Dispute Resolution - Starting Proceedings

Dispute Resolution - Our experts respond


How are civil proceedings commenced? How and when are the parties to the proceedings notified of their commencement? Do the courts have the capacity to handle their caseload?


Proceedings commence through the filing of a complaint. Once the complaint is admitted, the court instructs service on the defendant. The defendant is personally served through the judiciary. If the defendant is a corporation, then its legal representative would have to take service. If the defendant or its representative is not within Panamanian jurisdiction, letters rogatory have to be sent to the foreign jurisdiction through diplomatic channels. The defendant has to be provided with a copy of the complaint and order of admission, and will be required to sign the order of admission. At such moment, the term for answering the complaint shall commence. If the defendant cannot be located, an absentee party defendant shall be appointed.


The Panamanian judiciary’s caseload is significant and the allocated budget restricted, and as a result, the progression of proceedings is slow.


PATTON, MORENO & ASVAT - Key contacts Dispute Resolution in Panama

Ebrahim Asvat (easvat@pmalawyers.com) | Khatiya Asvat (kasvat@pmalawyers.com | Joaquin De Obarrio (jdeobarrio@pmalawyers.com)


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An extract of the Dispute Resolution Guide 2021, originally published by Getting the Deal Through / Lexology