Manuel Cepeda

Visiting Faculty

Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor

[email protected] 

Areas of Expertise

Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Human Rights Law, Electoral Law, Arbitration, and Maritime Delimitation Law

  • Manuel José Cepeda Espinosa was President of the Constitutional Court of Colombia from 2005 to 2006 and Justice of said Court from 2001 to 2009, the year in which his term ended. Since then, he has combined legal practice as an attorney, mainly in constitutional law and in arbitration, with academic activities in Colombia and abroad.

    He is a member of the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, presided by Baron David Neuberger Former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Board (Consejo Superior) of Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá), where he was Dean of the Law School (1997-2000) and taught constitutional law.

    From 2013 to 2022, he was Co-Agent of the Republic of Colombia at the International Court of Justice in two cases initiated by Nicaragua against Colombia that ended in judgments favorable to Colombia.

    From 2010 to 2020 he was member of the Court of Arbitration of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota. Since 2010 he has been an arbitrator, specializing in administrative law controversies mainly in contracts in which a public entity is one of the parties.

    In 2015, he was part of the negotiating team on transitional justice during the peace process in Colombia that culminated in a Peace Agreement in 2016 and the demobilization of the FARC guerrilla.

    Approximately 30 years ago, he was a presidential adviser for six years between 1987 and 1993 for two Presidents of the Republic for the creation of the Constituent Assembly, the drafting of the New Constitution and then for the development of the 1991 Constitution. From 1991 to 1992 he was responsible for drafting Decree Law 2591 of 1991 which regulated Accion de Tutela and Decree Law 2067 of 1991 which regulated the constitutional procedure at the newly created Constitutional Court, as well as for drafting several statutory bills concerning the scope and limits of fundamental rights.

    In 1993, he received the Order of Boyacá, in the highest degree of Grand Cross, from President Cesar Gaviria in recognition of his role in the adoption and drafting of the new Colombian Constitution. Times Magazine included him in the roaster of 100 young leaders in December 1994.

    He was Ambassador of Colombia to UNESCO (1993-1995) and later Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Colombia, to the Helvetic Confederation (1995-1997).

    From 2014 to 2018 he was President of the International Association of Constitutional Law, of which he is now President Emeritus.

    He regularly participates in comparative law events. Since 2006, he has taken part in the Global Constitutionalism Seminar organized annually by the Yale University School of Law in September of each year. In the context of this Seminar, he has co-edited several E-Books freely available in SSRN.

    He was invited to teach the 2018 Master Class at the Max Plank Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg (Germany), the 2019 Master Class at the University of Melbourne Law School (Australia) and the 2009 Summer Course on Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Peking (China).

    He has been a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University (2018) and in the Leadership Trough Mentorship program at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University (2019).

    In March 2023 he was invited by the American Society of International Law as Discussant of the Grotius Lecture (to be published).

    In April and May of 2023, he was visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.



    LL.M., Harvard Law School 

    Universidad de Los Andes 

  • 1. La Constitución de 1991: Viviente y Transformadora. Villegas Editores 2021 y Universidad de los Andes 2022

    2. Colombian Constitutional Law: Leading Cases, con David Landau. Oxford
    University Press. Londres. 2017

    3. Teoría Constitucional y Políticas Públicas, coeditado con Eduardo Montealegre Lynett. Universidad Externado, Bogotá, 2007.

    4. Polémicas constitucionales. Legis, Bogotá, 2007

    5. Derecho constitucional jurisprudencial: Las Grandes Decisiones de la Corte Constitucional. Legis, Bogotá, 2001

    6. Las Democracias (con Oliver Duhamel). Tercer Mundo - Uniandes, Bogotá, 1997

    7. La Constitución que no fue : el significado de los silencios constitucionales. El Ancora-Uniandes, Bogotá, 1994

    8. La Asamblea Constituyente por Dentro : Mitos y Realidades. Imprenta Nacional, Bogotá, 1993

    9. La Carta de Derechos: Su interpretación y sus implicaciones. Temis. Bogotá, 1993

    10. Introducción a la Constitución de 1991. Presidencia de la República. Bogotá, 1993

    11. La Constitución de 1991 : Los grandes temas y sus implicaciones para la Enseñanza del Derecho (Ed Dike. Presidencia de la República. Bogotá, 1993,

    12. The Writ of Protection for Human Rights - Power for the Common Man in Colombia, Imprenta Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Junio de 1993

    13. Participatory Democracy and Respect for Human Rights - Colombia ́s New Constitution, Texts and Materials, Imprenta Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Junio de 1993

    14. Los Derechos Fundamentales en la Constitución de 1991. Temis. Bogotá, 1992. Segunda Edición (1997).

    15. Derecho, Política y Control Constitucional. Universidad de los Andes. Bogotá, 1986

    16. Cómo son las Elecciones en Colombia? Guía del Volante. FESCOL, CEREC, CIDER, Bogotá, 1986

    17. Estado de Sitio y Emergencia Económica (Ed.) Contraloría General de la República, Bogotá, 1985