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Argentinian Legal Research

This guide gives a basic explanation of the Argentinian legal system and provides access to primary and secondary legal sources.

Basic Legal Structure

Government

The Argentine Republic (hereinafter Argentina) has a large and diversified economy. Its federal government has three (3) branches: executive, legislative, and judiciary.

Argentina is part of the civil law system, following the tradition of mainland European countries.

Like the US, Argentina is a federal country. Its territory is composed of twenty-three (23) provinces and one (1) autonomous city.

Argentina has a presidential system under which the President is head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The President holds office for four (4) years and might be consecutively re-elected for one term.

Court Structure

The justice system is composed of the federal judicial branch and the judicial branch of each of the provinces and the autonomous city. In both systems, litigants are guaranteed to have the opportunity to appeal the decision of lower courts.

At the federal level, the justice system also includes the Public Prosecutor's Office (Ministerio Público Fiscal), the Public Defender's Office (Ministerio Público de la Defensa), and the Judicial Council (Consejo de la Magistratura).

Legal Hierarchy

The legal hierarchy of federal laws is:

  1. National (federal) Constitution / Certain human rights treaties (expressly mentioned in the Constitution)
  2. General treaties
  3. Statutes / Codes
  4. National regulations

Official Gazette

The official Gazette, "Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina publishes daily legal norms, among other important materials.

Constitution

Constitution

The current national (federal) Constitution was adopted in 1853 and its last amendment dates back to 1994. The official version is written in Spanish.

An unofficial English version of the Constitution and a list of the constitutional amendments are also available.

Treaties

Legislation

Statutes

The federal Congress, which is composed of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, is the legislative branch.

Regulations

Regulations

Federal regulations are promulgated by the executive and can be found by their number, year, and nature (decrees, administrative decisions, resolutions, and regulatory provisions).

Secondary Sources

Treatises

Case Law

Case Law

Courts are not obliged to follow decisions from higher courts when ruling on a similar case.

Legal Dictionaries

Legal Dictionaries

Spanish-English Legal Terms

Some useful legal terms for research purposes:

  • Decisión administrativa: Administrative decision
  • Código: Code
  • Constitución nacional: National (federal) constitution
  • Constitución provincial: Provincial constitution
  • Decreto: Decree
  • Ley nacional: National (federal) statute
  • Ley provincial: Provincial statute
  • Ordenanza municipal: Municipal ordinance
  • Resolución ministerial: Ministerial resolution
  • Sentencia: Judicial decision
  • Tratado internacional: Treaty

Legal Glossary (in Spanish)

Additional Resources

Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement

The author wants to acknowledge the relevant feedback provided by Marcos Nelio Mollar in the creation of this guide.

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