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Visit to the University of Costa Rica’s Law School Library

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The following is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, Senior Legal Information Analyst at the Law Library of Congress.

On March 28 and 29, 2012, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on the subject of “The Political Question Doctrine in U.S. Constitutional Law,” which was organized by the Supreme Court of Costa Rica‘s Constitutional Chamber.  The seminar participants analyzed the contours of the U.S. political question doctrine, drew comparisons with its Latin American constitutional equivalents, and engaged in a rich debate about the possible reformulation of this doctrine in the region.  Following the seminar, I spoke with the Chamber’s President, Magistrate Ana Virginia Calzada, and presented her with a copy the Library of Congress Law Library: An Illustrated Guide.

Also in attendance was Professor Allan Brewer-Carías, a good friend of the Law Library of Congress and frequent visitor.  He kindly dedicated a copy of his newest book titled Derecho Procesal Constitucional: Instrumentos para la Justicia Constitucional [Procedural Constitutional Law: Instruments for Constitutional Justice] to our collection.  I also received a copy of the Código de Trabajo de Costa Rica, Anotado con Jurisprudencia [Labor Code of Costa Rica, Annotated with Jurisprudence], which has been added to our collection.  

On March 29, I was fortunate to participate in a roundtable conversation about online legal information at the University of Costa Rica’s Law School, where I presented on the topic of “Online Legal Research at the U.S. Library of Congress.”  The Roundtable was organized by the Legislative Assembly’s Department of Library Services, Documentation and Information, and was hosted by the Dean of the Law School, Mr. Daniel Gadea.  Speakers included Edith Paniagua, Director of the Department of Library Services, Documentation and Information; Sofía Cordero, Director of the Centro de Información Jurídica en Línea (Online Legal Information Center, CIJUL) at the University of Costa Rica; and Francisco Salas, Director of the Sistema Costarricense de Información Jurídica (Costa Rican Legal Information System, SCIJ).

The very thoughtful presentations by our Costa Rican colleagues brought to mind the fact that Costa Rica, as a national station, won the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) Model Station award in 2005, and that three of Costa Rica’s Affiliate GLIN stations (Attorney General’s Office; Legislative Assembly’s Technical Services Department; and the University of Costa Rica) were recipients of the first GLIN Model Affiliate Station awards in 2011, as was reported in the December 2011 issue of the GLIN Global Journal.

Finally, I had the opportunity to meet with the Law Library Director at the University of Costa Rica’s Law School, Ms. Alcira Cascante, who gave me a tour of their very impressive legal collection, and offered to collaborate with the Law Library of Congress on any future projects that may be developed between our institutions.

My visit and experiences left me with a very good impression of the professionalism of our Costa Rican colleagues, the warmth of the Costa Rican people, and the natural beauty of their country.

Sonia Villegas, Chief, Center of Jurisprudence, Constitutional Chamber; Ana Virginia Calzada, President of the Constitutional Chamber; Dante Figueroa, Law Library of Congress.
Alcira Cascante, Law Library Director, University of Costa Rica Law School, and Dante Figueroa.


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