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Challenging the constitutionality of Indonesia’s Investment Law

Yudha Fathoni

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In 2008, a high-profile case was filed by a coalition of civil society organisations in the Constitutional Court of Indonesia to challenge the validity of the 2007 Investment Law. SPI (Serikat Petani Indonesia, the Indonesian Peasant Union), and a wider national coalition, considered aspects of this law to be a threat to the rights of peasants. The court ruled that the law did not accord with the Constitution.

Initiating constitutionality review processes is one strategy used by SPI’s legal unit to advance the rights of peasants through legal avenues on behalf of its members – that is, taking a case to the Constitutional Court in order to challenge the compatibility of legislation with the national Constitution. This paper distils lessons from SPI’s experience. It discusses the steps taken, the court decision, and the lessons learnt on how to make more effective use of this legal strategy. It also touches on important parallel strategies.

This paper has been produced under IIED’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.

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