National Council of the Magistrature

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National Council of the Magistrature
Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura
CNM Logotipo.jpg
Logo of the National Council of the Magistrature
Agency overview
Formed 1995
Jurisdiction Government of Peru
Headquarters Paseo de la República No. 3295 San Isidro, Lima, Peru
Gran Sello de la República del Perú.svg
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The National Council of the Magistrature (Spanish: Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura) or CNM is an autonomous constitutional institution that is part of the Republic of Peru. Its primary function is to appoint and ratify all judges and prosecutors in the Peruvian justice system as well as to remove those that fail to fulfill their responsibilities.


Different systems have been used since independence by the Peruvian government to designate impartial judges and prosecutors. The 1933 Peruvian Constitution set up a system similar to the American one which gave the Executive branch the power to appoint judges with the ratification of the Senate.

Juan Velasco Alvarado removed most of the judges that served as part of the Supreme Court shortly after coming to power.[1] A "National Concil of Justice" was set up as an autonomous institution not dependent of any of the branches of government. This was done to solve corruption issues within the Judiciary branch as well as to prevent politics from infiltrating said branch.[2] The function of the Council was similar to that of the modern National Council of the Magistrature.

The Council was made part of the 1979 Peruvian Constitution under its current name. The function of the Council was that of screening and proposing judges. Supreme Court Justices were proposed to the President by the Council and then in turn to the Senate which ratified the appointments. Lower court judges were chosen by the Council and the ratified by small Distritial Magistrate Councils.[3]

This Council was modeled after the Italian High Council of the Judiciary and was similar to other councils in Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela. It was composed by seven members who served three year terms. The Prosecutor General presided over the Council while the other six members were two representatives from the Supreme Court, one from the National Federation of Bar Associations of Peru, one from the Lima Bar Association, and two from Law Schools in Peru.[3]

After the 1992 Peruvian constitutional crisis and the adoption of the 1993 Peruvian Constitution, the Council gained greater autonomy and responsibility.


The council is independent of the rest of the Peruvian government and it is ruled by its own organic law.[4] The members of the council are known as counselors and serve for a five year term and may not be re-elected to a consecutive term. Counselors must be (1) natural-born citizens; (2) at least 45 years old; (3) and an eligible voter.[5]

The council consist of seven members, each of which is chosen by different organizations of Peruvian civil society. The Supreme Court of Peru, the Supreme Prosecutors Administrative Council, The bar associations of Peru, the association of rectors from public universities, and the association of rectors from private universities all choose one member of the council. The rest of the professional associations of the country choose two.[6] An extra two councilors may be elected by the Council for a total of nine.

The council elects from among themselves a President that serves a one year term and may be re-elected once. He is responsible to call for and preside during the council's meetings, execute all decisions, have the deciding vote in case of a tie, and swear in all new judges and prosecutors.[5]

Congress may remove any of the members due to gross misconduct by a two-thirds vote.[7]


The 1993 Peruvian Constitution delineates the Council's responsibilities. Its primary function is to appoint and periodically ratify all judges and prosecutors in the Peruvian justice system; as well as to remove those that fail to fulfill their responsibilities. This includes decisions regarding ascension of judges and prosecutors. In this way, the judiciary branch of the Peruvian government is isolated from political and ideological interference by the other branches of government.

It also elects the head of the National Office of Electoral Processes and the head of the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status which are two of the three institutions in charge of the electoral system and processes.

Judge and prosecutor vacancies are filled through a merit-based public concourse which consist of public hearings, written standardized test, and applications. Counselors are explicitly prohibited of having communication with the candidates as to prevent favoritism and corruption.

Current Crisis

A series of wiretaps were published by the press starting in July 2018 which recorded counselors speaking with prominent businessmen and judges which showed that appointments which showed vast cronyism within the system.

President Martín Vizcarra convened Congress into a special session concerning the removal of all seven counselors on July 20. Congress removed all seven Counselors by a unanimous vote. The National Council was declared in emergency for nine months a week later. Most of the Council's personnel was dismissed, the Council's organic law was revoked, and all processes being considered by the Council were put on hold.

During his yearly message to Congress, President Vizcarra, called for a new Constitutional amendment which would change the composition of the Council as well as the requirements to become a counselor. He also asked that all appointments and ratification done by the council in recent years be revised.

The Constitutional Amendment proposed by the Executive branch brings down the number of counselors from 7 to 5. Under the new system counselors would be appointed by a committee made up of the President of the Judicial Branch, the Prosecutor General, the President of the Constitutional Tribunal, the Ombudsman, and the Comptroller General. Counselors would now have to be licensed lawyer with at least 30 years of experience and of good reputation.

The President asked that the proposed Constitutional changes be ratified by the people via referendum.


  1. ^ Velasco Alvarado, Juan Francisco (1972). Velasco: La voz de la revolucion (in Spanish). Lima, Peru: Ediciones Peisa. p. 234. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  2. ^ Pásara, Luis (28 January 2016). "Perú: 45 años de cambios sin mejora". Justicia en las Américas (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b Eguiguren Praeli, Francisco Jose (2001). "El Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura". Derecho & Sociedad (in Spanish). Lima, Peru. 1 (16): 45–57. ISSN 2079-3634. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Peru's Constitution of 1993 with Amendments through 2009" (PDF). Constitute. p. 40. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b "LEY ORGANICA DEL CONSEJO NACIONAL DE LA MAGISTRATURA" (PDF). Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Conformación Facultades - CNM". (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Peru's Constitution of 1993 with Amendments through 2009" (PDF). Constitute. p. 42. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
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