New supreme court president says she will reduce delays

Zarela Villanueva

A new president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia, the first woman to that that post, promised Monday to confront the judicial backlog. The new court president is Zarela Villanueva Monge, who had been vice president of the court. The position became open with the death of Luis Paulino Mora Mora. The new court president, a magistrate in the Sala Secunda since 1989, was one of three candidates who still were in the running after a week of posturing. There are 22 magistrates divided among four chambers or salas. She said in an acceptance speech that a priority is to standardize the procedures, do some redesign and identify the courts that are behind. She also said that a system of control should be created that received input from those who use the courts. Perhaps her most specific comment was that her door would be open to anyone who has suggestions. Ms. Villanueva otherwise spoke in generalities and stressed that there should be an independent, efficient and democratic administration of justice. Although the new court president mentioned challenges, she  did not single out any except the court backlog. She did not say anything about a matter that is of great importance to expat property owners. That is the land jumping that puts ownership in jeopardy. There are many such cases, and most are languishing in the slow-moving courts. Ms. Villanueva noted that she has 34 years in the Poder Judicial and that she has served at many levels. At the same Monday session José Manuel Arroyo Gutiérrez received the designation of court vice president. He is a magistrate in the Sala Tercera, the high criminal court. The other salas are civil, labor and the Sala IV, the constitutional court. In her speech, Ms. Villanueva said that Arroyo withdrew his bid for court presidency in favor of her.

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