Exception status


One of the most common types of political and social organization is the State , an entity that enjoys sovereign power with which it can govern and perform a series of social , economic and political functions in a given region. There are several classes of states, one of them is known by the name of state of exception which is used by the head of state when there are disorders or conflicts .

What is the state of exception?

The state of exception refers to the application of a mechanism that is established within the Political Constitution which can be put into practice by the president or head of state when disturbances or serious problems arise in the country .

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of the state of exception
  • Causes
  • Consequences
  • State of exception by country
  • How it differs from the alarm state
  • How it differs from the state of siege
  • Importance
  • Examples of state of exception

What does it consist of

state of exception consists of a form of defense that a country has which is established and contemplated by the legal framework within the Political Constitution. It is a mechanism that can only be activated when the country or region faces a serious conflict situation that is classified as extremely urgent . This then can only be called when, for example, there are serious natural disasters, pandemics, wars or disorders that alter public order and that cannot be controlled .


In the Political Constitutions it is stipulated that all governments that have been constitutionally elected have the right to defend their constitutionality at the time it is affected in such a way that the same State cannot defend it using the resources that are They are protected by the legal framework. Then, it is the State that authorizes control of the situations that alter the order and that produce conflicts through the security forces in order to restore order and solve the conflict.

Characteristics of the state of exception

Among its main characteristics are the following:

  • It is also known as a state of siege , martial law or a state of war.
  • It can be decreed through the president of the republic.
  • It may apply to the entire territory or to specific sites .
  • They are States that have a duration that starts from when it is issued to a maximum of 30 to 90 days .
  • In case the conflicts are not solved, an extension can be made .
  • Produces restriction of freedom regarding the movement and assembly of individuals.
  • When it occurs, power can be delegated to a Chief of National Defense who will be appointed by the president and he will be in charge of assuming the armed forces necessary to reestablish order and public security.
  • There may be some negative effects related to the fundamental rights of individuals.


There are several causes that can provoke the convocation of a state of exception and can involve the political, economic or social field of the population. The causes for it to occur must be originated by an extreme reason or situation in which an imminent danger occurs in the country or nation. One reason may be, for example, epidemics or pandemics or some other type of health emergency that puts the lives of the population at risk.

It is also possible that the state of exception occurs as a type of military alarm that is used to reestablish the order of the population again, here the government must implement a series of measures to control citizens. It is also possible to decree this State due to natural disasters that cannot be controlled or avoided. In the event of serious circumstances that alter the order and produce disturbances , the state of exception also known as a state of siege may be decreed.


Among the main consequences that may arise as a result of a state of exception, the following are mentioned:

  • There is a cessation or suspension of some of the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • There is the suspension of all types of constitutional guarantee .
  • The President of the nation establishes curfews at specified times.
  • Citizens cannot go out on the street with some exceptions, mainly when there is a state of exception due to health emergencies, this is known as Quarantine and in it you can only go out for basic products at certain times.

State of exception by country

Some examples of state of emergency by country are mentioned below.

  • Spain : in the Organic Law , article 116 , it is possible to find the States of exception, the State of Siege and the State of alarm . Any of them must be authorized by Congress and can be applied in different ways in order to preserve order and security in the country.
  • Mexico : in Mexico, the state of exception can be found in its Magna Carta , specifically in Article 29 where it indicates that the executive branch is responsible for ceasing the rights of the inhabitants when it is necessary to safeguard the security of the people.
  • Chile : in Chile, it is contemplated in thecountry’s Magna Carta and four different types of states of exception are established in articles 39 and 40. The States of Emergency , Siege , Assembly and Catastrophe can be applied in the country in in the event ofinternal or external wars , when public order is disturbed, catastrophes or when public calamity occurs.
  • Ecuador : in Ecuador, this type of State is contemplated within articles 28 to 31 of the Constitution . This is where you establish who can apply it, the necessary requirements for it to apply and the responsibilities.
  • Colombia : in Colombia, the only state of exception that is contemplated in the country’s Constitution is the state of foreign war, which is found in Article 212 . It can be applied by the Senate , by the State or by the executive branch to defend the sovereignty of the country.
  • Argentina : here, the Political Constitution contemplates it in articles 23 and 99 and they are based on the State of Siege in order to be able to guarantee the safety of citizens, public order and peace . Only the national executive has the capacity to decree it.

How it differs from the alarm state

The main difference between these two types of states is determined by the severity that can occur as a result of health or political events that affect the community. The state of alarm occurs when there is a situation that alters public order , this type of situation includes epidemics , pandemics , shortages of services or products or health crisis and measures such as the restriction of circulation and the rationing of basic products can be taken. .

In the state of exception, the mechanisms are activated when extremely exceptional situations arise that can put at risk the sovereignty of the country , the way in which a government functions or when the different freedoms of individuals are at risk , depending on the legislation of the country.

How it differs from the state of siege

In the case of the state of siege, it differs because this is a mechanism through which protection can be provided to the sovereignty that a country has but when threats come from abroad or due to internal insurrections . This is a serious scenario that is linked to the presence of wars in which the armed forces are the ones who must make the decisions.


States of exception are of great importance in countries, especially when they must face situations that may affect community members. It is a mechanism through which you can deal quickly and effectively with situations considered to be of social urgency . It is a way in which goods and services can be rationed to avoid depletion , a way to prevent health- related problems from spreadingmore quickly and without control and it is also the mechanism by which a country can defend its lands without endangering the inhabitants as far as possible.

Examples of state of exception

Some examples of a state of exception that have occurred in the world are:

  • At present, most of the countries of the world have had to decide to implement a state of exception in order to face the pandemic caused by Covid-19.
  • In Spain , during 2010, a state of alarm was declared after 35 years of democracy. It occurred because essential public services were not guaranteed and air traffic controllers paralyzed traffic causing a great problem in the tourism sector and in the population.

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