1.1. Demographic Details
1.2. Constitutional and Judicial System

1.1. Demographic Details

Argentina is the second largest country in South America and the eighth worldwide. Located at the south of the American continent, it is a part of the Southern Cone together with Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil.

The country is 3,694 kilometers long from north to south and 1,423 kilometers from east to west, with a total area of 3,761,274 sq km. As to population, it is one of the forty most populated countries in the world, with a total population of 40.091.359 and a density of 14 inhabitants per km2.

Argentina is considered as an immigration country due to the massive immigration flows it received in time, largely from Europe, which resulted in a cosmopolitan population with a good level of education (a literacy rate of 95.7%) and of technical specialization.

With a population of about 40 million, Argentina’s human development index, per-capita income, economic growth level and life quality are among the highest in Latin America.
According to official information by the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) and the National Institute for Statistics and Censuses (INDEC), in 2009 the stated value of the gross domestic product was 1,145,458 million pesos at current prices, equal to USD 306,747 million, with a nominal GDP per-capita of 7,643 U.S. dollars.

As regards economic development, Argentina has the advantage of its territorial area and, particularly, of its wealth and variety of natural resources (such as oil, natural gas, lead, zinc, copper, tin, gold and uranium), an advanced agricultural system and a substantial industrial base, which has become one of the major industries in Latin America.

One of the major countries worldwide in soybean production, it is also a dominant producer of oleaginous products, corn and meat.

Argentina is a part of the regional entity Southern Common Market, also known as “Mercosur”, which comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay as members and Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru as associates.

1.2. Constitutional and Judicial System

The National Constitution of Argentina of 1853 provided a representative, republican and federal system of government, which has been maintained through all the constitutional amendments since then (the latest was in August 1994). The current Constitution results from the text enacted by the Constituent Convention of 1994.

As mentioned above, Argentina has adopted a federal system of government. Accordingly, its government system is based upon division of powers between the federal government and local governments (i.e. the provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires), where the latter retain all the powers not delegated to the Federal Government under Article 121 of the National Constitution.

Thus, under the federal system adopted by Argentina there are two (2) types of government: (i) a federal or national sovereign government, with jurisdiction in the entire territory of Argentina, and (ii) the local governments (Provinces and Autonomous City of Buenos Aires), with separate authority to provide their own institutions and local constitutions, and with jurisdiction exclusively on their own territorial areas.

Argentina is divided into twenty-three (23) provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, the seat of the federal government.

Its governmental organization consists of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial.

The executive branch of federal government is exercised by the President of Argentina, elected for four years (4). The President has broad powers, including the power to approve or veto decisions by the National Congress (legislative branch). The executive branch of each province is exercised by a governor; the governor’s term of office, the manner of election and the right to be reelected are determined by each provincial constitution, which generally determine a term of four years.

The second is the National Congress, consisting of two houses. The House of Representatives composed of two hundred and fifty-seven (257) members elected by direct voting, and a Senate, which consists of seventy-two (72) members elected by each provincial Jurisdiction, three for each province and three for the City of Buenos Aires. In turn, each of the twenty-three (23) provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires has a provincial legislative branch, exercised by the relevant provincial legislature, which consists of one or two houses as prescribed under each provincial constitution.

Finally, the Judiciary of Argentina is exercised by the National Supreme Court of Justice (NSCJ). As the highest judicial authority in Argentina, it is the final legal tier for matters in which it has original jurisdiction (concerning foreign ambassadors, ministers and consuls, and also litigation between provinces), and also for appellate review of cases of unconstitutionality or, as the case may be, by a special federal appeal, where the case requires a decision between two laws of equal or different rank, or with respect to an international treaty.

The judiciary of Argentina consists of two systems, federal and provincial (which relate to each of the twenty-three (23) provinces, under the National Constitution).

The federal judiciary (sitting in different jurisdictions within Argentina) has competent jurisdiction in federal matters occurring in the relevant venue. Federal courts in the City of Buenos Aires are organized into Courts of Appeals and lower courts (referred to as primera instancia) for each subject matter (e.g. commercial, labor, civil and criminal law). In the other jurisdictions, such federal courts have competent jurisdiction on all federal matters.

In turn, provincial justice is in the hands of each province. Based upon the separate jurisdiction acknowledged by the National Constitution, they organize and administer ordinary justice within each territory. Most provincial judiciaries are divided into lower courts, Courts of Appeals and a Supreme Court of each province.

  ©Bulló – Tassi – Estebenet – Lipera – Torassa. Abogados.
This document is only intended to provide guidance on the main topics of Argentine regulations, and does not constitute advice of any kind whatsoever.
Latest update: August 2012.