Externado Professor’s Doctoral Thesis obtains honors

The thesis by Juan Carlos Covilla, Administrative Law Department Professor, obtained the First "Eduardo García de Enterría" Award and the XV "Manuel Giménez Abad" Award. Also, the thesis was recommended for publication.

The professor defended his thesis, “The inter-administrative coordination relationship and local autonomy guarantee,” on September 14, 2017, at the University of Barcelona. He was awarded, unanimously, a rating of “Outstanding Cum Laude.”

Professor Juan Carlos Covilla obtained an Externado University scholarship to pursue Law Ph.D. studies at the University of Barcelona, Spain (2013-2017). Currently, he is a full-time professor-researcher at the Administrative Law Department.

“The goal of the thesis was to establish the concept, rationale, features, and limits of the inter-administrative coordination relationship, consisting of unilateral decision-making by entities, targeting entities on the local agenda,” he said. The legal systems of Spain, Italy, Colombia, and the European Union were analyzed.

According to Covilla, the objective was to establish guarantees allowing recognizing and defending the local autonomy recognized in the political Constitution. “The coordination mechanisms studied were not only those established by the law (such as the case of plans), but also other mechanisms that may be more effective, but which are not recognized by law; such as the case of subsidies and aid, or soft law, he added.

The thesis received honorable mentions in two awards, with a recommendation for publication. On the one hand, the Administrative Law thesis received the First “Eduardo García de Enterría” Award from the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies (Madrid, Spain), the first award this prestigious research center has granted to a thesis on Administrative Law. On the other hand, the XV “Manuel Giménez Abad” Award for research on political and territorial decentralization, from the Fundación Manuel Giménez Abad de Estudios Parlamentarios y del Estado Autonómico (Zaragoza, Spain).

This work, says the Professor, is of interest in the Colombian legal system, as it establishes a concept of coordination, as a legal principle of the administrative organization and inter-administrative relationship. Therefore, serving to solve problems arising today, such as mining and popular consultations in the municipalities, while national entities, such as ministries, make decisions linking municipalities, and the latter, in turn, demand the recognition of territorial autonomy established in the Constitution.

Covilla studied Law at the Externado de Colombia University; while pursuing his undergraduate studies, he performed as a monitor of the Municipal Government Department, which today is part of the Administrative Law Department. Also, he obtained a Master’s in Administrative Law at our House of Studies.

During his Ph.D. studies, he was a visiting researcher at the Scuola di Specializzazione in studi sull’amministrazione pubblica (SPISA) of the University of Bologna, in Italy (2017), which earned him the Ph.D. international mention.

In addition to being a visiting researcher, he completed a graduate course (L.L.M.) in European Public Law at the Academy of European Public Law, EPLO (2016), and formed part of the team awarded the “Ferrer Eguizábal” Prize on Administrative Law monographs for the collective work

“La crisi económica i la creixent preocupación per l’estabilitat pressupostària i la sostenibilitat financera,” in Barcelona, Spain (2017).