Courts of Puerto Rico

The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico is the highest court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  It has the ultimate judicial authority within Puerto Rico to interpret and decide questions of local commonwealth law.  As the highest body of the judicial branch of the Puerto Rican government, it is equivalent to the state supreme courts of the U.S.

Under the discretion of U.S. Supreme Court, final decisions of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico can be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari.[i] The U.S. Supreme Court can exercise its appellate jurisdiction when validity of a U.S. treaty or statute drawn is in question.[ii] The U.S. Supreme Court can also exercise its appellate jurisdiction when constitutionality of the statute created by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is in question.  U.S. Supreme Court can also exercise its jurisdiction when issue is related to any title, right, privilege, or immunity is specially set up or claimed under the U.S. Constitution.[iii]

The term ‘state court’ in the Supreme Court Rules includes the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  Also, the term ‘statutes’ in the Supreme Court Rules refers to all the statutes framed by the government of Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

However, the Supreme Court Rules only implement the jurisdictional statute that deals with review by U.S. Supreme Court of final judgments of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  The term ‘state court’ includes the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico only for the purposes of the Supreme Court Rules.  The Supreme Court Rules do not define these terms for the purposes of other jurisdictional statutes.[iv]

[i] 28 USCS § 1258

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] Examining Bd. of Engineers, Architects & Surveyors v. Flores De Otero, 426 U.S. 572 (U.S. 1976)


Inside Courts of Puerto Rico