional, January-April 1908.
Boletin de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente. Nos. 1-30.
Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, August-November 1924.
Boletin de la Asamblea. Nos. 1-. Tegucigalpa, Talleres Tipo-
graficos Nacionales, March 1936- (In course of publication.)
The proceedings of the ordinary legislature (Congress), in both
regular and special sessions, for the years 1896-1936 (excepting periods
during which a Constituent Assembly was sitting), are reflected in the
following official periodical:
Boletin legislative. 38 vols. Tegucigalpa, 1896-1904, 1907-
1923, 1925-1936. (Volumes for 1896-1904, 1907-1923 and 1925-
1931 printed at Tipografia Nacional; for 1932, at Tipo-Lito-Foto-
grabado y Encuadernaci6n Nacionales; for 1933-1936, at Talleres
This periodical is important, since it furnishes the legislative history
of laws enacted by the Congress; it is also convenient, since it pub-
lishes the texts of laws, as signed and promulgated by the Executive
Power, thus providing another repository of legislation, in addition
to the files of the official gazette and the volumes of "session laws."
Thus far, only two compilations of Honduran laws of general
application have been published, useful in their day but now obsolete:
Colecci6n de las leyes generals de la Republica de Honduras,
de algunas particulares y de su constituci6n. Recopiladas por
Manuel Fleury. Trujillo, 1870.
Colecci6n de leyes importantes de la Rep6blica. Tegucigalpa,
COURT REPORTS AND DIGESTS
By Decree No. 35, of January 18, 1935, the Honduran Congress
directed the Executive Power, as soon as possible, to publish four
volumes whose manuscripts had been prepared in 1934 by the Perma-
nent Commission of the Congress: volume I to comprise amendments
to the codes and to certain organic laws; volumes II and III, important
laws enacted in recent years; and volume IV, regulations issued by the
Executive Power in order to implement this legislation.* See Decretos
del Congreso Nacional, 1935, p. 24-29, for the text of this decree which
provides, it may be added, a convenient index-guide to the Honduran
In this connection, VelAsquez and Eder, in their "Honduras
Bibliography" (cited under our caption, "Bibliography," supra),
have noted that important laws, dating from 1824 to 1889, have been
reprinted in the Honduran Revista de la Universidad, vols. I-III.
With respect to fiscal matters and other administrative topics,
there are available two compilations of laws and decrees which are
still of practical value; they are mentioned below, under the caption of
It should be borne in mind that the Honduran Congress has been
active during the past ten years or more; and that it has amended
much of the older legislation and also enacted new laws in substitution
of those repealed. In consequence, reliance should not be placed upon
the published compilations of laws mentioned hereinabove or upon
the older laws issued in pamphlet editions, until the compiled laws for
the years 1924-1935 and, thereafter, the issues of the Boletin Legisla-
tivo and of La Gaceta, have been scanned for amendments, repeals
and new legislation.
COURT REPORTS AND DIGESTS
For the years 1881-1923 but with some gaps, the decisions of the
Supreme Court of Honduras have been published officially at Teguci-
galpa, and under the imprint of the Tipografia Nacional, in the fol-
Gaceta de los Tribunales. March 1881-August 1882.
Revista Judicial. 2 vols. September 1889-October 1891.
Gaceta Judicial. Nos. 1-445. September 1895-March 1904.
Revista Judicial. Nos. 1-69. 3 vols. April 1904-March 1907.
Gaceta Judicial (segunda serie). Nos. 446-1109. July 1907-
By Decree No. 233, of April 10, 1930 (Decretos del Congreso Nacional,
1930, p. 202) the Congress authorized the Executive Power to purchase from
Dr. CUsar Bustamante the manuscript of his "Synoptic Compilation" of
legislative and executive decrees covering the years 1903-1928, on condition
that the compiler complete the work through 1929 and correct the proofs of
an official edition. Apparently the Executive Power has not acted upon this
August 1923. (Publication suspended in month and year last
For the case-law reflected in the above periodicals, there exist two
digests, the latter of which supersedes the former:
Membreiio (Alberto). Repertorio alfabetico. [1881-1892.]
Tegucigalpa, Tipograffa Nacional, 1892.
Quesada (Presentaci6n). Repertorio alfabetico de la juris-
prudencia de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, desde 1881 hasta 1912.
Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1918. 371, 1 p.
Here we may refer to the excellent summary of the public and
private laws of Honduras furnished by Dr. Antonio C. Rivera, of the
Tegucigalpa Bar, for The Lawyers Directory: 1936, p. 1664-1678.
Also useful is the digest, under an alphabetic order of subjects, supplied
by Messrs. Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, of the New York
Bar, for the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory: 1936, vol. II, s.v.
"Honduras." Those who read German may consult the article on
"Honduras" by Dr. Alfredo Trejo Castillo, of the Tegucigalpa Bar, in
Rechtsvergleichendes Handwirterbuch, vol. I (Berlin, 1929), p. 726-731.
In the Spanish publication next noted will be found the constitu-
tion and codes which were in force in Honduras in 1902, as well as the
organic laws adopted by the Constituent Assembly of 1894:
Colecci6n de las instituciones political y juridicas de los
pueblos modernos, dirigida por el Dr. Alejo Moreno. Segunda
serie: estados americanos. Tomo I. Rep6blicas de Honduras y
Dominicana. Madrid, Revista de Legislaci6n Universal, 1902.
Here also should be mentioned two non-official periodicals, both
published at Tegucigalpa:
Revista de la Universidad [Central]. 13 vols. January 1909-
El Foro Hondurefio. February 1-March 15, 1912 (four nos.);
September 1916-March 1917; January-April 1918; November
1931-December 1932 (five nos.). (Publication suspended; latterly
edited by Dr. Antonio C. Rivera.)
The periodical first described is important, not only because it
carries laws enacted from 1824-1889 (as intimated hereinabove) but
also by reason of its reprint of legal monographs (as indicated here-
In view of the material of a juridic character contained, we also
mention the collected edition of the writings of a distinguished jurist
and former President of Honduras:
Bonilla (Policarpo). Colecci6n de escritos. Recopilados y
ordenados por R6mulo E. Dur6n. 3 vols. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia
No history of Honduran law has been published. Historical data as
to the civil and commercial law will be found in the article prepared by
Dr. Alfredo Trejo Castillo for the German encyclopedia already
mentioned ("Bibliography" and "General Works," supra). A brief
sketch of the history of the commercial law, through the year 1906,
was furnished by Dr. Pedro Bustillo for the Honduran section of
Lois Commerciales de I'Univers, vol. XIII (Paris, 1913). Data as to
constitutional history will be found in compilations of the constitu-
tions of Honduras, listed hereinafter ("Constitutional Law," infra);
also in the compilations of constitutions to which reference is'made in
Section I of the present compilation.
The civil law of Honduras is found, at the present time, in the
Civil Code which was decreed by the Executive Power on February 8,
1906, acting under delegation of legislative authority granted by a
Constituent Assembly. This code is based fundamentally on the
Chilean code of 1855 but contains substantial excerpts from the Span-
ish code of 1888; its Chilean content was derived from the Honduran
code of 1898, which was in turn a revision of the first Honduran code
The text of the Civil Code of 1880, also the report of the Codifying
Commission which drafted it, will be found in the following official
C6digo civil de la Repiblica de Honduras. 1880. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1880. 445, 1 p.
The text of the Civil Code of 1898, also the report thereon of the
Supreme Court of Justice, are reflected in the following official edition:
Republica de Honduras. C6digo civil. 1898. Tegucigalpa, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1898. xxxvii, 422 p.
We may add the following reference to an index of the Civil Code
Quesada (Presentaci6n). Guia alfabetica del c6digo civil de
1898. Tegucigalpa, 1904.
In passing we note that the Civil Code of 1898 was criticized in a
work which may still be useful, to the extent that the provisions of
this code passed over into that of 1906:
VAsquez (Mariano). Impugnaci6n al c6digo civil de 1898.
Colecci6n de articulos publicados en el "Diario de Honduras."
Tegucigalpa, Tipo-Litografia y Fotograbado Nacionales, 1915.
282, 4 p.
The text of the Civil Code of 1906 and the report of the committee
which drafted it, as well as the other codes of that year, are reflected
respectively in the following two publications:
Rep6blica de Honduras. C6digo civil. 1906. Tegucigalpa, Tipo-
grafia Nacional . 3, 347, 1 p.
Informe de la Comisi6n General de Legislaci6n. 1906. Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional . 33 p. (See p. 4-16.)
No treatise has been published which covers the entire field of the
civil law as it has stood following the enactment of the Civil Code of
1906. But several works on special topics have been published. Thus,
the Preliminary Title and first five titles of Book I (Of Persons) have
been treated by Dr. Rafael Alvarado Manzano in a series of ten lessons
which appeared in the Revista de la Universidad, volume I (Teguci-
galpa, 1909). Dr. Presentaci6n Quesada has in preparation a treatise
entitled Comentarios al Cddigo Civil Hondureno, of which two volumes,
covering the Preliminary Title and first two titles of Book I (Of
Persons), have been published (Tegucigalpa, Tipo-Litografia y
Fotograbado Nacionales, 1924-1928). Dr. Quesada's commentaries
on usufruct (Title VIII of Book II, Of Properties, etc.) have been
published in the Revista de la Universidad, volumes I-II (Teguci-
The first volume of an important treatise on Book IV (Of Obliga-
tions and Contracts),-announced to consist of three volumes,-
Mejia Moreno (Luis). Practica del derecho civil hondurefio.
Tomo I. Obligaciones y contratos (Articulos 1346 al 1604). Tegu-
cigalpa, Talleres Tipograficos Nacionales, 1934. 308 p.
In passing we note that one aspect of quasi-contract (Title XIV of
Book IV), has been discussed in a professional thesis:
Alvarado Garcia (Ernesto). Deben suprimirse los cuasi-
contratos como fuentes de obligaciones? Comayagiiela, Ariston,
Talleres Litogrificos, 1931. 53 p.
The Ordinances of Bilbao and the Spanish legislation suppletory
thereto, which was in force in 1824, continued to govern commerce in
Honduras until January 1, 1881. On this latter date took effect a Code
of Commerce which had been decreed by the executive power under
date of August 27, 1880. The new Honduran code was based on the
Spanish code of 1829; of it there exists an official edition:
C6digo de comercio de la Republica de Honduras. 1880.
Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1880. 264, 1 p.
On September 15, 1898, the Honduran Code of Commerce of 1880
was replaced by a new code, decreed by the executive power under
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE
delegation of legislative power. This code of 1898 is still in force; it is
based chiefly on the Spanish code of 1885, with some borrowings from
the Guatemalan code of 1877, as has been explained by its draftsmen.
Their report, together with that of the Supreme Court, has been
published in an official edition of the code:
Estado de Honduras. C6digo de comercio. 1898. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1898. xii, 234, 1 p.
In the lack of a Honduran treatise on commercial law, presumably
lawyers in Honduras rely on Spanish and French works.
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE
The earliest judiciary law of Honduras, to which we have a refer-
ence, is that of 1880, repealed by a law of 1895, which in turn gave
place to a law of 1897. The present law is that of 1906, of which there
exists the following official edition:
Repiblica de Honduras. Ley de organizaci6n y atribuciones
de los tribunales. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1906. v, 69 p.
This law makes provision, among other matters, for the licensing,
discipline and functions of lawyers.
Prior to 1880, procedure, both civil and criminal, was governed by
the Spanish legislation which was in force when Honduras achieved
independence, as modified by subsequent Honduran legislation. Since
1880, three codes of procedure have successively regulated both civil
and criminal actions (except that criminal actions were subject to a
special law during the years 1904-1906). We list the editions of these
codes (excepting the Law of Criminal Procedure of 1904):
C6digo de procedimientos de la Republica de Honduras. 1880.
Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1880. xxi, 151, 1 p. (Affixed to
the code is report of the Code Commission.)
Republica de Honduras. C6digo de procedimientos. 1899.
Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1899. xi, 435 p. (Prefaced by
reports of Code Commission and of Supreme Court of Justice.)
Republica de Honduras. C6digo de procedimientos. Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1906. iv, 246, 1 p.
Procedure in civil causes, under the above Code of Procedure of
1906, has been treated comprehensively by Dr. Jos6 Maria Sandoval
in a work entitled Explicaciones sobre Prdctica Forense Hondureia
en Materia Civil (2 vols.; Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1929).
A summary account, in Spanish and in French, of the organization
and procedure of the Honduran courts under the Judiciary Law of
1906 and the Code of Civil Procedure of the same year, was furnished
by Pedro J. Bustillo, of the Tegucigalpa Bar, for the Honduran section
of Lois Commerciales de l'Univers, vol. XIII (Paris, 1913), p. 1-12.
The following works, which discuss procedure under the older
codes or laws, are now obsolete:
Chavez (Pedro Pablo). Cartilla forense. Segunda edici6n.
Tegucigalpa, 1853. (Reprinted in vol. III (1911) of Revista de la
Ariza Padilla (V.). Cartilla forense o gula te6rico-prictico para
los jueces de paz i litigantes. Tegucigalpa, Imprenta de La
Esperanza, 1878. 195 p.
Cruz (JuliAn). El abogado en pueblo. Guatemala, Imprenta
"Castillo & Castillo," 1892. 147 p.
Membrefio (Alberto). Elementos de prActica forense en material
civil seguin la legislaci6n hondurefia. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia del
Gobierno, 1893. 328, v, 1 p.
Cruz (Julian). La cartilla forense. Guatemala, 1895.
In Honduras, as in Guatemala, there exists a Law of Protection
(Ley de Amparo), which regulates the "action of protection" (juicio
de amparo); this is an action in the ordinary courts, designed to
prevent invasion of constitutional rights on the part of the public
authorities. Further reference to this law, and to the action thereby
provided, will be found below, under the caption, "Constitutional
In contrast with the situation in Guatemala, which has a special
tribunal for the adjudication of administrative causes, in Honduras
the administrative authorities themselves entertain jurisdiction in
these causes, subject to review by the ordinary courts. To this state-
ment there is one exception; a special administrative body, known as
the Superior Tribunal of Accounts, exercises judicial functions, in
addition to administrative functions, in matters wherein the public
treasury is interested. See "Administrative Law," infra.
NOTARIAL LAW AND PRACTICE
The office and functions of notaries public are now governed by the
Notarial Law of March 29, 1930 (Legislative Decree No. 162 of 1930),
published in Decretos del Congreso Nacional, 1930, p. 110. This law
superseded that of February 8, 1906. In the lack of any Honduran
treatise on notarial law and practice, we note that a few forms for the
more usual notarial acts and contracts are appended to the official
edition of the law of 1906 (Ley del Notariado, Tegucigalpa, Tipografia
Nacional, 1906; 31 p.).
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
The substantive criminal law of Honduras is now found in the
Penal Code of 1906; it is a revision of the Penal Code of 1898, which in
turn superseded that of 1880. All three of these codes appear to have
been modelled on the Spanish code of 1870; they were successively
published in the following official editions:
C6digo penal de la Republica de Honduras. 1880. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1880. xxiv, 113, 1 p. (Carries the report of
the Code Commission.)
Estado de Honduras. C6digo penal. 1898. Tegucigalpa, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1898. xxii, 156 p. (Carries reports of the Code
Commission and of the Supreme Court of Justice.)
Repiblica de Honduras. C6digo penal. 1906. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional . iv, 142, 1 p.
The penal law of Honduras, as it has stood since enactment of the
Penal Code of 1906, has not been treated by any Honduran jurist.
We have references to two studies, published when the Penal Code
of 1880 was in force:
Ugarte (Angel). La aplicaci6n de las penas. Tegucigalpa, 1881.
Ucles (Carlos Alberto.) Apuntes sobre la legislaci6n penal de
Honduras para la legislaci6n penal comparada. Tegucigalpa, 1896.
(Reprinted in vol. I (1909) of Revista de la Universidad.)
Procedure in criminal actions is now regulated by the "Second
Part" of the Code of Procedure of 1906, cited under our caption of
"Judicial Organization and Civil Procedure," supra. This code of
1906 superseded a law of criminal procedure, enacted in 1904, which
was officially published under the following title:
Republica de Honduras. Ley de enjuiciamiento criminal de-
cretada por la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente. 1904. Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1904. 35, 1 p.
Criminal procedure, under the code of 1906, has been treated in a
modern work by Dr. Jose Maria Sandoval, Explicaciones sobre
Prdctica Forense Hondurefa en Materia Criminal (Tegucigalpa,
Tipo-Lito y Fotograbado Nacionales, 1932; 280, vii p.).
The present constitution of Honduras, dated March 28, 1936,
went into effect on April 15 following. In the lack, as yet, of a pamphlet
edition of its text, we note that the new constitution has been pub-
lished in La Gaceta, issues for April 4 and 5, 1936; in the Boletin de la
Asamblea, issues for May 12 and 28, 1936; and in Decretos de la
Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, 1936, p. 15-48.
The 1936 constitution supersedes that of 1924, whose text, to-
gether with five organic laws adopted by the Constituent Assembly of
1924, has been published officially under the title, Constitucion
Political y Leyes Constitutivas de la Republica de Honduras (Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1925; 234, iv p.). An English translation
of the 1924 constitution, by William C. Wells, has been published by
the Pan-American Union in its series entitled "Laws and Treaties"
(No. 2 of 1925).
The earlier constitutions of Honduras, as well as the federal con-
stitutions of 1824, 1835 and 1921, have been compiled by Augusto
C. Coello, in his Digesto Constitucional de Honduras: 824-1921
(Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1923; 272 p.). This compilation
supersedes that by Antonio R. Vallejo, entitled Coleccion de Consti-
tuciones Politicas que en la Reptiblica de Honduras se han Decretado
(New York, Chamberlin, Whitmore & Co., 1878). Velasquez and
Eder, in their "Bibliography of Honduras," list editions of the consti-
tutions of 1880 and 1894.
Of equal importance with the Constitution of 1936 are the five
organic laws enacted by the Constituent Assembly which drafted the
constitution itself. These organic laws consist of the Law of Protection
(discussed under our caption, "Judicial Organization and Civil Pro-
cedure," supra); Agrarian Law; Law of State of Siege; Press Law; and
Election Law. These five laws repeal those of like tenor enacted by the
Constituent Assembly of 1924. In the lack, as yet, of a pamphlet
edition, we note that the organic laws of 1936 may be consulted in
La Gaceta, issues for April 20, 23, 24 and 30 and May 8, 1936; also in
Decretos de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, 1936, p. 51 et seq.
We have noted hereinabove (our caption "Legislation," supra),
that organic laws, as decreed by the respective Constituent Assemblies,
supplemented the constitutions of 1894 and 1904; and that when the
constitution of 1894 was revived by the Constituent Assembly of 1908,
the organic laws for the constitution of 1894 were also revived, with
amendments in certain cases.
No Honduran treatise on constitutional law has been published,
so far as we can learn.
In the lack of a treatise on the administrative law of Honduras, to
which our readers might be referred, we note that the central govern-
ment is now organized and functions pursuant to the Code of Ad-
ministrative Procedure enacted by Legislative Decree No. 200, of
April 5, 1930.
We also note that the departments and municipalities are admin-
istered pursuant to the Law of Municipalities and Political Regimen,
Legislative Decree No. 127, of April 7, 1927, which has been frequently
amended. This law, as originally enacted, may be consulted in the
Ley de municipalidades y del regimen politico. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1927. 95, iii p.
The legislative decrees and also the executive decrees, regulations,
circulars, etc., which from 1866 to August 1903 governed the public
revenues, including taxes, as well as money, credit institutions, the
public debt, etc., may be consulted in the following publication:
Compilaci6n de las leyes de hacienda de la Republica de Hon-
duras. 1866 a 1902. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1902.
In this connection we draw attention to Decree No. 93, of Febru-
ary 18, 1936, whereby the Congress requested the Executive Power to
print a Compilaci6n de Leyes de Hacienda prepared by Emilio Espafia
Valladares. According to this legislative decree, the compilation is to
include "not only the laws in the field of public finance from 1903 to
1929 but also all laws prior to that period and those corresponding
to said field which are in force on July 31, 1936."
Pending appearance of the above compilation, attention may be
drawn to the following titles:
Compilaci6n de resoluciones ministeriales de hacienda y de-
cretos legislativos sobre impuestos fiscales, sobre impuestos
aduaneros e impuestos que se pagan en la Rep6blica de Honduras.
1924 a 1928. Compilados por Emilio Espaiia Valladares. Teguci-
galpa, Litografia Nacional, 1928. 87, iv p.
Alcance de la Compilaci6n de resoluciones ministeriales de
hacienda. Julio a diciembre de 1928. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia
Nacional . (Supplement to publication next above men-
Decretos y acuerdos que reglamentan la conversion y amortiza-
ci6n de la deuda internal de Honduras. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia
Nacional, 1928. 27 p.
Franzenstein (Baron de). Ante el problema monetario. Teguci-
Young (Arthur N.). Proyecto de reform monetaria. Teguci-
La deuda externa de Honduras en 1923. Tegucigalpa, Imprenta
For legislation pertinent to the above and other branches of ad-
ministrative law, Honduran lawyers have recourse to the "session
laws" of the Congress, which have been compiled annually since 1924;
also they rely upon the editions, in pamphlet form, which the govern-
ment has been accustomed to issue, of important legislative decrees
Although the title page states that this compilation covers the years
1866-1902 and indicates 1902 as the year of publication, the cover title gives
1903 as the year of publication and indicates 1866-1903 as the years compiled.
The latter data are correct, as shown by the prefatory explanation; and in
fact the compilation includes material down to August 1903.
and executive decrees and regulations. Without presuming to exhaust
this literature or to pass upon the currency of all items, we list next
the more important pamphlets which have come to our attention:
Leyes de tabacos y agriculture decretadas por la Asamblea
Nacional Constituyente. (Republica de Honduras.) Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1895. 17 p.
Ley de aviaci6n. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1930. 31 p.
Reglamento de aeronAutica civil, commercial y particular.
(Repiblica de Honduras, C. A.) Tegucigalpa, Talleres Tipo-
graficos Nacionales, 1934. (Cover title: Secretaria de Guerra,
Marina y Aviaci6n. Reglamento de aeroniutica civil. Honduras.)
39 p.; at end, folded map of Honduras. 4to
C6digo de instrucci6n piblica. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacio-
nal, 1923. 90, ii p.
Reglamento general de ensefianza primaria. Tegucigalpa, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1928. 211, 3 p.
C6digo de sanidad de la Rep6blica de Honduras. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1912. 84 p.
Legislaci6n sanitaria. Reglamentos de higiene y policia sani-
taria, barberias, cementerios y policia mortuoria. Tomo I. Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1926.
C6digo sanitario panamericano. Decreto no. 89 de 23 de marzo
de 1926. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1927. 41 p.
Now in force are the Road Law, Legislative Decree No. 7 of May
14, 1931, and Road Regulations of November 24, 1931 (La Gaceta,
issue of March 7, 1932), which supersede the law and regulations
reflected in the following pamphlets:
Ley orginica de caminos emitida por el Poder Legislativo.
1899. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1899. 8 p.
Reglamento de caminos. Septiembre 1 de 1912. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional . 13 p.
The Regulations for the Circulation of Vehicles and Pedestrians,
dated September 6, 1933 (La Gaceta, issue of September 14, 1933)
supersede those reflected in the following pamphlets:
Reglamento de peones camineros. [Tegucigalpa] Tipografia
Nacional . 10 p.
Reglamento para circulaci6n de autom6viles en las poblaciones
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW 77
y carreteras de la Republica. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional,
1917. 32 p.
Guia de agrimensores o sea recopilaci6n de leyes agrarias por
Antonio R. Vallejo. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1911. 300 p.
Ley orgAnica y reglamento de correos. 1899. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1899. 115 p.
In this connection attention may be drawn to the Regulations for
the Receipt and Dispatch of Postal Parcels, dated August 29, 1930,
and published in La Gaceta, issue of January 23, 1931; and to an
executive decree amending Article 11, dated April 3, 1934, and pub-
lished in La Gaceta, issue of July 21, 1934. These regulations supersede
those reflected in the following pamphlet:
Reglamento para el recibo y despacho de los paquetes que se
introduzcan al pais, emitido por acuerdo del Poder Ejecutivode
24 de abril de 1915 y reformado por acuerdo de 17 de marzo de
1925. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1925.
Mines and Mining:
C6digo de mineria. 1898. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional,
1898. xii, 53, 1 p.
Reformas al c6digo de mineria. (Decreto nimero 70.) Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1902. 14 p. (This Decree No. 70 was
dated February 28, 1902; it was repealed by Legislative Decree
No. 26, of May 29, 1903.)
C6digo de mineria. 1898. Tegucigalpa, Tipo-Litografia y
Fotograbado Nacionales, 1918. 51 p.
Patents and Trade-marks:
Leyes de patentes de invenci6n y de marcas de fibrica. Teguci-
galpa, Tipo-Litografia y Fotograbado Nacionales, 1919. 17, iii p.
Ley de policia. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1906. iv,
95, 1 p.
The following pamphlet contains the regulations initially issued to
govern the operations of the National Railway of Honduras:
Reglamento para el Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras. Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1913. 30 p.
The regulations now in force are dated June 30, 1934. The text
may be consulted in La Gaceta, issue for September 22, 1934.
Stamps and Stamped Paper:
Decreto num. 75. Ley de papel sellado y timbre decretada
por el Congreso Nacional el 7 de abril de 1911. Decreto n6m. 91.
Reformas a la ley de papel sellado y timbre de 1911. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1912. 28 p.
Telegraph and Telephone:
Ley orgAnica de telegrafos y tel6fonos del Estado de Honduras.
1898. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1898. 7 p.
Reglamento provisional para el servicio telef6nico inter-
nacional con El Salvador. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1913.
The law on this topic is now provided by Legislative Decree No-
155, of April 3, 1934, entitled "Law of Electric Communications.'
Water and Water Power:
Now in force are the Law of Use of Waters, Legislative Decree No.
137, of April 9, 1927, and the Regulations of the Water and Electric
Light Company, dated January 9, 1933 (Gaceta Oficial, issue for
March 14, 1933). These regulations supersede those reflected in the
Reglamento para el servicio de agua y luz electrica. Teguci-
galpa, Tipo-Litografia y Fotograbado Nacionales, 1915. 32 p.
The Regulations for the Technical Office of Engineering, dated
May 10, 1932, and published in La Gaceta, issue of August 31, 1932,
have superseded those dated September 25, 1916, which are reflected
in the following pamphlet:
Reglamento para la Oficina Tecnica de la Ingenieria anexa a
la Secretaria de Fomento, Obras P6blicas y Agricultura. Teguci-
galpa, Tipo-Litografia y Fotograbado Nacionales, 1916. 20 p.
As to laws and regulations on immigration, status of foreigners and
the diplomatic and consular services, see "International Law," infra.
The present basis for the military establishment of Honduras
appears to be furnished by the Organic Military Law of March 13,
1918 (Boletin Legislativo, 1918, p. 180-192), which superseded like
law of August 27, 1881. This law of 1881 will be found in the following
Leyes militares. 1881-1904. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional,
1904. 267, 1 p.
We note three additional publications:
C6digo penal military. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1906.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE) 79
Ordenanza military. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1906.
Reglamento para el servicio military obligatorio Teguci-
galpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1913. 35 p.
INTERNATIONAL LAW (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)
Thus far the Honduran Government has undertaken, only once, a
compilation of all treaties to which the republic has been a party.
This compilation was to have consisted of three parts, to be published
in three volumes; but the third volume, designed to contain treaties
signed with European nations and their colonies, has not appeared.
The two volumes issued are the following:
Tratados vigentes de la Republica de Honduras. Primera parte:
Centro-America. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional, 1913. 514,3 p.
Tratados vigentes de la Republica de Honduras. Segunda
parte: America del Norte-America del Sur. Tegucigalpa, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1914. 526, 2, 3 p.
The following compilations, of more limited scope, may be noted:
Tratados celebrados por el gobierno de Honduras con los de
Nicaragua, Guatemala y El Salvador y aprobados por la Asamblea
National Constituyente. Tegucigalpa, 1895.
Tratados vigentes entire la Republica de Honduras y las demis
rep'blicas de Centro-Am6rica. Edici6n official de 1905. Teguci-
galpa, Tip. Nacional, 1905. 171 p.
In addition, the following Honduran editions of special treaties
may be noted:
Tratado de uni6n centro-americana celebrado en Guatemala
por los representantes de la Rep6blica Mayor de Centro America
y los de Guatemala y Costa Rica. 15 de junio de 1897. Teguci-
Tratado celebrado entire su Majestad Britanica y el Gobierno
de Honduras. 1859. Tegucigalpa, 1911. 8 p. in folio.
An index of treaties made by Honduras, both bilateral and multi-
lateral, will be found in the Memoria, for the fiscal year 1933-1934,
presented in January, 1935, to the Honduran Congress by the
Secretary of Foreign Relations. See p. 230-245.
With reference to the organization and functions of the diplomatic
and consular services of Honduras, we note the following publications:
Ley orginica del cuerpo diplomatico hondurefio. Reglamento
consular. Ley sobre recepciones y privilegios de los agents diplo-
miticos acreditados cerca del gobierno de Honduras. Ley sobre
misiones consulares extranjeras. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Nacional,
1906. 97 p.
Ley orginica del cuerpo diplomatico hondurefio. Tegucigalpa,
Tipografia Nacional, 1929. 2, 12 p.
Reglamento consular. Tegucigalpa. Tipografia Nacional, 1930.
Immigration is now governed by the Immigration Law of March
14, 1934 (Legislative Decree No. 134), which superseded like law
dated March 11, 1929. The regulations for the new law bear date of
April 22, 1935, and may be consulted in La Gaceta, issue of May 17,
1935; they supersede the regulations published in the following
Reglamento para la ley de inmigraci6n. Tegucigalpa, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1929, 15 p.
The status of foreigners in Honduras appears to be governed by the
Law of Foreigners of February 6, 1926 (Legislative Decree No. 31) and
by the Passport Law of February 4, 1935 (Legislative Decree No. 50).
No Honduran treatise covering the general field of public inter-
national law has been published. A few studies on special topics, by
Honduran jurists, have come to our attention. Thus, Presentaci6n
Quesada and other members of the Honduran Law Society prepared a
monograph which reflected the opposition of the Central American
republics, other than Nicaragua, to the treaty signed in 1914 whereby
the United States acquired the right to build an interoceanic canal
across Nicaragua; this monograph was inserted by a Salvadorian
jurist, Salvador Rodriguez GonzAlez, in his book entitled El Golfo de
Fonseca en el Derecho Publico Centroamericano (San Salvador, Imprenta
Nacional, 1917), p. 3 et seq. See also-
Garcia Alvarado (Ernesto). La base naval en el golfo de
Fonseca. Tesis de licenciatura. Tegucigalpa, Tipografia Minerva,
1931. 51, vi p.
We note also an address by Salvador C6rdova, minister of Hon-
duras to the United States, entitled "The Meaning of the Monroe
Doctrine to Honduras" and published in American Academy of
Political and Social Science, The Annals, supplement to vol. CXI
(Philadelphia, January 1924).
Honduras is a party to, and has ratified (without reservations) the
Code of Private International Law signed at Havana on February 13,
1928. See Legislative Decree No. 192, of April 4, 1930.
The private international law of Honduras has been treated by a
French jurist, S. Bijon, in an article published in Ripertoire de Droit
International, vol. VI (Paris, 1930), p. 437-453. We may also refer to
two brief discussions by Honduran lawyers: Quesada, Comentarios al
C6digo Civil, vol. I (Tegucigalpa, 1924), p. 124-152; and Trejo
Castillo, article "Honduras," in Rechtsoergleichendes Handwa'rterbuch,
vol. I (Berlin, 1929), p. 730-731.
Nationality pursuant to Honduran law has been treated by the
French jurist last above mentioned. See Repertoire de Droit Inter-
national, vol. IX (Paris, 1931), s.v. "Nationalite au Honduras."
Supplement de 1902, Catalogue de la Bibliotheque du Comite
de Legislation Etrangere (Paris, 1903), p. 461-462.
Repertoire g6nerale alphab6tique du droit frangais (Fuzier-
Herman), vol. XXVIII, s.v. "Nicaragua."
Guerrero Montalvin (Salvador). "Bibliography," in Rechts-
vergleichendes Handworterbuch (Schlegelberger), vol. I (Berlin,
1929), p. 740.
The laws enacted by the Nicaraguan Congress have not been
compiled, annually, during the entire period elapsed since organiza-
tion of a government in 1825. From divers sources we gather informa-
tion to the effect that the "session laws" for sporadic years, between
1851 and 1891, have been published, usually under the title, Coleccidn
de Leyes emitidas por el Congreso de la Reptiblica. Annual publication
of the "session laws" was suspended during 1892-1916; but was re-
sumed, for 1917-1919, four volumes being issued under the title,
Coleccion de Decretos Legislativos. Since 1919, publication of the
"session laws" has again been suspended; and, therefore, for years
subsequent to 1919, the only complete repository of Nicaraguan
legislation is the official gazette.
In the official gazette, just mentioned, will be found not only the
laws of the congress but also decrees, regulations, circulars, etc., issued
by the executive power. Under varying titles and with certain lapses
during periods of civil war, the official gazette has been published
since 1848 to date. The title, since 1896, has been La Gaceta: Diario
Official. (See Serial Publications of Foreign Governments, s.v. "Nica-
For the period of 1821-1871, the legislative and administrative
output of the Nicaraguan government has been published in two
compilations, whose exact inter-relationship is somewhat difficult to
determine. The first compilation consists of one volume, in quarto
format, wherein the Nicaraguan constitutions, laws and decrees ap-
pear to be compiled in chronologic order for the years 1825-1840;
its title is as follows:
Recopilaci6n de las leyes, decretos y acuerdos ejecutivos de la
Republica de Nicaragua en Centro-America. Formado por el
senior doctor y maestro licenciado don Jesis de la Rocha .
Granada-1861. Managua, Imprenta del Gobierno, 1867. 461 p.
In an "Introduction," dated April 30, 1861, Doctor de la Rocha,
the compiler, stated:
"The work has been divided into six volumes: the 1st and 2nd
comprehend the legislation of the country from April 1, 1825 to
date; the 3rd and 4th, the executive decrees and orders of the
Republic belonging to the same epoch; the 5th, the laws, orders
and resolutions of the extinguished Federation; and the 6th, the
federal governmental decrees and orders, and the general index."
We infer, however, that volumes II-VI never were published,
assuming that they existed in manuscript; and that in place thereof
a second compilation, based on the material accumulated by Doctor
de la Rocha, was published.
This second compilation consists of three volumes, divided into
five tomes quarto, in ten "books," a chronologic order being followed
within each "book." A description of these five tomes follows:
C6digo de la lejislaci6n de la Rep6blica de Nicaragua en
Centro-America formado por el senior doctor i maestro licenciado
don Jes6s de la Rocha (Outer title: C6digo de la lejislaci6n de
la Republica de Nicaragua. 1821-1863. Tomo primero.) Granada,
1864. Managua, Imprenta de "El Centro-Americano," 1873. 220
p. (Contains preliminary section and books I-III.)
C6digo de la lejislaci6n de la Republica de Nicaragua en
Centro-America formado por el senior doctor i maestro licenciado
don Jes6s de la Rocha (Outer title: C6digo de la lejislaci6n de
la Republica de Nicaragua. 1821-1863. Tomo segundo.) Granada,
1864. Managua, Imprenta de "El Centro-Americano," 1874. 390,
xvi p. (Contains books IV-VII.)
C6digo de la legislaci6n de hacienda p6blica, navegaci6n y
comercio de la Rep6blica de Nicaragua en Centro-America for-
mado por el senior doctor en jurisprudencia, maestro y licenciado
don Jes6s de la Rocha (Outer title: C6digo de la legislaci6n de
hacienda p6blica.) Managua, Imprenta de "El Centro-Ameri-
cano," 1871. 317 p. (Contains book VIII.)
Suplemento del libro octavo del C6digo de la legislaci6n de
Nicaragua formado por el senior doctor en jurisprudencia, maestro
i licenciado don Jes6s de la Rocha .. Contiene todas las disposi-
clones lejislativas i ejecutivas, emitidas desde el 1 de enero de
1864 hasta fin de junio de 1871, sobre los ramos de hacienda
p6blica, navegaci6n i comercio. (Outer title: Suplemento de
hacienda.) Managua, Imprenta de "El Centro-Americano," 1871.
C6digo de la lejislaci6n de la Republica de Nicaragua. Ramo
military y disposiciones sueltas. 1821-1863. Managua, Imprenta de
"El Centro-Americano," 1872. 108 p. (Contains books IX-X.)
For the period elapsed since 1871, no comprehensive compilation
of legislation exists, comparable with the above two which bear the
name of Doctor de la Rocha. Moreover, there are lacking in Nicaragua
collections of "usual laws," such as are found elsewhere in Central
America. But this lack is shortly to be remedied: under the super-
vision of the Ministry of Government, a compilation of "usual laws,"
covering the period elapsed since 1900, is in preparation.
Meanwhile, the following compilation, whose contents are far more
comprehensive than is indicated by its title, may be consulted to
advantage for the text of many "usual laws":
Compilaci6n de leyes municipales ordenada por el Comite
Ejecutivo del Distrito Nacional. Managua, Imprenta Nacional,
1931. 533, ix p. (Contains, at p. 527-533, six laws enacted in 1932.)
The above compilation supersedes the two publications which are
The first of the two publications, to which allusion has just been
made, carries the text of the constitution of 1893 and organic laws
enacted during the years 1893-1895, as well as selected earlier laws of
general application; it is entitled:
Constituci6n y leyes de reform de la Repiblica de Nicaragua
(1893-1894-1895). Managua, Tipografia Nacional, 1896. 401 p.
The second publication was primarily a work of propaganda,
edited for the Zelaya Administration. It contains the constitution
of 1905 and a very few of the more important laws of general applica-
tion currently in force. It is in quarto format and entitled:
La Repiblica de Nicaragua. Managua, Tipografia y Encuader-
naci6n Internacional, 1906. 146 p.
It must be borne in mind that in Nicaragua, as elsewhere in
Central America, the laws are highly mutable and that, in conse-
quence, within the period of a generation the Nicaraguan corpus juris
will be found to have been almost entirely renovated.
Pending publication of a modern compilation of the "usual laws"
of Nicaragua, it is worth noting that in the Boletin Judicial, which
began publication in 1912 and is the official law reporter, will be found
a reprint of the important older legislation regarded as still in force
and also a reprint of the current legislation; and that consultation of
this legislation, older and current, is facilitated by the indices with
which the annual volumes of this periodical are equipped.
On special topics, such as finance, taxation, customs adminis-
tration and police, there exists a number of special compilations,
relatively recent, which lighten the labors of Nicaraguan lawyers.
Reference to these special compilations will be made under the
caption "Administrative Law," infra.
An index of Nicaraguan legislation, entitled Indice General de la
Legislaci6n Patria, was advertised for sale in issues of the official
gazette published during 1930. We have been unable to consult this
index, of which the stock on hand at the National Printing Office was
destroyed in the earthquake of that year. We understand that an
Indice General de "La Gaceta," beginning with the year 1900, is in
preparation by Gustavo Mercado, a student at the Managua Law
In passing we note that the proceedings of the Nicaraguan
Congress have been published at irregular intervals. We have refer-
ences to a Boletin del Congreso, which began publication in 1887 but
suspended at some later date and which was revived during 1926-
1927, under the title of Diario de Sesiones del Congreso. In addition,
minutes of the sessions of both houses,-the Congress is bicameral,-
are published in La Gaceta.
COURT REPORTS AND DIGESTS
Beginning in 1894 and continuing until May 15, 1913, the decisions
of the Supreme Court of Nicaragua were published in the official
gazette, without special organization of the material. In the issue of
July 3, 1912, and subsequent issues, totalling 76 numbers of the
official gazette, the judicial material was published in a supplement
thereto, entitled Boletin Judicial: Organo del Departamento de Justicia.
On May 1, 1913, this section was organized as an independent
periodical, with the title just mentioned but in smaller format; the
initial issue, having the date last mentioned, carries No. 77 but is
given a new pagination; and the volume ends with the year 1913, be-
ing provided with an index for Nos. 77-92. The issues of the Boletin
Judicial are numbered progressively; each volume, corresponding to
a calendar year, is provided with an index. Volume XXI (1933) is in
course of publication.
The Boletin Judicial carries, not only the decisions of the Supreme
Court of Nicaragua, but also a selection of decisions of the courts of
appeal sitting respectively at Granada, Le6n and Bluefields.
As regards digests of Nicaraguan case-law, we note that the case-
law for the years 1894-1910 is reflected in a "Prontuario," prepared
by Dr. Daniel Morazan and published in the periodical, El Foro
Nicaragiiense, beginning in issue No. 10 of volume I and continuing
in volume II (1918-1919). In his index-digest Dr. Morazdn incorpo-
rated material previously published by Dr. Modesto Barrios in the
latter's periodical, Revista Juridica.
A digest of judgments of the Supreme Court of Nicaragua, as
published in the Boletin Judicial during the years 1913-1922, has been
completed in manuscript by Dr. Horacio Argiiello Bolaiios; it is
appearing in installments as a supplement to the Revista de Derecho,
a non-official monthly which began to appear at Managua in January
1936. In a prologue to this supplement, it is stated that Dr. Argiiello
Bolafios has in preparation a similar digest of Nicaraguan case-law,
for the decade of 1923-1932.
In the lack of an adequate treatise on the legal system of Nica-
ragua, considered generally, we may refer to the summary account, in
German, prepared by Dr. Salvador Guerrero MontalvAn for the
Rechtsvergleichendes Handw6rterbuch, vol. I (Berlin, 1929), p. 732-740.
Articles on Nicaragua are not carried either by The Lawyers Directory
or by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.
Under this head we may also refer to three non-official legal
periodicals, as to which we have the data next indicated:
Revista juridica. (Director: Modesto Barrios.)
El foro nicaragiiense. (Director: Rosendo Argiiello.) 2 vols.
Managua, 1917-1930. (Vol. I consists of 12 numbers, Dec. 15,
1917-Dec. 1, 1918. Vol. II consists of 12 numbers, of which nos.
1-9 appeared in 1919 and combined nos. 10-12, in April 1930.)
Revista de derecho. (Director: Dr. Ram6n Romero.) Managua,
Talleres Graficos Perez, 1936-. (Monthly review, of which first
issue bears date of January 1936.)
Passing reference may be made to a manual of legal maxims, under
the civil and canon law, which now has merely an antiquarian interest
since it antedates the promulgation of the modern codes of Nicaragua:
Reglas de ambos derechos civil y can6nico con sus comentarios
de Broncorst y Reifenstuel, traducidos e ilustrados con anotaciones
tomadas del derecho modern por J. Benito Rosales. Segunda
edici6n. Le6n, Imprenta de P. Argiiello, 1861. 212 p.
Data as to the history of Nicaraguan legislation, to 1883, will be
found in Buenaventura Selva, Instituciones de Derecho Civil Nica-
ragiiense, prefatory notice and chapter 2; and to about 1906, in the
historical sketch furnished by Ram6n Zelaya, a Costa Rican jurist,
for the Nicaragua section of Commercial Laws of the World, vol. X
(London, 1911). Considerable information as to constitutional history
since 1909 will be found in a compilation prepared for the U. S.
Department of State, entitled The United States and Nicaragua: A
Survey of Relations from 1909 to 1932 (Washington, Government
Printing Office, 1932).
The civil law of Spain, save as modified by Nicaraguan laws en-
acted following independence, continued in force in Nicaragua until
repealed by the Civil Code sanctioned by law of March 31, 1871,
which was closely modelled on the Chilean Code of 1855. An edition
of this code, in quarto format and presumably official, was published
under the title, C6digo Civil de la Reptblica de Nicaragua (Managua,
Imprenta de "El Centro-Americano," 1871; 311 p.). An alphabetical
index to the code was published by official direction, under the title,
Indice Alfabltico del Cddigo Civil de la Repfublica (Managua, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1883; 37 p.). This index was also in quarto format,
as are most of the editions of the Nicaraguan codes.
The Civil Code of 1871 was superseded by that sanctioned by the
law of February 1, 1904. The Civil Code of 1904, which is still in force,
has an eclectic character; it reflects borrowings from many foreign
civil codes, chiefly those of Argentina, Mexico and Chile.
There exist three editions of the Nicaraguan Civil Code of 1904:
C6digo civil de la Republica de Nicaragua elaborado por
la comisi6n official de c6digos compuesta de los abogados Bruno
H. Buitrago, Jose Francisco Aguilar y Francisco Paniagua Prado.
(Outer title: C6digo civil de la Repiblica de Nicaragua revisado
definitivamente por la comisi6n legislative ... Managua, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1904.) Managua, Tipografia Nacional, 1903.
658 p. 4to.
C6digo civil de la Repiblica de Nicaragua revisado definitiva-
mente por la comisi6n legislative Segunda edici6n de orden
del senior Ministro de Justicia ... Managua, Tipografia Nacional,
1912. 2 vols. 8vo.
C6digo civil de la Republica de Nicaragua revisado definitiva-
mente por la comisi6n legislative ... Tercera edici6n official anotada
y concordada, por los doctors Carlos A. Morales, Joaquin Cuadra
Zavala y Mariano Argiiello. Managua, Casa Editorial Carlos
Heuberger y Co., 1931-1933. 2 vols. 8vo.
The last named edition carries the amendments to the Civil Code,
down to the dates of its respective volumes; it is also enriched by
concordances, notes on the genesis of the several articles of the
code, and citations of Nicaraguan case-law.
A treatise on the civil law of Nicaragua, as reflected in the Civil
Code of 1904 and amendments thereto, has begun to appear:
Romero (Ram6n). Derecho civil de Nicaragua. Tratado de las
personas. Tomo I. Managua, Talleres Grificos P6rez, 1933. xi,
This branch of Nicaraguan law, as it stood under the Civil Code
of 1871, has been treated in two works, as follows:
Selva (Buenaventura). Instituciones de derecho civil nica-
ragiiense. Managua, Tipografia de Managua, 1883. 5, v, 577, 2 p.
Bonilla (Tiburcio P.). El matrimonio, o sea el c6digo de la
familiar y sus efectos civiles, en conformidad a las leyes vigentes
en la Rep6blica examinadas y comentadas. Managua, Tipografia
Nacional, 1894. 4, iii, 5, 243 p.
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE 87
A Commercial Code, sanctioned by law of March 22, 1869, super-
seded the old Spanish commercial legislation which had largely been
left in force following Nicaraguan independence; it was based on the
Spanish Code of Commerce of 1829. The Nicaraguan code of 1869 was
published under the title, Cddigo de Comercio de la Republica de
Nicaragua (Managua, Imprenta de "El Centro-Americano," 1870;
72, iii p.); it is prefaced by a brief report by the drafting commission.
The Nicaraguan Code of Commerce of 1869 was superseded by a
new code, promulgated October 20, 1916, and still in force. The
official edition of this code, in octavo format, is entitled Codigo de
Comercio de la Republica (Managua, Tipografia Nacional, 1916; xxxv,
303 p.); it is prefaced by an extensive report of its draftsman, Modesto
Barrios, dated August 10, 1907, from which we gather that the Nica-
raguan code is of an eclectic character but based largely on the Italian
code of 1882.
So far as we can ascertain, the commercial law of Nicaragua has
not been treated by Nicaraguan jurists, in published works. A paper
by Mr. Phanor J. Eder, of the New York Bar, entitled "The Judicial
Status of Non-registered Foreign Corporations in Nicaragua" will be
found in 10 Tulane Law Review, 58 (December, 1935).
JUDICIAL ORGANIZATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE
The organization and functions of the courts of Nicaragua are
governed by the law of July 19, 1894, which repealed like law of 1851.
The law of 1894, which was modelled on the Chilean Law of Tribunals
of 1875, has been subjected to considerable amendment. An annotated
edition of the Nicaraguan law, indicating amendments to October
1928, which has superseded all earlier editions, bears the following
Ley organica de tribunales con todas sus reforms desde 1894
hasta la fecha, concordada con la constituci6n vigente, c6digo de
procedimientos, ley de notariado, de procuradores y las demis
pertinentes a la material, por el doctor Modesto Valle. Edici6n
autorizada por el Ministerio de Justicia. Managua, Tipografia
Progreso, 1928. ix, 114 p.
As regards the admission, functions and discipline of lawyers and
notaries, the provisions of the Law of Tribunals have been superseded
by special legislation: see prologue to the above pamphlet, supplied
by Francisco Paniagua Prado; also Notarial Law and Law of the
College of Lawyers, promulgated simultaneously with the Code of
Civil Procedure, by Executive Decree of November 7, 1905.
Fees of lawyers, executors, administrators, experts, etc., are
regulated by a law of February 17, 1906, published in a pamphlet
entitled Ley de Aranceles Judiciales (Managua, Tip. y Encuadernaci6n
Nacional, 1906; 18 p.).
In respect of civil procedure, two codes have been in force in
Nicaragua, namely: that sanctioned by the law of May 22, 1871, and
the code of 1905, just mentioned.
The code of 1871 is reflected in the following publications:
C6digo de procedimientos civiles de la Republica de Nicaragua.
Redactado con arreglo a las disposiciones del c6digo civil por
Tomas Ay6n. Managua, Imprenta de "El Centro-Americano,"
1871. 3, 121 p.
Reformas al c6digo de procedimientos civiles. Managua, Im-
prenta Nacional, 1875. 13 p.
C6digo de procedimientos civiles de la Rep6blica de Nicaragua.
Recopilado y anotado... por. .. Bruno H. Buitrago. 2a. edici6n
official. Managua, Tipografia Nacional, 1884. 3, 182 p.
The code of 1905, as officially published, consists of the text
thereof, as drafted by the code commission and set up by the public
printer in 1904; and of an additional page which was inserted, pre-
sumably in 1905, after the title-page and which carries the Executive
Decree of November 7, 1905, whereby the said code is promulgated:
C6digo de procedimiento civil de la Repdblica de Nicaragua
revisado definitivamente por la comisi6n legislative de c6digos ...
Managua, Tipografia Nacional, 1904. 435 p.; additional sheet,
inserted after title-page. (Appended are Notarial Law and Law of
the College of Lawyers.)
There exists a convenient alphabetic index of the Code of Civil
Procedure of 1905:
Granera (Miguel G.). Indice alfabetico y analitico del c6digo
de procedimiento civil. Le6n, Tip. "J. Hernandez," 1906. 96 p.
In passing, we note that there exists a collection of forms of plead-
ings, applicable to the procedure as it stood under the code of 1871:
C6digo de formulas de la Repiblica de Nicaragua. Redactado
con arreglo al c6digo civil i al de procedimientos civiles por el
licenciado don Tomas Ay6n. Granada, Imprenta de "El Centro-
Americano," 1875. 99 p.
In the lack of a Nicaraguan treatise on civil procedure, we refer to
the analysis of the code of 1905 furnished by the Costa Rican jurist,
Ram6n Zelaya, for the Nicaragua section of Commercial Laws of the
World, vol. X (London, 1911).
NOTARIAL LAW AND PRACTICE
In addition to the legislation governing the admission, functions
and discipline of notaries, to which reference has been made above, we
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
note the existence of a recent treatise, which is equipped with
Buitrago (Bruno H. y Nicolas). Cartulaci6n te6rica y prictica
(con 84 modelss. Le6n, Tip. J. Hernandez y Hnos., 1931. 3,
181, 44 p.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
Nicaragua has had three penal codes, respectively enacted in 1871,
1879 and 1891. The code of 1871 is reflected in one edition:
C6digo penal de la Republica de Nicaragua. Managua, 1871.
The penal code of 1879 is reflected in the following two publications:
C6digo penal de la Repiblica de Nicaragua, redactado de
orden del senior Presidente, don Pedro Joaquin Chamorro.
Managua-1879. Impreso en Granada. Imprenta de "El Centro-
Americano." 1, 1, 104 p.
Leyes que reforman y adicionan los c6digos penal y de in-
strucci6n criminal. Managua, Tipografia Nacional, 1884. 13 p.
The penal code of 1891, which is still in force, is reflected in the
C6digo penal de la Republica de Nicaragua. Managua, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1891. 3, 3, 147 p.
Nicaragua appears to have enacted only one code of criminal
procedure, namely that of 1879, which is reflected in the following
C6digo de instrucci6n criminal de la Republica de Nicaragua,
redactado de orden del senior Presidente don Pedro Joaquin
Chamorro. Managua-1879. Impreso en Granada. Imprenta de
"El Centro-Americano." 113 p.
Leyes que reforman y adicionan los c6digos penal y de instruc-
ci6n criminal. Managua, Tipografia Nacional, 1884. 13 p.
C6digo de instrucci6n criminal de Nicaragua con todas las
reforms intercaladas en el texto, por el sr. don Ram6n Navarro.
Revisado y anotado por los sefiores doctor don NicolAs Buitrago
y don Manuel Siero, concordado con el [c6digo de] i[nstrucci6n
criminal] salvadoreiio por la redacci6n y seguido de un studio
comparative por el senior doctor don Jos6 Madriz. (Biblioteca de la
Revista Centroamericana de Legislaci6n, Decrecho y Juris-
prudencia.) San Salvador, Oficina de Abogacia y Notariado:
Alvarado y SuArez. Tipografia La Luz . 206 p.
C6digo de instrucci6n criminal de Nicaragua con todas las
reforms intercaladas en el texto por el sr. don Ram6n Navarro.
Revisado y anotado por los sefiores doctors don Nicolas Buitrago
y don Manuel Siero, concordado con el [c6digo de] i[nstrucci6n
criminal] salvadorefio. (Biblioteca de la Revista Centroamericana
de Legislaci6n, Derecho y Jurisprudencia.) Tercera edici6n.
Managua, Tipografia Comercial, n.d. 165 p.
No treatises on the criminal law have been published in Nicaragua.
In the lack of national works, presumably Nicaraguan lawyers rely
upon the Spanish treatises. In passing we note a monograph, in
German, on the general definitions of the criminal law of Nicaragua:
Thot (Laszlo von). Die allgemeinen bestimmungen des nica-
raguanischen strafrechts. Stuttgart, Druck der Union Deutsche
Verlagsgesellschaft, 1907. (Reprint from Gerichtssaal, vol. 70.)
As regards the criminal procedure of Nicaragua, we may refer to
the following work by a professor of the Law School at Le6n:
Buitrago (Aristides). PrActica forense en lo criminal. Tomo I.
Le6n, Tip. Excelsior, 1934. ix, 226 p.
A short but interesting account of Nicaraguan criminal procedure,
with comments on Nicaraguan rules of evidence, civil and criminal, is
furnished by Gordon Waldron, in an article entitled "A Murder Trial
in Nicaragua" and published, in 1902, in 1 Canadian Law Review,
Merely of antiquarian interest is the following translation, made
by a Nicaraguan jurist, of a French work on the jury in criminal
Nuevo manual del jurado Escrita en frances por C. B.
Merger .Vertida al castellano por Agustin Duarte. Managua,
Tip. de Managua, 1887. xvi, 256 p.
Nicaragua is now living under its seventh constitution, pro-
mulgated December 21,1911. We may refer to two editions, as follows:
Constituci6n political de la Republica de Nicaragua. 1911.
Managua, Tip. de T. Matamoros J. . 62 p.
Constituci6n political de la Republica de Nicaragua y leyes de
amparo, marcial y de imprenta. Managua, Imprenta Nacional,
1930. 1, ii, 5, 94 p.
The proceedings of the constitutional convention of 1911 were
published in a bulletin entitled Boletin de la Asamblea Nacional
Constituyente (Managua, 1911).
We can refer only to a single treatise on the constitutional law of
Nicaragua, presumably based on the constitution of 1893 (as amended):
Fernandez Somoza (Jes6s). Curso de derecho constitutional
nicaragiiense, impreso por disposici6n del Sr. Ministro de In-
strucci6n Publica, Dr. don Manuel Coronel Matus. Managua,
Imprenta Nacional, 1896.
No treatise dealing with the administrative law of Nicaragua has
been published. In this situation, we may refer, for pertinent and
valuable comments on the working, during recent years, of the ad-
ministrative machinery of the republic, to a monograph by W. W.
Cumberland, entitled Nicaragua: An Economic and Financial Survey
(Washington, Government Printing Office, 1928).
In the lack of treatises on the administrative law, presumably
Nicaraguan lawyers have direct recourse to the laws, regulations and
decrees on a given subject, either as individually issued or as compiled.
Hereinafter we furnish references to the literature of this character
which has come to our attention.
In the first place, we note that the frame-work of the central
government is now provided by Executive Regulations issued on
December 21, 1929, published in pamphlet form as Reglamento del
Poder Ejecutivo (Managua, Imprenta Nacional, 1930; 71 p.).
Next, we note that the following compilation, despite the recital
on its title page, remained a Project of Fiscal Code which was never
enacted into law by the Nicaraguan Congress:
C6digo fiscal de la Republica de Nicaragua ... sancionado por
el poder legislative de 1904. Edici6n official. 3 vols. Managua, Tipo-
grafia Nacional, 1904.
In the lack of a comprehensive Fiscal Code, the topics normally
regulated in such a code must be sought in divers laws. With reference
more particularly to the public revenues, we note the following
Digesto de hacienda public. Compilaci6n de todas las leyes
de la material, preparada de orden del Ministerio de Hacienda por
Jose V. Ferrer. Volumen I: Contiene los tres primeros capitulos:
Constituci6n; legislaci6n orgainica; legislaci6n aduanera. Managua,
Tip. de Dionisio Estrada, 1911. xxvii, 642 p. (Sole volume pub-
Legislaci6n de la renta de licores de Nicaragua. Colecci6n
arreglada por encargo del Ministerio de Hacienda por Jose V.
Ferrer. Managua, Tipografia Alemana de Carlos Heuberger,1911.
viii, 210 p.
Legislaci6n de la renta de tabaco de Nicaragua. Colecci6n
arreglada en virtud de comisi6n del Ministerio de Hacienda por
Jos6 V. Ferrer. Managua, Tipografia Alemana de Carlos Heu-
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