Colombias legal traditions

Country Profile Questions

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Legal Traditions

which legal tradition your country best fits under. It is important that we understand the basic foundational characteristics of the different legal traditions, because they influence how a given legal system is structured.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Look up some outlandish or crazy news stories, high-profile events, etc. that are relevant to the week’s material.

As with all weeks, you are free to include whatever information you would like to in your write-up, but at a minimum

* you should seek to answer the following questions:

  • Conduct some basic research on the structure and operation of the criminal justice system in your country. We’ll go into more detail on policing, courts, corrections, etc., in future weeks, so for now, try to find preliminary information. Try to complete the table for your country, like the one I gave out in class, with different aspects of the legal tradition. Some questions to consider include the following:
    • Are laws codified or based on judicial precedent?
    • Where do laws come from or how are they made?
    • How flexible is the law? Can you find any high-profile examples of people who committed similar offenses and were treated differently (for better or worse)?
    • What is the role of court precedents and judicial interpretation? Is there any? Or must the law be followed as written?
    • How is guilt or innocence determined? Does that country use an adversarial or inquisitorial process?
    • Is there a balance of power between judicial and legislative branches?
    • What types of crimes are there? Can they be classified into different categories?
    • What is the range of punishments available? Is the death penalty used? If so, for what crimes?
  • Ultimately, if you had to classify your country into one of the four main traditions, which one does your country BEST fit? What is your justification for that decision?

To answer the questions, you may use whatever materials are available to you. Materials could include government web sites for that country, the US Department of State and other government informational sites, the UNODC pages for that nation, news articles reported by major networks (CNN, Fox, any major newspapers, Al Jazeera, BBC, NPR), non-profit organizations, and so on. The CIA World Factbook has some information about most of the countries in the world. It can serve as a starting point but will not answer all of the questions above. In all cases, you MUST CITE YOUR SOURCES APPROPRIATELY.


MLA format

minimum of 2 pages of information and maximum 3, 1 work cited page

country for topic: Colombia

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