Non-judicial legal accountability: The case of the Chilean comptroller general

Courts are often perceived as the ideal institutional embodiment of the legal accountability. It is for judges to make sure that actions by government agencies conform to legal rules and procedures. Yet we usually miss the importance of non-court machinery that also performs a crucial legal accountability role. The concepts of bureaucratic justice, administrative justice and adjudication, internal administrative law, horizontal accountability, and non-judicial dispute resolution may be used precisely to refer to this phenomenon. In this paper, the author will explain why the Chilean comptroller-general is an example of non-judicial legal accountability. This institution has played a critical function in the Chilean constitutional landscape for over a century. This paper will describe the main structure and functions of this office. The author also will try to present the institution of the Chilean comptroller-general in the broader Latin American context.