Law No. 29 of 1 February 1996
Law No. 29 of 1 February
Enacting Rules to Protect Competition and Adopting Other Measures
THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Unfair Trade practices
Article 70. Object. The provisions of this title are intended to provide
timely and objective protection to domestic industry or production against
imports that are the subject of unfair trade practices causing or
threatening to cause material injury or prejudice to domestic production
or causing material retardation of the establishment of a domestic
For the purposes of this title, unfair trade practices are taken to mean
subsidies and dumping.
Article 71. Definition. A subsidy is understood to mean:
1. The direct or indirect granting of any financial contribution,
incentive, tax concession or assistance by the State or any of its
institutions to the manufacturing, production or export of a good;
2. The foregoing of, or exemption from public revenue which would
otherwise be due. The exemption of an exported product from duties or
taxes borne by the identical or similar product when destined for domestic
consumption, or the remission of such duties or taxes in amounts not in
excess of those which have accrued, shall not be deemed to be a subsidy;
3. The granting of a financial contribution, incentive, tax concession or
assistance and foregoing or exemption in respect of inputs subsequently to
be used in the production of a final product;
4. Any other form of income or price support to the exporter. In all of
the above cases, a benefit must thereby be conferred.
Article 72. Specificity. A subsidy shall only be subject to countervailing
duties if it is specific.
In order to determine whether a subsidy is specific, the following
principles shall apply:
1. Where the State or the granting authority, or the legislation pursuant
to which the State or granting authority operates, explicitly limits
access to a subsidy to certain enterprises, such subsidy shall be
2. Where the State or the granting authority, or the legislation pursuant
to which the State or the granting authority operates, establishes
objective criteria or conditions governing the eligibility for, and the
amount of, a subsidy, specificity shall not exist, provided that the
eligibility is automatic and that such criteria and conditions are
strictly adhered to. The criteria or conditions must be clearly spelled
out in a law, regulation, or other official document, so as to be capable
3. When notwithstanding the application of the above principles by the
granting authority, or of the legislation pursuant to which the granting
authority operates, there are reasons to believe that the subsidy may in
fact be specific, the following factors may be considered:
(a) Use of a subsidy programme by a limited number of certain enterprises;
(b) predominant use by certain enterprises;
(c) the granting of disproportionately large amounts of subsidy to certain
(d) the manner in which discretion has been exercised by the granting
authority in the decision to grant a subsidy.
4. When the subsidy is limited to certain enterprises located within a
designated geographical region within the jurisdiction of the State or
granting authority, it shall be considered specific.
The term "certain enterprises" shall be understood as an enterprise or
industry or a group of enterprises or industries.
Objective criteria or conditions mean criteria or conditions which are
neutral, which do not favour certain enterprises over others, and which
are economic in nature and horizontal in application.
Article 73. Exceptions. Countervailing duties shall not be imposed on
imports that are the subject of the following subsidies:
1. Assistance for research activities conducted by firms or by higher
education or research establishments on a contract basis with firms if the
assistance covers up to 75 per cent of the costs of industrial research or
50 per cent of the costs of pre competitive development activity, and
provided that such assistance is limited exclusively to:
(a) Costs of researchers, technicians and supporting staff employed
exclusively in the research activity;
(b) costs of instruments, equipment, land and buildings used exclusively
and permanently for research activities;
(c) costs of consultancy and equivalent services;
(d) additional overhead costs incurred directly as a result of the
(e) other running costs, such as those of materials, supplies and the
2. Assistance to objectively disadvantaged regions within the exporting
country given pursuant to a general framework of regional development
(a) It is limited to a complete, clearly designated geographical region
with a definable economic and administrative identity;
(b) It is limited to a geographical region considered disadvantaged on the
basis of neutral and objective criteria, indicating that the region's
difficulties arise out of more than temporary circumstances, clearly
spelled out in law, regulation and other official documents, so as to be
(c) The criteria include a measurement of economic development based on
factors such as per capita income, household income per capita, GDP per
capita, which must not be above 85 per cent of the average for the
national territory; the unemployment rate, which must be at least 110 per
cent of the average for the national territory, and any other factor or
composite of other factors. The measurement of such factors shall be
conducted over a period of three years.
3. Assistance to promote adaptation of existing facilities to new
environmental requirements imposed by law/regulations which result in
greater constraints and financial burden on firms, provided that the
(a) Is a one-time non-recurring measure;
(b) is limited to 20 per cent of the cost of adaptation;
(c) does not cover the cost of replacing and operating the assisted
(d) is directly linked to and proportionate to a firm's planned reduction
of nuisances and pollution, and does not cover any manufacturing cost
savings which may be achieved;
(e) is available to all firms which can adopt the new equipment and/or
Article 74. Definitions. For the purposes of the preceding Article:
1. The term "industrial research" means planned search or critical
investigation aimed at discovery of new knowledge, with the objective that
such knowledge may be useful in developing new products, processes or
services, or in bringing about a significant improvement to existing
products, processes or services.
2. The term "pre competitive development activity" means the translation
of industrial research findings into a plan, blueprint or design for new,
modified or improved products, processes or services, whether intended for
sale or for use, including the creation of a first prototype which would
not be capable of commercial use.
3. The term "general framework of regional development" means that
regional subsidy programmes are part of an internally consistent and
generally applicable regional development policy and that regional
development subsidies are not granted in isolated geographical points
having no influence on the development of a region.
4. The term "neutral and objective criteria" means criteria which do not
favour certain regions beyond what is appropriate for the elimination or
reduction of regional disparities within the framework of the regional
5. The term "existing facilities" means facilities which have been
operation for at least two years at the time when new environmental
requirements are imposed.
Article 75. Definition. Dumping shall be understood to mean the import of
foreign goods at a price lower than their normal value in the exporting
country for sale in the domestic market.
1. A product shall be considered as having been introduced into the
commerce of another country at less than its normal value if the import
price is less than the comparable price, in the ordinary course of trade,
for the identical or similar product when destined for consumption in the
2. When the said price cannot be checked against the domestic price in the
exporting country market, the margin of dumping shall be determined by
comparison with a comparable price of the similar or identical product
when exported to a third country, provided that this price is
The term "representative price" shall be understood to mean the price
determined through a fair comparison between the export price and the
3. When there are no exports to third countries either, a product shall be
considered to have been introduced at less than normal value if the import
price is lower than the cost of the production of the product in the
country of origin plus a reasonable addition for selling cost and profit
In cases where there is no export price or where the court considers that
the export price is unreliable because of association or a compensatory
arrangement between the exporter and importer or a third party, the export
price may be constructed on the basis of the price at which the imported
products are first resold to an independent buyer, or if the products are
not resold to an independent buyer, or not to resold in the condition as
imported, on such reasonable basis as the court may determine.
Article 76. Price comparison. For the purposes of this Chapter, price
comparison shall be made:
1. Between sales carried out on dates as close to each other as possible
and using the rate of exchange applicable for the payment of the imports
on those dates;
2. between sales made at the same level of trade which, in principle,
corresponds to sale at the factory or place of production;
3. between transactions involving similar quantities;
4. taking account of the differences in conditions of sale, taxation,
levels of trade, physical characteristics and any other differences which
could affect the equivalence of the prices to be compared.
Price comparison shall take place at the same level of trade, generally
the ex-factory level, and in the ordinary course of trade.
Article 77. Ordinary course of trade. The term ordinary course of trade
shall be understood to mean habitual trade or trade during a reasonable
time immediately prior to the date of import into the domestic market, in
the country of origin or provenance with regard to identical or similar
goods, between buyers and sellers who are independent of one another.
The term "identical product or good" means a product or good which is
alike in all respects to the product or good under consideration, taking
account of such elements as its nature, use, function, quality, trademark
The term "similar product or good" shall be understood to mean a product
or good which, although not alike in all respects has characteristics that
bear enough resemblance to the product or good under consideration,
particularly as regards its nature, use, function and quality, to be
considered as such.
Material Prejudice or Injury
Article 78. Definitions.
The term injury shall, unless otherwise
specified, be taken to mean material injury to a domestic industry, threat
of material injury to a domestic industry or material retardation of the
establishment of such an industry.
Material prejudice or injury means any material loss or impairment or
deprivation of any significant lawful, normal gain which the domestic
industry or production suffers or may suffer as an immediate result of any
of the unfair trade practices.
Domestic industry shall be taken to mean domestic producers as a whole of
identical or similar products or those of them whose collective output of
the products constitutes a major proportion of the total domestic
production of those products.
Article 79. Determination of material prejudice or injury. A determination
of material prejudice or injury shall be based on positive evidence, and
not merely on allegation, conjecture or remote possibility, and shall
involve an objective examination of:
1. The volume of imports that are the subject of unfair trade practices
and their effect on prices in the domestic market for identical or similar
Consideration shall be given to whether there has been a significant
increase in imports, either in absolute terms or relative to domestic
production or consumption. In determining the effect of such increase on
prices of identical or similar products in the domestic market,
consideration shall be given to whether imports that are the subject of
unfair trade practices are sold at a lower price, or whether the effect of
such imports is otherwise to depress the prices of domestic production to
a significant degree or prevent price increases which would otherwise have
2. The impact of such imports on the domestic producers of such products.
An evaluation shall be made of all relevant economic factors and indices
having a bearing on the state of the domestic industry concerned, such as
actual and potential decline in sales, market share, profits or returns,
output, productivity, return on investments or utilization of capacity;
factors affecting domestic prices; the margin of dumping; and actual and
potential negative effects on cash flow, stocks and inventories,
employment, wages, growth, ability to raise capital or investment. This
list is not exhaustive, nor does one or several of these factors
necessarily suffice to justify a positive determination of material injury
or threat of material injury.
Article 80. Determination of the threat of material prejudice or injury.
In determining whether there is a threat of material prejudice or injury,
consideration shall be given to the exporting capacity of the country or
exporter in question, the likelihood of domestic price decreases as a
result of such imports, the existence of underemployed capacity and an
increase in stocks among national producers. In any event, the threat of
injury shall be based on circumstantial evidence, on facts, and not on
allegations, conjecture or remote possibility, and the injury must be
Article 81. Cumulative assessment of the effects of imports from two or
more countries. In measuring the injury or threat of injury, the volume
and effects of imports of identical or similar products from two or more
countries may be cumulated if such products are under investigation and
are competitive with each other and with the domestic product, provided
the volume of imports from each country is not negligible and the margin
of dumping and amount of the subsidy of each country is not de minimis.
Article 82. De minimis subsidies and dumping. A subsidy shall be
considered to be de minimis if it is less than 1 per cent ad valorem.
If the product is imported from a developing country Member of the World
Trade Organization, a maximum subsidy level of 2 per cent ad valorem,
calculated on a per unit basis, shall be tolerated.
Similarly, the volume of subsidized imports from a developing country
Member of the World Trade Organization shall be considered negligible if
it accounts for less than 4 per cent of total imports of the identical or
similar product, unless the imports from developing country Members of the
WTO which individually account for less than 4 per cent of total imports
collectively account for more than 9 per cent of imports of the identical
or similar product.
The margin of dumping shall be considered to be de minimis if this margin
is less than 2 per cent ad valorem.
The volume of dumped imports shall be regarded as negligible if the volume
of dumped imports from a particular country Member of the World Trade
Organization is found to account for less than 3 per cent of imports of
the identical or similar product, unless countries which individually
account for less than 3 per cent of the imports of the said product
collectively account for more than 7 per cent of such imports.
The special provisions in respect of de minimis subsidies shall come into
force with the accession of Panama to the World Trade Organization.
Article 83. Determination of de minimis dumping and subsidies. When it is
determined that the subsidy or the dumping is de minimis, or when it is
determined that the import of subsidized or dumped products is negligible
in accordance with the above Articles, the investigation shall be
terminated without the imposition of any protective measure.
Article 84. Causal link. There shall be a causal link between the imports
that are the subject of unfair trading practices and the material damage
or prejudice when the actual or threatened prejudice or impairment to the
domestic industry or production of the identical or similar product or the
material retardation of the establishment of such production or industry
is a consequence of such imports.
Where there are other factors which simultaneously cause prejudice to the
domestic industry or production, the injury or prejudice caused by such
factors may not be attributed to the imports that are the subject of
unfair trading practices.
Countervailing or Anti-Dumping Duties
Article 85. Definitions. The term "countervailing duty" shall be taken to
mean a special duty, independent of import duties, established with a view
to counteracting any subsidization of the manufacture, production or
export of a foreign product. The term "anti-dumping duty" shall be taken
to mean a special duty, independent of import duties, established to
counteract the margin of dumping applied.
The term "margin of dumping" shall be understood to mean the price
differential between the normal value of the foreign good and the price at
which such good is imported into the domestic market, in conformity with
Chapter III above.
Article 86. Countervailing or anti-dumping duties. Countervailing or
anti-dumping duties shall in no case exceed the established subsidy or
margin of dumping. Such duties shall remain in force only as long as is
necessary to counteract the unfair trading practice that is causing the
injury. Any definitive countervailing or anti-dumping duty shall in any
case be terminated at the latest five years after the date on which it was
imposed, unless following a court review initiated ex officio or at the
request of an authorized party it is determined prior to that date that
the termination of the duty would result in the continuation or repetition
of the damage and of the subsidy or dumping.
Article 87. Periodic review. The measures imposed under the final
resolution shall be reviewed ex officio or at the request of a party at
least every 12 months with a view to determining whether they are still
Article 88. Revocation. If, as a result of a periodic review, it is
determined that the countervailing or anti-dumping duty is no longer
warranted, it shall be terminated immediately.
Article 89. Evasion. When a product is the subject of a countervailing or
anti-dumping duty and its assembly or final processing is transferred to a
third country after the final resolution has been issued, with a view to
avoiding payment of the said duty, the final resolution may be amended to
provide for the application of the imposed measure to such product coming
from a third country as well.
Article 90. Imports from third countries. The provisions of this Law shall
be fully applicable to cases in which the product that is the subject of
unfair trading practices is not imported directly from the country of
origin, but through a third country. In such cases, the transaction is
considered to have taken place between the country of origin and the
Republic of Panama.
* * *
Provisions Common to the Preceding Titles
Article 115. Conversion of the Price Regulation Office and the Directorate
for Consumer Protection. The budget items allocated to the Price
Regulation Office and the Directorate for Consumer Protection shall be
transferred to the Commission. Such civil servants employed by the Price
Regulation Office and the Directorate for Consumer Protection as are
required for its operation shall be relocated in the Commission; the
remaining staff members employed by those two entities shall be
transferred to other national government agencies where they shall receive
the same remuneration.
Article 116. Statutory limitation. Action to initiate the procedure shall
be subject to a limitation of three years, from the moment at which the
fault took place in the case of practices which restrict competition, or
from the moment at which the fault is effectively known in the case of
unfair trading practices.
Similarly, there is a limitation of one year for such action with respect
to consumer protection. This period of limitation shall be interrupted
upon submission and notification of the request in accordance with the
general provisions of the Judicial Code.
Article 117. Dissemination. The Commission shall disseminate this Law
throughout the national territory and shall organize campaigns to inform
the public of the rights and obligations of consumers and economic agents
and how to make use thereof. Similarly, the Commission shall coordinate
with business and consumer organizations the preparation of
recommendations for the drawing up of contract documents in the areas
governed by this Law.
In connection with the above provision, the annual budget of the
Commission shall include, in addition to the allocations covering the cost
of its campaigns to inform consumers, a total amount which shall in no
case exceed 10 per cent of its dissemination and advertising budget in the
form of a transfer to duly constituted consumer associations recognized by
the relevant entities.
* * *
Article 141. Competence. Three civil circuit courts are hereby created in
the First Judicial District of Panama, to be known as the Eighth, Ninth
and Tenth Courts of the First Judicial Circuit of Panama, and one circuit
court in Colón. Additional civil circuit courts are created in Coclé,
Chiriquí and Los Santos, to be known as the Second Court of Coclé, the
Fourth Court of Chiriquí and the Second Court of Los Santos respectively,
to hear such cases in their respective judicial districts. These courts
shall deal exclusively with the following cases:
1. Individual or collective complaints brought in accordance with this
2. disputes arising from the implementation or interpretation of this Law
in respect of monopolies, consumer protection and unfair trade practices;
3. disputes relating to intellectual property, including, inter alia,
disputes concerning copyrights and neighbouring rights, trademarks of
products or services, and patents;
4. disputes concerning agency, representation and distribution relations;
5. disputes concerning acts of unfair competition;
6. proceedings for repair of collective damage, restoration of property to
the state prior to the impairment and monetary compensation for overall
damages to the community concerned;
7. granting of authorizations to the Commission to institute evidentiary
proceedings, to review private company documents, to carry out searches
and seizures and any other measure requested by the Commission during an
administrative investigation, or to seize evidence;
8. imposition of penalties for violation of the provisions of this Law and
issue of decrees suspending the infringing actions;
9. the pronouncement of protective measures requested by the Commission or
by a particular complainant.
Cases brought within the rest of the national territory under this Law
shall be heard by the corresponding circuit court responsible for business
When the complaint concerns goods or relationships coming in full or in
part within the district of the First Circuit Court of Panama, the courts
created under this Law shall be competent for preventive purposes, at the
request of the complainant, together with the corresponding court, to hear
any of the above cases.
An exception is made for cases assigned exclusively to the Commission.
Paragraph. Until the courts referred to in this Article have been
established, the cases shall be heard by the respective circuit courts.
Transitional paragraph. The procedural regulations laid down by this Law
shall enter into effect immediately. However, the cases mentioned under
number 3 above that were initiated prior to the creation of the courts
provided for in this Law shall be dealt with by the Ministry of Trade and
Industry on their behalf, and shall be governed by the Law in force at the
time of initiation. Cases initiated following the establishment of the
above-mentioned courts shall be entirely governed by this Law.
Article 142. Entitlement. The following shall be entitled to file a claim:
1. Any person affected;
2. the Commission;
3. organized consumer associations;
4. collective management entities.
The court shall decide in each specific case on the admissibility of the
claimed entitlement on the basis first and foremost of the following
(a) The grouping must be made up of components which have suffered
prejudice individually as a result of the acts or omissions committed in
violation of collective interests, in which case the legal personality of
the group may be established within a period of 30 days following the
resolution granting entitlement to act;
(b) defence of the specific type of collective interest impaired must be
expressly laid down in the Articles of Agreement of the grouping as one of
(c) the grouping must be linked territorially to the place where the
claimed infringement of the collective interest has occurred;
(d) the number of members, their years of service, their group's
activities and programmes and any other relevant factor must reflect the
seriousness and responsibility of the group's action in defence of
Article 143. Appellate Court. The Third High Court of Justice of the First
Judicial District, comprising three magistrates, is hereby created.
This Court shall hear appeals against sentences or orders issued at first
instance by the circuit courts in the cases mentioned in Article 141.
Decisions shall be signed by one magistrate, and the judgements or orders
which put an end to the proceedings or call for an end thereto shall be
signed by two magistrates. In case of disagreement, the matter shall be
settled by the third magistrate.
In addition to the requirements set forth in the Judicial Code, the
magistrates must have a minimum of three years experience in commercial
Article 144. Municipal courts. Two municipal courts are hereby created in
Panama City and one in Colón with the exclusive responsibility of hearing
consumer claims involving no more than B 3,000.
In doing so, they shall follow the procedures laid down in the Judicial
Code for ordinary trials involving small amounts.
Paragraph. Until the courts referred to in this Article have been
established, the cases in question shall be heard by the respective
municipal courts of the provincial capitals.
Article 145. Procedural regulations. Except in special cases, the
procedures referred to in Article 141 shall be governed by the following
1. The proceedings shall be oral. The order communicated shall indicate
the date of the hearing, which shall be notified personally to the
2. The time-limit for a communication shall be ten days. In the order of
communication of the request, the judge shall indicate the date of the
preliminary hearing to consider:
(a) The utility of specifying and simplifying the matters at issue;
(b) the necessity or utility of correcting the pleadings of the parties;
(c) the possibility for the parties to accept facts and documents which
render the presentation of certain evidence unnecessary;
(d) limiting the number of experts;
(e) indicating the date and time at which the parties are to appear at the
ordinary hearing with their evidence;
(f) other matters which could contribute to streamlining the proceedings.
The preliminary hearing shall lead to the establishment of the issues to
3. Up to three days prior to the substantive hearing, the parties may ask
the judge to provide a list of witnesses, specifying their place of
residence or business. In doing so the judge shall apply the relevant
4. The hearing calls for the participation of the disputing parties.
However, if the parties fail to appear following a second notification of
the hearing, the judgement shall be made on the basis of such evidence
adduced or accompanying the request and the reply as the judge considers
If the evidence cannot be examined on the day scheduled for the hearing,
it shall be examined on the next working day.
5. The judge may examine evidence ex officio and must, in any case, summon
the parties for verification through an advisory procedure in accordance
with the Judicial Code.
6. Procedural issues shall be decided in the judgement except where the
Judicial Code expressly authorizes a special process or if, by their
nature, they can and must be settled as soon as they are raised. In the
first case, they shall be notified to the opposing party within three days
after they are raised in the second case they shall be resolved directly
with no possibility of appeal.
7. The judge must be present throughout the hearing, failing which his
direct superior, ex officio or at the request of a party or the public
prosecutor, shall fine him a minimum of B 25 and a maximum of B 100.
8. The hearing may only be postponed once and on reasonable grounds stated
by each party prior to its initiation. Otherwise, the hearing shall take
place on the scheduled date with such parties as choose to attend.
9. Only the resolution terminating the proceedings, preventing them from
continuing or imposing provisional or prudential measures may be appealed.
The appeal of the judgement shall have a suspensive effect; the Resolution
imposing provisional or prudential measures shall have a devolutive
effect; and orders terminating the proceedings or preventing them from
continuing shall have a deferred effect.
10. The remedy of appeal shall be governed by Book II, Title XII, Chapter
I, Section 8(a) of the Judicial Code.
Proceedings in Respect of Unfair Trade Practices
Article 146. Initiation of the proceedings. The proceedings shall be
initiated at the request of a party, and may, exceptionally, be initiated
ex officio when the Commission has sufficient evidence of unfair trade
practices, injury and causal link to justify such initiation.
The initiation of a subsidies or dumping investigation shall not be an
obstacle to customs clearance or to the granting of import permits by any
other government entity.
Article 147. Authority of procedural rules and practice. The proceedings
shall at all stages automatically be governed by, inter alia, the
principles of promptness, efficiency, publicity, impartiality and avoiding
Article 148. Entitlement. The following are entitled to initiate
1. The domestic industry or production harmed by imports that are the
subject of unfair trade practices;
2. associations of producers which consider that they are affected or
threatened by imports that are the subject of unfair trade practices;
3. the Commission.
Article 149. Evidence of entitlement.
An application for the initiation of
proceedings shall be considered to have been made by or on behalf of the
domestic industry or production if it is supported by those domestic
producers whose collective output constitutes more than 50 per cent of the
total production of the identical or similar product produced by that
portion of the domestic industry expressing either support for or
opposition to the application.
However, the investigation shall be initiated when domestic producers
expressly supporting the application account for at least 25 per cent of
total production of the identical or similar product produced by the
The court, or the Commission at the court's request, shall determine
whether the above conditions have been met, using statistical techniques.
In the case of fragmented production involving an excessive number of
producers, sampling techniques may be used.
Article 150. Application for the initiation of proceedings. Proceedings
shall be initiated upon submission of an application prepared by a
competent attorney, clearly indicating the factual and legal grounds or
basis for the request and accompanied by evidence of imports that are the
subject of unfair trade practices, material injury or prejudice or threat
of material injury or prejudice, and a causal link.
The application shall contain the following minimum information:
1. Particulars of the applicant;
2. The percentage of domestic production of goods intended for the
domestic market, represented by the goods which the applicant produces for
domestic consumption. It must identify the industry in whose name the
application is submitted by listing all of the known domestic producers of
identical of similar goods or the associations of producers. The applicant
must provide, where possible, a description of the volume and value of
domestic production of the identical or similar good which the said
3. Detailed description of the tariff heading of the imported product,
specifying its quality as compared with domestic production and other
4. Volume and prices of the imports that are the subject of unfair
practices and their impact on the domestic production and producers
5. Names and addresses of the importers and, if known, of the exporters;
6. The country of origin and of provenance;
7. Subsidy or margin of dumping and other facts and data leading to the
presumption of the existence of unfair practices;
8. Determination of material prejudice or injury, or threat of material
prejudice or industry, using the parameters indicated in Title III,
Chapter IV of this Law.
Until the proceedings have been initiated, the parties shall avoid all
publicity regarding the application.
Article 151. Procedure. Upon reception, the application shall be examined
to determine whether it meets the formal requirements established by this
Law and, if so, the investigation shall be initiated.
If the application does not meet the requirements of this Law or if, even
though it meets those requirements, the information submitted is not
clear, the applicant shall be requested to amend the application or
furnish the relevant documents within five working days of notification.
If this period elapses without the applicant complying with the request,
the application shall be rejected and placed on file.
Article 152. Public notice of the initiation of an investigation. Once the
application has been accepted and an investigation initiated, a summary of
the application shall be published in a newspaper with a recognized
Article 153. Communication. The application submitted shall be
communicated to the interested parties within a period of 30 calendar
days, starting seven calendar days after its date of despatch. Likewise, a
copy of the application shall be communicated to the authorities of the
exporting country through the accredited diplomatic or consular
representation in the country or in accordance with the international
agreements to which Panama is party.
The communication shall be accompanied by a questionnaire detailing the
points to which reference should be made in the reply.
Due consideration shall be given to any application for an extension of
the 30-day time limit by the affected party or parties, and such extension
shall be accorded wherever possible when there is sufficient justification
for doing so. Extensions shall not exceed 30 calendar days.
If no reply is received within the time allowed, the investigation shall
continue ex officio.
Article 154. Evidence. The applicant shall supply the evidence of the
existence of subsidies or dumping and that the imports in question are
causing or threatening to cause material prejudice to domestic production
or causing material retardation of the establishment of a domestic
industry in accordance with this Law.
Article 155. Examination of evidence. The court shall require and examine
only such evidence as is necessary in determining the truth of the facts
under investigation in accordance with the information supplied by the
parties and the provisions of this Law, within a time-limit not exceeding
30 calendar days following the response to the communication.
In order to proceed better, the court may at any time request any kind of
information or technical parameters from any of the government agencies,
which shall be required to supply them.
It may also request the interested parties to supply questionnaires,
expert reports, opinions or technical criteria as it deems appropriate,
and order any type of measure to help ascertain the alleged facts.
Article 156. Evidence abroad. The court may, with a view to verifying the
information received or obtaining further details, conduct investigations
and obtain evidence in the territory of the exporting country, provided it
has so notified the authorities of the exporting country and encountered
no objection. The investigation and examination of evidence may also take
place in the facilities of the exporting enterprise subject to prior
Article 157. Access to information. When the authorities of the exporting
country or the interested parties deny access to the necessary
information, refuse to provide such information within a reasonable
time-period or seriously impede the investigation, preliminary or
definitive conclusions may be reached on the basis of the facts available,
including those appearing in the application for the initiation of the
proceedings submitted by the domestic industry or production.
Article 158. Requirements. Through a reasoned decision, the court may
adopt provisional measures in order to prevent, during the period of the
investigation, imminent injury or prejudice to domestic industry or
production that is difficult to repair, provided it is determined that the
imports that are the subject of unfair trade practices cause or threaten
to cause material prejudice or injury.
The reasoned decision shall set forth the arguments of the applicant, the
evidence furnished by the applicant and the arguments in favour of
imposing a provisional measure.
No provisional measure shall be applied before a period of 60 calendar
days has elapsed from the date of the resolution initiating the
Article 159. Types of measures. The provisional measures shall consist of
provisional countervailing or anti-dumping duties. It shall not be
possible to impose both types of provisional measures in response to one
situation resulting from subsidies or dumping.
Article 160. Application. The provisional measures shall involve the
deposit by the importer of a guarantee in accordance with the procedures
laid down by the Directorate-General of Customs of the Ministry of Finance
and the Treasury.
The amount of the guarantee shall not exceed the subsidy or margin of
dumping provisionally calculated, and the duration of the provisional
measure should not exceed four months in the case of subsidies, and six
months in the case of dumping.
Article 161. Imposition. The court shall establish the provisional
countervailing or anti-dumping duties which shall be imposed by the
Cabinet Council or by such entity as the law specifies and applied by the
Directorate-General of Customs of the Ministry of Finance and the
Treasury. Application by the Cabinet Council of such countervailing or
anti-dumping duties as are established shall be mandatory.
Article 162. Application of countervailing or anti-dumping duties. If the
decision is taken to impose definitive countervailing or anti-dumping
duties, such duties may apply for the period for which the provisional
measures were imposed. If the definitive countervailing or anti-dumping
duty is higher than the guarantee amount, the difference shall not be
claimed. If the definitive duty is lower than the guarantee amount, the
amount in excess shall be reimbursed immediately or the guarantee released
for the corresponding amount.
Article 163. Application of definitive countervailing duties. Definitive
countervailing duties may be imposed on products put up for sale within a
period not exceeding 90 days prior to the date of the application of the
provisional measures provided it has been determined that:
1. There has been injury that is difficult to repair as a result of
intermittent massive imports of products involving unfair business
practices in a relatively short time;
2. the retroactive application of such definitive duties is necessary to
prevent a repetition of the injury.
Article 164. Publication. The operative part of the provisional measure
adopted shall be published in a newspaper with a recognized national
Undertakings and Suspension of the Investigation
Article 165. Suspension. The investigation may be suspended and the
proceedings terminated without application of provisional or definitive
duties when the exporter undertakes to review its prices with a view to
eliminating the injurious effect of the unfair trade practice in question.
The price increases stipulated in the undertaking shall not be greater
than necessary to counter balance the subsidy or a margin of dumping. The
price increases shall be less than the amount of the subsidy or the margin
of dumping if such lesser increases suffice to eliminate the injury to the
domestic industry or production.
In the case of subsidies, suspension is also possible when the exporting
State or institution agrees to eliminate or limit the subsidy or to take
other adequate measures to curtail its effects, thereby eliminating the
injury or threat of injury to the national industry.
Article 166. Publication. A summary of the decision to accept an
undertaking and suspend the investigation, including all relevant
information on the factual and legal considerations and the reasons that
led to the acceptance of the undertaking, shall be published in a
newspaper with a recognized national circulation, taking due account of
the confidentiality provisions.
Hearing and Final Resolution
Article 167. Hearing. Having completed the examination of the evidence and
before issuing a final decision, the Substantiating Commissioner shall
summon all of the interested parties to a hearing for the purpose of
informing them of, and hearing their views on, the essential facts under
consideration and which are to serve as a basis for the decision whether
or not to apply definitive measures. The parties shall be given a period
of three working days to submit arguments in defence of their interests.
Article 168. Final resolution. Upon receiving the arguments, the
Substantiating Commissioner shall have ten working days in which to issue
a substantiated decision on the existence of subsidies or dumping,
material injury or prejudice or a threat of material injury or prejudice
to the domestic industry, and a causal link, imposing countervailing
duties or anti-dumping duties on products that are the subject of such
unfair trade practices.
Otherwise, the Substantiating Commissioner shall disregard the application
and terminate the proceedings.
Article 169. Remedy of appeal. The remedy of appeal is the only remedy
against the final resolution, and it must be lodged and substantiated
before the higher court of appeals within ten working days following
The interested parties shall be informed of the appeal within five working
days so that they may present their arguments.
The higher court of appeals shall have 15 working days to settle the
appeal. The appeal shall have a suspensive effect.
Article 170. Imposition of countervailing or anti-dumping duties. Once the
resolution has been made executory, the definitive countervailing or
anti-dumping duties established shall be imposed by the Cabinet Council or
by such entity as the Law specifies, and applied by the Directorate
General of Customs of the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury.
Application by the Cabinet Council of the definitive countervailing or
anti-dumping duties established in the final resolution shall be
Article 171. Publication. The operative part of the final resolution, once
it has been cleared, shall be published in a newspaper with recognized
national circulation. Any subsequently agreed amendment thereto shall also
be published in the same form.
Article 172. Procedural regulations. Class actions may be brought by one
or more members or a group or class of persons that has suffered injury or
prejudice caused by a given good or product, and are understood to be
brought on behalf of the group or class of persons in question. The
Commission and organized consumer associations are entitled to bring such
cases. Class actions are governed by the following rules:
1. One or several members of a class may lodge the complaint on behalf of
all of the members of the class in any of the following circumstances: if
the group is so large as to make the presence of all of its members
impracticable; if there are factual and legal issues common to the group;
if the claims of the representatives are representative of the claims of
the class; if the claims treated separately could result in inconsistent
or divergent judgements; and if the claims treated individually would be
2. The complaint must be accompanied by proof of the alleged injury.
3. Upon receiving the complaint, the court shall enter it on the list and
publish a summons for five consecutive days in a newspaper with a
recognized national circulation for the complainant and all persons
belonging to the group to appear within ten days of the last day of
publication in order to defend their rights, submit arguments or
participate in the proceedings. Once this has been done, notice shall be
given of the complaint.
4. Within the six days following the notification of the complaint, the
judge may, ex officio or at the request of a party, reject any complaint
that is clearly unjustified, ill advised or without legal foundation. The
complainant shall be notified personally of the corresponding resolution,
which may be appealed before the higher court.
5. By producing before the court the powers of the attorney responsible
for taking the legal action or of a legal representative of his choice,
the intervener joins in the complaint and undertakes to pay the
corresponding fees as indicated by the judge in accordance with the amount
of the penalty.
6. The judgement shall affect all of the complainants belonging to the
said group whether or not they have participated in the process.
7. Parties that did not appear as third parties may file their claims
during the implementation stage through the liquidation procedure provided
for in Articles 983, 984 and 985 of the Judicial Code, and obtain
8. Transactions shall be subject to approval by the judge who shall ensure
that the rights provided under this Law are duly protected.
9. Where several attorneys are involved, the judge shall order their
unification, and shall grant the parties three days to reach an agreement.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement during the following three
days, the judge shall decree their unification without exceeding five
attorneys for each complaint. In making appointments the judge shall
consider, inter alia, the lawyers appearing in the list transmitted by the
Commission for that purpose, the qualification of the incumbents, their
experience in the area in question and their appointment by the interested
10. The judge shall charge costs to the unsuccessful party. He shall have
the discretion to settle quota litis agreements and shall indicate the
fees to be paid by the interested parties appearing in the enforcement
stage having obtained a favourable sentence, distributing them fairly
among the attorney responsible for bringing the action and defending the
complainants in accordance, inter alia, with their participation and the
11. During the enforcement stage, the convicted party may, within five
days prior to or following the hearing, raise before the participants in
the proceedings the following pleas:
(d) res judicata;
(e) the participant does not fit the assumptions on which the dispute is
based or does not form part of the complainant class;
(f) the injury or prejudice was caused or aggravated by factors other than
or in addition to product defect;
(g) the participant knew of and accepted the product defect;
(h) the participant did not have lawful title to the good or product whose
utilization resulted in the injury.
Pleas must be justified by filing a motion in conformity with the general
regulations, and shall not have a suspensive effect on the proceedings or
enforcement in respect of the other complainants or participants belonging
to the class in question.
Authentication of Evidence
Article 173. Disclosure. Either of the parties may require the other to
disclose information and supply documentation in any of the following
1. Sworn declarations in response to oral or written questions;
2. examinations, written or directed to the parties;
3. exhibition of documents and other items;
4. permission to enter the territory or facilities of the other party with
a view to conducting visual inspections and for other purposes;
5. physical or mental examinations;
6. request for recognition of facts, property or documents.
Evidence may also be authenticated through the mechanisms laid down in the
Article 174. Supply of information. Except where the judge has set limits,
any party may require the other parties to supply or display information,
property or documents in respect of any matter that is not subject to
professional secrecy, which is relevant to the subject of the dispute and
relates to the complaint or defence of any of the parties, including the
existence, description, nature, ownership, condition and location of any
book, document or other object and the identification or location of
persons having a knowledge of any matter that might be raised.
Article 175. Information on insurance contracts. The parties may obtain
information regarding the existence and content of any insurance contract
under which any person involved in the insurance business may be
responsible, in full or in part, for the judgement of the court of for the
compensation or refund of payments made in execution of the judgement.
The parties may not obtain information on the insurance application
forming part of the insurance contract.
Where more extensive information or additional documentation is requested,
the court may order that it be supplied by such other means as it
considers appropriate, subject to restrictions on the scope of disclosure
and the provisions relating to fees and payments.
Article 176. Resolutions. At the request of the party requesting
disclosure and for good cause, the court may issue such resolutions as are
necessary to protect the party against harassment, humiliation,
unjustified waste or any other abuse, including:
1. Preventing disclosure of a clearly reckless nature or requiring a
security guarantee from the court;
2. permitting disclosure only under certain specific terms and conditions
relating, inter alia, to time, date and place;
3. permitting disclosure only by a means different from the means
4. preventing the investigation of certain matters or limiting of the
scope of disclosure to certain matters;
5. permitting disclosure only in the presence of persons appointed by the
6. permitting a sealed declaration made outside of court to be opened only
following a court order;
7. preventing the disclosure of trade secrets or other research results,
discoveries or trade information of a confidential nature;
8. having the parties provide the court simultaneously with certain
documents or information in sealed envelopes to be opened only upon court
If the application is rejected in full or in part, the court may order any
of the parties to supply or permit the disclosure of information under
such terms and conditions as it considers fair.
Article 177. Means of disclosure. Unless the court rules otherwise at the
request of a party, for the convenience of the parties or the witnesses
and for the sake of justice, means of disclosure may be requested in any
order. The processing of a request from a party for disclosure in the form
of a sworn declaration or in any other form shall not delay disclosure
requested by the other party.
Article 178. Disclosure of additional information. The party that has
fully answered a request for disclosure shall not be required to provide
additional information acquired subsequently, except:
1. In respect of any question aimed at establishing the identity and
location of persons with a knowledge of the facts concerning which they
are required to provide a declaration;
2. where the new information obtained reveals that:
(a) the party's answer was incorrect at the time it was made;
(b) although the answer was correct at the time it was made, it is no
3. where the obligation is imposed by the court or by agreement with the
parties, or at any time prior to the hearing through new requests for
additional information relating to previous replies.
Article 179. Disclosure order. Any party may request the court to order
any specific disclosure subject to due notification of the other parties
and all persons affected.
Article 180. Omissions in the answering of questions. If the respondent
fails to answer a question submitted in accordance with the preceding
articles or a corporation or other entity fails to appoint the natural
person to act as its representative, or if one of the parties fails to
answer the request for inspection made pursuant to Article 230 or fails to
allow the requested inspection to take place, the requesting party may ask
the court to order the respondent to reply, to appoint the representative
or to allow the requested inspection to take place.
If the request is rejected, in full or in part, the court may order the
appropriate protective measures.
Article 181. Evasive or incomplete reply. For the purposes of this Law, an
evasive or incomplete reply shall be considered as a refusal to reply.
Article 182. Contempt of court. Failure to carry out a court order shall
be considered as contempt of court.
Article 183. Refusal. If a party refuses to accept the authenticity of a
document or the truthfulness of any statement, as the law requires, and if
the party requesting acceptance then shows that the document was authentic
or demonstrates the truthfulness of a statement, that party may request
the court to order the other party to pay expenses incurred in such
demonstration, including lawyers' fees. The court shall issue a resolution
to that effect unless it establishes that:
1. The request was objectionable;
2. the requested acceptance was unimportant to the proceedings; or
3. there were good grounds for the refusal.
Article 184. Resolutions. At the request of a party, the court hearing the
case may issue such resolutions as it considers reasonable with respect to
the omissions listed below, and require the party concerned to pay the
costs related to the omission, including lawyers' fees, unless the court
concludes that such omission was justified or that owing to other
circumstances the penalty would not be justified:
1. Failure to appear before the official assigned to hear the party's
statement after having been duly notified;
2. failure to answer or challenge the interrogation;
3. failure to respond to the request for inspection.
Article 185. Presumption. Failure of a summoned party to appear, refusal
to reply or evasive response shall result in the presumption of certain
facts that formed the subject of the admissible affirmative questions
contained in the interrogatories, and the judge shall record this
circumstance during the hearing.
The same presumption shall apply in respect of the facts contained in the
request or the reply thereto when, in the absence of interrogatories, the
summoned party fails to appear. Where the questions were not affirmative,
or the fact in question does not require replies, failure to appear,
evasive response or failure to respond shall be counted against the
1. Oral examination
Article 186. Requests. A party wishing to obtain statements through the
oral interrogation of witnesses shall so notify the other parties in
writing sufficiently in advance, indicating the name and address of the
persons whose statements are requested if known, or, if they are not
known, a sufficiently detailed description of such persons to allow their
The court may, at the request of a party or upon good cause shown, extend
or reduce the time limit for taking statements, and may also fix the date
and order in which the statements are taken in keeping with the interests
of the parties, the witnesses and the administration of justice.
The court shall appoint an interpreter or translator where it deems
appropriate in view of special circumstances.
Article 187. Proceedings. The person taking the statement shall begin the
proceedings by swearing in the declarant. The statement shall be taken
down in shorthand or in another appropriate form, and shall be
transcribed, unless the parties agree otherwise. It shall indicate any
challenges or objections the parties may raise so that the court may
decide, when appropriate, whether they are justified. The party requesting
the statement shall pay transcription costs.
If the person selected by the party wishing to take the witness's
statement is not authorized to swear in the declarant, the judge, at the
request of the interested party, shall grant such authorization.
The court may draw up a list of stenographers which may include those
whose names are supplied by lawyers attached to the court who shall be
authorized, for such time as the court decides, to swear in witnesses
appearing before them to make statements outside of court.
Article 188. Written examination. Parties that have received notice to
take statements may choose to question the declarant in writing rather
than orally. In such case, the questions are drawn up in writing and the
answers are recorded word for word.
2. Written examination
Article 189. Copies. A party wishing to take a statement on the basis of
written questions shall hand a copy of the questions to each one of the
parties, indicating the name and address of the person before whom the
statement must be made.
Article 190. Cross-examination. The party thus notified may submit the
questioning party to a written cross-examination within five days
following the notification.
Article 191. Copies. A copy of the notification and of the questions shall
be supplied by the requesting party to the party indicated in the
notification, who shall proceed to take the witness's statement in reply
to the questions and to act in accordance with the requirements laid down
in Articles 197, 198 and 200.
Article 192. Notification of the parties. Once the statement has been
submitted to the registrar, the requesting party shall notify all of the
other parties thereof.
Article 193. Protective measures. The court may, at the request of a party
or of the declarant, on good cause shown and in consultation with the
parties, issue an order for the said statement not to be made, or for the
statement to be taken by means of oral or written examination.
4. Errors and irregularities in the statements
Article 194. Correction. The notification to the party concerning the
taking of statements shall be considered as cleared of all errors,
irregularities or omissions unless a written objection is addressed in
good time to the requesting party.
Article 195. Disqualification. No objection shall be brought on the
grounds of disqualification of the person before whom the statement is to
be made unless such objection is lodged prior to the initiation of the
statement or as soon as the objecting party learns or could have learned
of the said disqualification.
Article 196. Foregoing the right of objection. The right to voice
objections pertaining to the legal incapacity of a witness, to the
invalidity or inappropriateness of the statement, to errors and
irregularities in the way in which the statement was taken, the questions
formulated and the answers supplied or in the way in which the witness was
sworn in, to the conduct of the parties or to any other errors that could
have been cleared through objection at the appropriate time during the
statement, shall be considered to have been forfeited.
Article 197. Renunciation. The right to object to the form of the written
questions submitted shall be considered as having been renounced unless
such objection is submitted in writing and notified to the responsible
party within the time-limit set for the cross-examination.
Article 198. Clearance. Unless the total or partial withdrawal of a
statement is requested promptly after the time at which a fault was
discovered or could have been discovered, such errors and irregularities
as may have been committed in the transcription of the statement or in its
preparation, signature, authentication, sealing and dispatch or submission
to the court, or in any other related action, shall be considered to have
5. Reading, correction and signature of the statement
Article 199. Reading and signature. Once the statement has been
transcribed, it shall be submitted to the declarant for reading and
signature unless the declarant and the parties forgo such requirement,
which fact shall be recorded in the record.
Article 200. Finalization. The person before whom the statement was made
shall record any amendment the declarant wishes to make and the reasons
for such amendment. The statement, with such amendments as may have been
made, shall be signed by the declarant except in case of renunciation by
the parties, incapacity or death of the declarant or renunciation of
signature by the declarant. If the declarant fails to sign the statement,
the person before whom the statement was made shall sign it and record in
the record the reason why it was not signed by the declarant.
Article 201. Use of the statement. Once the above requirements have been
met, the statement may be used for the purposes for which it was taken
except if the court, at the request of a party, decides that the reasons
adduced by the declarant for refusing to sign the statement justify its
6. Certification and submission of the statement
Article 202. Certification. Once the statement has been completed in
accordance with the preceding Article, the person before whom the
statement was made shall certify that the declarant was duly sworn in and
that the document certified by him contains a faithful transcription of
the statement. He shall place the document in a sealed envelope
identifying the case and the declarant, which he shall submit or send
without delay, by registered post, to the registrar of the court in
Article 203. Copy of the statement. The person before whom the statement
was made shall supply a copy of the statement to any other parties or to
the declarant against payment of fees approved by the court.
Article 204. Notification of the parties. The person before whom the
statement was made shall immediately notify the parties of its submission
to the registrar of the court.
Article 205. Completion of the statement. If one of the parties does not
adduce the statement in full, any of the other parties to the proceedings
may put forward part or the rest of the statement.
Article 206. Substitution of the parties. The substitution of parties
shall not affect the right to use statements taken previously in the
course of the proceedings, and statements made during proceedings that
were abandoned may be used in subsequent proceedings involving the same
parties, their representatives or assignees with the same effect as if
they had been originally made to be used in such subsequent proceedings,
provided they concern the same dispute.
Article 207. Failure to appear. If the party that has notified the wish to
take a statement fails to appear or if the declarant fails to do so
because he was not summoned, and the other party does appear, the court
may order the party that did not appear or by whose fault the declarant
did not appear to reimburse the expenses incurred by the other party and
the legal representative of the other party in appearing, including
reasonable lawyers' fees.
7. Entitlement to take statements
Article 208. Entitled persons. Statements may be taken in the Republic of
Panama by any official authorized by the law to swear in the declarant, or
any person appointed by the court, who is thereby empowered to swear in
the declarant and take the statement.
Article 209. Statements abroad. Statements may be taken outside the
Republic of Panama subject to notification of the parties:
1. By a person authorized to swear in the declarant under the laws of the
country in question or of Panama;
2. By a person appointed by the court for that purpose, who is thereby
empowered to swear in the declarant and take the statement; or
3. Through letters rogatory.
The appointment of authorized persons by the court or the dispatch of the
letters rogatory shall take place, subject to request and notification of
the parties, under terms and conditions that are fair and appropriate. The
notice or letter of request shall mention the name, title and function of
the person before whom the statement is to be made.
Article 210. Disqualification. Sworn statements shall not be taken by a
relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or the second degree of
relationship by marriage; by the employee, legal representative or adviser
of any of the parties or the employee of such legal representative or
adviser; or by anyone having a pecuniary interest in the case or relative
of such person up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or the second
degree of relationship by marriage, or relative of the legal
representative or adviser.
8. Agreements between parties on the taking of statements
Article 211. Agreements between the parties. Unless the court decides
otherwise, the parties may:
1. Agree in writing that the sworn statements may be taken, subject to
prior notice, before any person, at any time and place and in any form,
and that when they have been taken, they may be used in the same way as
any other sworn statement;
2. alter the proceedings established under these provisions, using other
means of disclosure. However, agreements to extend the deadline for
response to the request for disclosure may only be concluded subject to
approval by the court.
Article 212. Use of the statements. During the ordinary hearing or during
the hearing held in response to a request, all or part of a statement
admissible as evidence may be used against any party that was present or
represented at the taking of the statement or was duly notified thereof,
1. By any party, with a view to refuting or challenging the testimony of
2. By the opposing party, for any purpose, when the statement was made by
the other party or by any person who at the time at which it was taken was
an official, a director, an agent or an administrator of a legal person,
public or private, party to the proceedings;
3. By any of the parties, for any purpose, in the case of a statement by a
witness or one of the parties when the court determines:
(a) That the witness is deceased;
(b) that the witness is outside of Panama, unless it is proved that the
absence of the witness is attributable to the party submitting the
(c) that the witness cannot appear or make a statement owing to advanced
age, illness, disablement or imprisonment;
4. If the party submitting the statement has not obtained the appearance
of the witness through a summons.
Article 213. Objections. Subject to the present provisions, an objection
may be raised, during the ordinary hearing or the hearing held in response
to a request, to the admission of any statement or part thereof, for the
same reasons that would have made them inadmissible if the declarant had
been present in the proceedings.
10. Pending statements or statements pending appeal
Article 214. Contribution of statements. Persons wishing to ensure that
their own testimony or the testimony of another person is considered in
respect of a matter that could be brought before a court of the Republic
of Panama may submit to the court a sworn request to that effect. The
request shall be made under oath and shall indicate:
1. That the requesting party wishes to participate in a case being heard
by the said court but is not currently in a position to file the suit;
2. the nature of the suit they wish to file and their interest in such
3. the facts they wish to establish through their testimony and the
reasons why they wish their testimony to be heard;
4. names and description, and, where known, the address of persons who
could constitute the opposing party, and the essential points of the
testimony they hope to obtain from each one of them, with a request to the
court for authorization to take the requested statements.
Article 215. Notification. The requesting party shall ensure that each one
of the persons mentioned in the request as a possible opposing party is
personally notified, and shall supply them with copies of the request
indicating the intention to ask the court for their corresponding
authorization at the date and place mentioned therein.
Article 216. Decision. The court shall issue a decision containing the
name and description of the declarants, the subject of their statements,
and the name of the person before whom the statements are to be made,
indicating the place, date and time of the statements and whether they are
to be based on oral examination or written questions. It shall summon the
persons in question to make their statements.
Article 217. Transfer of statements. If a statement taken judicially
abroad to preserve testimony is admissible in the courts of the country in
which it was taken, such statement may be used in subsequently initiated
proceedings in a court of the Republic of Panama on the same subject
provided the parties to both cases are the same.
Article 218. Statements under appeal proceedings. If a judgement of the
court is appealed or if the time limit for appeal has not yet elapsed, the
court that issued the judgement may, at the request of a party, order that
statements be taken from witnesses for use in subsequent court
The statements may be taken and used in the form and under the conditions
set forth in this Law for cases still pending in court.
Article 219. Interrogatories. Any party may serve any other party with up
to 20 written questions and the party receiving the questions must supply
all information to which it has access. The said interrogatories may be
served following the initiation of the proceedings without judicial
Article 220. Replies. The questions must be answered under oath, in
writing and separately, and must be signed by the party under examination.
The party under examination must submit its answers and objections to the
examining party within 45 days following receipt of the questions.
Article 221. Incomplete replies. The examining party may claim before the
court the inadequacy of the replies or of the objections to the questions,
and the court, unless it considers the answers to be adequate and the
objections valid, shall order that they be corrected.
Article 222. Confidential matters. The court may exempt a party from
answering questions even if there has been no objection within the
established time-limit when such questions concern matters of a
confidential nature which the declarant is not under any legal obligation
to answer, or when they do not comply with Article 174.
Article 223. Additional information. The questions may be submitted after
a statement has been taken, or a statement taken after the questions have
Article 224. Protective measures. The court may, at the request of the
party under examination, order the protective measures described in
Article 225. Acceptance of the facts.
Any of the parties may request
another party to accept the truthfulness of a given fact, including the
authenticity of any document. The request must be accompanied by copies of
the said document unless such copies have already been supplied or made
available to the party, for examination and copying. The request may be
made to any of the parties without authorization by the court.
Article 226. Forms of acceptance. Each item for which acceptance is
requested must be indicated separately. The fact, statement or
authenticity of the document shall be considered as accepted unless the
requested party provides the requesting party with a written answer or
objection, signed by the party or its legal representative, within 30 days
of receipt of the copy of the request, or of the notification of the
time-limit set by the court.
Any objection raised must be substantiated.
The reply must specifically deny the truthfulness of an assertion or the
authenticity of a document, or explain, in detail, the reasons why the
party cannot reply affirmatively or negatively.
The replying party may not claim lack of knowledge or information as an
excuse for refusing to answer affirmatively or negatively unless it shows,
under oath, that it has conducted a reasonable investigation and that the
information or knowledge available is not sufficient to warrant an
affirmative or negative answer.
The request referred to in the preceding Article may not be rejected
merely because it raises a controversial issue which must be discussed in
the hearing. The party may refuse to accept an item or explain the reasons
why it can neither accept it or reject it.
Article 227. Request or clarification or supplementary information. The
requesting party may challenge before the court, the adequacy of the
answers or objections, and the court shall order the requested party to
reply unless it considers the objections to be valid. The court may
consider an item to be accepted and order a reply to be corrected if it
does not meet the requirements of this Article; otherwise, it may postpone
its final decision until the preliminary hearing or any other date prior
to the ordinary hearing.
Article 228. Effects. All items that have been accepted in accordance with
the preceding Articles shall be considered as definitively established.
Acceptance by a party in conformity with this Article may only be used in
the case under consideration and does not constitute acceptance for any
Inspection of Documents
Article 229. Obligation to submit documents. Without prejudice to the
preceding articles, any of the parties may ask the court to order another
party to supply specific documents in their possession, custody or control
which constitute or could serve as evidence of the facts that may be
legally disclosed and have a bearing on the issues in dispute, or permit
them to be examined, copied or photocopied.
Article 230. Judicial inspection. A judicial inspection may be requested
during or prior to the hearing of the places or objects that are to be the
subject of the proceedings.
The inspection may be conducted with the help of experts appointed by the
court or by the parties, and may be accompanied by a display of moveable
property where necessary for the purposes of the judicial examination.
At the request of the judge or of a party, maps, drawings or photographs
are made of the place or objects under inspection.
Recognition of Private Documents
Article 231. Optional recognition. A person wishing to recognize a private
document of his may do so before the judge, subject to prior
Article 232. Request. A person wishing to have another person recognize
judicially a private document may so request the judge.
The judge to whom the request for recognition of one of the mentioned
documents is submitted shall summon the signatory or the person who
ordered the signature to recognize the document under oath, indicating the
date and time of verification.
Once the recognition has taken place, the judge shall order the document
to be returned with the acknowledgement to the person by whom it was
requested so that he may exercise his rights, provided the document does
not form part of a file.
Provisions Common to the Proceeding Chapters
Article 233. Reviews. Requests for review of appellate decisions by the
High Court of Appeals are possible:
1. In the case of judgements involving civil penalties referred to in
Article 27 of this Law or which order the dismantling of a concentration;
2. In the case of judgements pronounced pursuant to a class action;
3. In the case of judgements which impose penalties of B 500,000 or more;
4. In the case of judgements pronounced by the High Court of Appeals in
suits concerning economic concentrations.
The remaining decisions of the High Court of Appeals are not subject to
Suits concerning economic concentrations come within the jurisdiction of
the High Court of Appeals as the court of sole instance.
Article 234. Residual rule. Without prejudice to the provisions of the
special laws, the provisions of the Judicial Code shall also apply to this
Law in respect of matters not covered by this Law.
Article 235. Opinion of the Commission. In collective actions, the judge
shall request the opinion of the Commission; in the case of individual
complaints, the judge may use his own discretion. The Commission shall
transmit its opinion within a non-renewable period of three days following
receipt of the note containing a copy of the relevant documents.
Article 236. Discretionary functions of the Commission. The Commission
shall have the following discretionary functions in connection with the
proceedings, without prejudice to such other functions as may be required
for reasons of efficiency and to ensure compliance with judicial
1. To advise the judge on the representativeness of groups bringing cases
before the court in defence of collective interests and on the demarkation
of the group or category represented by the authorized association in
order to identify the persons affected by the judgement;
2. to decide as to the technical suitability of prudential measures and
report to the judge on failure by the person responsible to respect such
3. to introduce the mechanisms necessary to the effective publication of
the records of the proceedings and contribute to the amicable settlement
of the dispute, providing the judge with a draft settlement for submission
to the parties;
4. to issue reasoned opinions with respect to the determination of overall
compensation and the share of each responsible party therein;
5. to conduct all of the necessary hearings concerning acts implying
decisions involving the collective interest concerned such as disclaimers,
acceptance of payments, transactions or any means of discharging the
obligations of the responsible party.
Article 237. Communication. In the cases referred to under Article 141,
subparagraph 3, the judge shall inform the administrative entities
responsible for intellectual property rights of the acceptance of the
request. The judge shall also send an authenticated copy of final
decisions which in any way modify, encumber, annul or confirm the
intellectual property rights protected under the relevant legal
* * * * *
FOR COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION
Adopted on third reading at the Palacio Justo Arosemena, in Panama City,
on the .. day of January 1996.
Dr. Carlos R. Alvarado A.
The Secretary General
Erasmo Pinilla C.