Full Case Name:  Fallo Kattan Alberto c/ Estado Nacional. Año 1982

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Country of Origin:  Argentina Court Name:  Second Federal Contentious Administrative Court of 1st Instance Primary Citation:  42.470/83 Date of Decision:  Tuesday, May 10, 1983 Judge Name:  Oscar Garzon Funes Docket Num:  expediente 42.470/83
Summary: Before the Argentina National Constitution of 1994, the attorney Alberto Kattan and Juan Schroder brought an action of amparo (protection of rights) against the national government to prevent the hunting of 14 Commerson's dolphins that had been authorized by the national government. The question was whether these people had a cause of action as they had not suffered any direct or personal harm. The court declared the action of amparo valid leaving the administrative authorizations that allowed the hunting of Commerson's dolphins without effect.
Documents:  PDF icon 83100000 (1).pdf (31.5 MB)

Attorney Alberto Kattan and Juan Schroder brought an action of amparo against Argentina’s national government. Plaintiffs sought the invalidation of two administrative authorizations that allowed two foreign companies "Sunshine International Aquarium" and "Matsushima Aquarium" to hunt and export 14 Commerson's dolphins for commercial purposes. Plaintiffs alleged that, as there is not enough research on the species, the hunting of these animals could severely affect the environment, the population, and life expectancy of such animals.

The Second Federal Contentious Administrative Court of 1st Instance, decided that the action of amparo was valid and declared the nullification of the administrative authorizations S. S. P. 1942 december 13 ,1982 and 50 S. S. P. February 3, 1983 that authorized "Sunshine International Aquarium" and "Matsushima Aquarium" to hunt and export 14 Commerson’s dolphins between January 2 and December 31 of 1983. In its reasoning, the court stated that, “Humans did not seem to understand that when a species goes extinct it is gone forever” and that “the scientific advances of the modern civilization had undoubtedly meant the devastation of much of the wildlife” and, therefore, the ecological balance of the biosphere. The court continues to say that the Argentina government was giving away the cetaceans to Japanese companies alleging a cultural exchange without taking into account the lack of scientific knowledge on the population, habits, and population size of the species. In this case, the court for the first time recognized that persons, in their name and that of their family, were authorized to act, invoking the rights of the whole society. Essentially, it was the recognition of the legitimacy of any person to protect the environment. The 1994 National Constitution expressly recognized the obligation of all persons to preserve the environment, and the possibility for the affected persons to file an action of ‘amparo’ to achieve such protection.


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