How to combine structural and individual litigation: the case of the Right to Health in Colombia

Colombia Constitutional Court has protected the right to health through two type of decisions. The first is the result of individual litigation and the judicial remedy consist in ordering the provision of health care to litigants. In these cases, the health care service demanded may be very expensive and not previously financed by administrative authorities. In the second type of decisions, the Court identifies structural health system failures and looks for extending the effects of his decision beyond the litigants. In these cases, the Court orders to administrative authority measures that fix the failures of the health system that causes the violations of right to health, and the Court monitors orders compliance. I argue that this coexistence is problematic and the progressing the fulfillment of the structural order should limit the role of the Court in the first type of cases, especially when it is not possible to universalize the health service demanded in the short term.