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UPDATE: An Electronic Guide to Mexican Law

 

By Francisco A. Avalos and Elisa Donnadieu
Update by Francisco A. Avalos

 

Francisco Avalos had been Foreign and International Law Librarian at the University of Arizona College of Law Library. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 1971 and his Master of Library Science in 1976. He is the author of several books and articles dealing with the legal system and history of Mexico. He has served as past President and Secretary of AALL FCIL- SIS and has made several presentations on the Mexican legal system at national conferences and conventions. He has been a special consultant to the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade for the last ten years.  He is now retired and does consultant work.

 

Elisa Donnadieu is a 1997 graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law. She has worked with the Pima County Public Defender’s office since 1998 and continues to do so on a part-time basis. She had been enrolled in the Library Science Master’s program at the University of Arizona and had a fellowship with the University of Arizona College of Law Library.

 

Published September 2012
(Previously updated by Francisco A. Avalos in November 2009 and August 2011)
Read the Archive Version!

Table of Contents

          I.     A Brief History of the Mexican Legal System

        II.     Federal Government

      III.     Major Primary Federal Legislation

A.    Federal Laws

B.    Federal Regulations

      IV.     Legislation Sources

        V.     Official Mexican Government Websites

      VI.     Political Parties

    VII.     State Governments

  VIII.     NAFTA

      IX.     Overall Coverage of Mexico

        X.     Mexican Publishers of Legal Materials

      XI.     Free Translation Sites

 

I. A Brief History of the Mexican Legal System

The Mexican legal system has historical roots that go back to 16th century Spanish law and to Pre-Colombian indigenous law.  After the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire, they found an advanced indigenous legal system in place.  The Spanish crown did not rid itself of the indigenous legal system completely; instead, it kept those indigenous laws and legal institutions that did not go directly against the Spanish customs or against Church Doctrine.  The Spanish Crown also introduced its own laws and legal institutions that were intended solely for Colonial Mexico, legislation that did not exist in Spain.  Spain ruled Mexico for over 300 years and consequently left its mark on the legal system of Mexico.

 

After Mexico finally established independence, it went through a series of different constitutions.  The current Mexican Constitution is commonly referred to as the 1917 Constitution.  The official name is the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos).  The Federal Constitution is the most important political document in Mexico. 

 

It is the source and origin for all Mexican law.  The hierarchy of sources of law in the civil law tradition to which Mexico’s legal system belongs are, “constitution, legislation, regulation, and custom.”  The constitution will override all legislation, legislation will override all regulation, and regulation will override all custom.   International treaties are also trumped by the constitution.  They come after the constitution, and before federal legislation.

 

Mexico's legal system stems from the civil law tradition. The civil law tradition divides the law into two major areas of law: private law and public law. Private law concerns the legal relationships between individuals. Public law concerns the legal relationships between individuals and the state.  The main tenets of the civil law tradition concern areas dealing with persons, things, and obligations, and their relationship.  These legal tenets are found and expressed in the most important codes of the modern civil law states: the civil code, the commercial code, the criminal code, the code of civil procedures, and the code of criminal procedures.

 

Codes in the civil law tradition have been written through the years on the assumption that using a rational scholarly process, rules and laws can be formulated to apply to most all situations that may arise. As a result, codes tend to be very detailed and vast in size. The Mexican codes, like most Latin American codes, borrowed greatly from the European codes of the late 19th century. Individual articles in the codes are not regarded as narrow rules. If no applicable article is found for a given situation, several articles may be viewed in combination, and a general rule may be deduced from the articles to reach a solution. Ideally, the code article or articles that are relevant are found and applied in an almost mechanical fashion to the given situation with no need for any legal interpretation.

 

Of course, in practice in our modern complex world all situations of possible legal conflict cannot be foreseen and provided for. Many situations occur where legal interpretation is required. In these situations the fact that the civil law tradition had its origins in the universities and not in the courts is significant. The civil law tradition was developed by legal scholars and not by judges and lawyers, as is the case with the common law tradition. Thus, the "authorities" of the civil law tradition were, and continue to be, legal scholars and not judges and lawyers.

 

The legal scholars of the civil law tradition produce legal treatises that are referred to as doctrine ("doctrina" in Mexico). Civil law tradition judges, lawyers, and law students will refer to the doctrine of the leading legal scholars as common law tradition judges, lawyers, and law students will refer to case law. According to John H. Merryman, "the law in a civil jurisdiction is what the scholars say it is."

 

Although the principle of "stare decisis" is not recognized in the civil law tradition, the Mexican judiciary does create case law to some extent.  The Supreme Court and federal collegiate courts may establish formally binding precedent called "jurisprudencia." "Jurisprudencia" is established by having five consecutive and consistent decisions on a point of law. "Jurisprudencia" is binding on the court that established it and on all lower federal and state courts. Many of the legal treatises listed in the guide have the word "jurisprudencia" in their title. It is important to remember that in these instances "jurisprudencia" means case law and not the general study of law.

 

II. Federal Government

According to article 40 of the Mexican Constitution, Mexico is a "federal, democratic, representative Republic composed of free and sovereign States”.  There is a centralized federal government and 31 individual state governments.  Mexico City, the national capital, is located in the Federal District. 

 

Articles 49 to 107 of the Constitution established the organization and division of the powers of the federal government. The federal government is divided into three separate and independent branches of powers.  They are the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and the Judiciary Branch.  Article 49 states that each branch of power is independent of the others, and that no two or more can be united in one person or one institution. 

 

Executive Branch-Articles 80 to article 93 of the Constitution established the Executive Branch.  The President is elected by direct popular vote to a six-year term with no possibility of reelection.  The Mexican Constitution empowers both the executive and the legislative branches to initiate legislation, but only the Chamber of Deputies can initiate bills concerning loans, taxes, imposts, and the recruitment of troops. Each new bill must pass both Chambers by a majority vote. Once a piece of legislation is passed by the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, the bill is sent to the president for promulgation of the bill. The president has the power of the veto, which the legislative branch can override by a two-thirds vote in each Chamber. Although the Constitution limits the executive as to the type of legislation it can initiate, in practice the executive branch initiates almost all legislation and certainly all legislation of any consequence

 

The president then has the new law published in the official government newspaper (Diario de la Federación). The president also issues the "reglamento" for the new law-the rules and regulations that give effect to the more general provisions of the new law. The "reglamento" has the same force as the new law to which it refers. 

 

The executive branch is also is responsible for initiating and negotiating international matters such as bilateral treaties, unilateral treaties and international conventions, with Senate approval.  The President also has broad powers of appointment which not only include his cabinets, but covers such diverse areas as congressional appointments, military appointments and judicial appointments to mention some, with Senate approval.

 

The executive is empowered by the constitution to assume sole control of the government in case of emergencies. The emergencies and procedures for the executive to assume sole control of the government are defined and articulated in Article 29 of the Constitution.  The executive branch of government in Mexico has the most political power. 

 

President - This is the president’s official website, which is also available in English.  The President is elected to a six-year term with no possibility of reelection.

 

Chamber of Deputies  (Cámara de Diputados) Articles 50 to article 79 of the Constitution establish the Legislative Branch.  The legislative branch is comprised of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Legislative sessions begin on September 1 and must end by December 31; although, a special session may be called by, and only by, the Permanent Committee. The Permanent Committee is composed of 15 deputies and 14 senators, and is elected by their respective chambers at the end of each regular legislative session.

 

There are 500 Deputies in the Chamber of Deputies.  300 Deputies are elected by direct popular vote.  The remaining 200 seats are allocated on the basis of each political party’s popular vote.  The Deputies are elected to a three (3) year term.   The Deputies can serve more than one term, but cannot be reelected for an immediately succeeding term.

Deputies are elected to a three (3) year term and there is one deputy for every 250,000 people in a state.  Three-fourths of the deputies are elected by direct popular vote, with the remaining one-fourth selected in proportion to the votes received by each political party.  They also cannot be reelected for an immediately succeeding term.

 

The Chamber of Deputies is the only branch that may initiate bills concerning loans, taxes, imposts, and the recruitment of troops.  However, in practice the executive branch initiates almost all legislation.  The official website (in Spanish) for all such legislation can be found here.  It provides a complete collection of over 230 codes, statutes, laws, regulations and other legal materials.  The materials are all in Spanish and are updated on a regular basis.  The site lacks a search engine, but the materials can be accessed by name and article number.  I highly recommend this site for all Mexican legal research.  This site is not for the novice.  The site is free.

 

Senate- The Senate (Cámara de Senadores) has 128 members.  Ninety-six of Senators are elected in three-seat constituencies (corresponding to the nation's 31 states and one Federal District) and 32 are elected by proportional representation on a nationwide basis. In the state constituencies, two seats are awarded to the plurality winner and one to the first runner-up.  All Senators serve a six year term running concurrently with the newly elected president.   Senators cannot be reelected for an immediately succeeding term. 

 

Judiciary Branch – Articles 94 to article 107 of the Constitution establish the Judiciary Branch.  There are no elected judges in Mexico, they are all appointed.  Supreme Court - The Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts. It is composed of 11 Justices and one (1) Chief Justice. The justices are nominated by the President and the Senate may approve with a 2/3 majority; however, if the Senate fails to act within 30 days, the appointment becomes automatic. The Justices are appointed with life tenure but they may be removed by the President with the approval of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

 

Supreme Court  - The Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts.  It is composed of 11 Justices and one (1) Chief Justice.  The justices are nominated by the President and the Senate may approve with a 2/3 majority; however, if the Senate fails to act within 30 days, the appointment becomes automatic.  The Justices are appointed with life tenure but they may be removed by the President with the approval of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.   There are no elected judges in Mexico, they are all appointed.

 

III. Major Primary Federal Legislation

Constitution- The Constitution calls for a federal democratic republic composed of free and sovereign states.  There is a centralized federal government and individual state governments.   The Mexican Constitution is based on seven (7) basic principles: a declaration of human rights, national sovereignty, division of powers, the representative system, a federal structure, constitutional remedies, and the supremacy of the state over the church.  The Constitution calls for an active government that has a moral obligation to not only promote human and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights.  The Constitution is seen as an instrument that should bring social change. All power is derived from the people

 

The Constitution is divided into nine sequential titles.  The titles are subdivided into chapters, which are not sequential.  The chapters are further subdivided into articles, which are sequential throughout the Constitution.  The Constitution also has transitory articles.  All Mexican states have their own state constitution. The Mexican Constitution can be found here , and an English version can be found here.

 

Federal Civil Code (Código Civil Federal) - The Mexican Federal Civil Code is the most important piece of legislation after the Mexican Constitution.  The scope and coverage of the Civil Code is extremely broad.  The Civil Code reflects the revolutionary spirit and nationalism of the Mexican Constitution of 1917.  In the Civil Code, community interests override individual interests; private property rights are not absolute. 

 

The Civil Code consists of over 3,000 individual articles organized into books, titles, chapters, articles and sections.  There are four books in the Code; Book 1, Persons (individuals and corporations), Book 2, Property, Book 3, Succession, Book 4, Obligations.  The Code articles are numerically arranged, with each article getting a unique number.  This means that all you need to find a particular provision in the Civil Code is the article number, and not the book number, title number and chapter number.  The Mexican States have their own civil codes, most of which are copies or are based on the Federal Civil Code.

 

The civil code has been translated into English; none could be found on the Internet; one website where it is available in Spanish is here.

 

Federal Procedures Code (Código Federal de Procedimientos Civiles) - The Federal Code of Civil Procedure consists of 577 Articles that are divided into 4 books.  The main parts of book 1 deals with rules concerning who can participate in a federal civil action, federal civil jurisdiction vs. state civil jurisdiction, rules of evidence rules and appeals. Book 2 mainly covers filing procedures and the enforcement of decisions. Book 3 deals with special procedures for certain topics such as successions disputes, property boundaries disputes, expropriation maters, and voluntary jurisdiction. Book 4 covers international cooperation.  Book 5 deals with class actions suits, double Jeopardy, judiciary expenses.  The Federal Procedures Code in Spanish can be found here. I could not find an English version of the code that provided free Access.

 

Commercial Code - The Commercial Code has wide application in Mexico.  It is federal code because commercial matters fall under federal jurisdiction. Commercial code regulates: all commercial activity including contracts, documentary credit, credit institutions, land and water transportation, bankruptcy and arbitration.  It also covers procedures for commercial litigation.

 

The Code is organized into five books.  Book 1 covers Merchants, Book 2 covers Overland Commerce, Book 3 has been repealed (it covered maritime commerce), Book 4 covers Bankruptcy, and Book 5 covers Mercantile Actions.  The Code is further subdivided into titles, chapters and articles (over 1460 articles).  There exists in Mexico further commercial legislation that is not part of the Commercial Code.  The Mexican States do not have their own commercial code.  There are several versions of the Commercial Code in translations.  A Spanish version of the Commercial Code can be found here.

 

Mexico has a federal criminal Code and 31 state criminal codes, as found in the United States.   There is also one Federal Criminal Procedures Code with jurisdiction throughout the country for federal matters, and 31 state criminal procedures codes with jurisdiction within each state for state matters.  I have not found English versions of the Federal Criminal Code or Criminal Procedures Code.  A Spanish language version of the Federal Criminal Code can be found here and a Spanish language version of the Federal Criminal Procedures Code can be found at here.

 

A.    Federal Laws: A very complete list of federal laws of can be found here .

 

B.    Federal Regulations: A very complete list of federal regulations can be found here.  

 

For Case Law (“Jurisprudencia” and “Tesis Sobresalientes”) See Supreme Court.  Cases can be found here.

 

Diario Oficial de la Federación - In Civil Law tradition the country’s legal matters/legislation must be published in the “Official Gazette” before it can go into effect.  The gazettes, which are legal newspapers, are known as “diarios” or “gacetas” in Mexico, and are published on a daily basis by the government.  This is the official source for all new legislation.

The Diario Oficial de la Federación can be found online for free here. The site is in Spanish, but site offers a translation option that is very good. 

 

The starting point for nearly all Mexican legal research is a code, a law, or a statute.  Once the relevant legislation is determined, the specific code article or articles that apply to the specific situation must be located. Keyword searching, as used in most legal research, is not applicable in Mexican legal research. Mexican codes do not have indexes; instead codes provide a short, general table of contents. The table of contents can be located either at the front or at the back of the code.

 

In Mexican legal research, the search is done by thinking in broad, general legal concepts and then working down to the specific. As an example, the search in the Mexican civil code for the divorce articles would not start with "divorce" but with "of persons" since divorce deals with a relationship of persons. Under the "of Persons" heading one would find divorce, marriage, adoptions, birth registration, death registration, and other matters relating to a person as a legal entity. A person becomes a legal entity at birth and loses this capacity at death.

The second step in Mexican legal research involves finding the doctrine that applies to the situation under study. Most of the doctrine is organized by legislation articles chronologically, which makes for easy access. As is the case with legislation, the doctrinal treatises do not have indexes with few exceptions, but provide only a short, general table of contents.

 

The third step in Mexican legal research is the most difficult step. This step involves searching for Supreme Court "jurisprudencia" and "tesis sobresalientes." "Tesis sobresalientes" are case decisions of note that have persuasive value, but are not binding on lower courts as is the case with "jurisprudencia." Decisions of the Supreme Court are officially published in the "Semanario Judicial de la Federación" (Judicial Weekly of the Federation).

 

Your law library may have them depending on their international/foreign law collection.  You may also purchase a subscription on line.

 

IV. Legislation Sources

  • Institute for Legal Studies (Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas, UNAM) - The Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas is the foremost legal institute in Mexico and Latin America.  The site offers a comprehensive collection of not just primary materials, but also secondary materials.  The materials are in Spanish and are updated on a regular basis.  Mexican Federal and State legal materials are available.  I highly recommend this site for all Mexican legal research.  Spanish and a basic knowledge of the Mexican legal system are required to make full use of this site.  The site is free.
  • Jurisprudencia Mexicana  (Grupo Universal de Derecho A.C., Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas de la UMAN) - This is another website that the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas maintainsThe emphasis is on "jurisprudencia" case law, which is organized by subject manner.  All of the materials are in Spanish, but the site is user friendly.  I recommend this site for "jurisprudencia" research.
  • Senado De La República (Senate of the Republic) - This is the official website of the Mexican Senate. Here can be found a complete collection of laws, regulations and other legal materials.  The materials are all in Spanish and are updated on a regular basis.  The site has a search engine that can be useful.   I highly recommend this site for all Mexican legal research.  This site is not for the novice.  The site is free. 
  • Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (Supreme Court of the Nation)  - This is the official website of the Mexican Supreme Court.  Here can be found a complete collection of codes, statutes, laws, regulations and case law.  The materials are all in Spanish and English are updated on a regular basis.  The site has a search engine that can be useful.   This site is not for the novice.  The site is free.  
  • Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas, UNAM) - The Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas is the foremost legal institute in Mexico and Latin America.  The site offers a comprehensive collection of not just primary materials, but also secondary materials.  The materials are in Spanish and are updated on a regular basis.  Mexican Federal and State legal materials are available.  I highly recommend this site for all Mexican legal research.  Spanish and a basic knowledge of the Mexican legal system are required to make full use of this site.  The site is free.
  • The “Justia México” website offers complete coverage of Mexican federal and state primary legal materials.  The federal materials are organized into: Constitución; Leyes; Códigos; Reglamentos; Estatutos; Ordenanzas.  The state materials are organized by state and then by; Constitution Estatal; Leyes Estatales; Códigos Estatales.  The materials are in PDF files and all the materials are in Spanish.  The website has a search engine and law blogs. The website is free and I recommend this site to all researchers that can work with Spanish language materials.
  • Leyco ; This Website has over 250 laws, regulations and other legislation in Spanish and English.  The materials are obtained directly from the Chamber of Deputies collections this site can be searched by subject, keyword, or by use of a subject index.  Each law begins with a complete index of the sections of the law and at the end of each law there is reference to other related laws. There is no fee.  
  • Mexican Laws in English - This site has a good collection of laws, regulations, decrees and standards.  The main areas it covers are customs, maquiladoras, transportation, labor, health and the environment.  The value of this site is that the materials are available in English translation.  The site claims over 3,000 pages of translated materials.  This is the ideal site for people that do not speak Spanish, but want to work with Mexican Law.  This is not a free site, but the charges are reasonable for translations. 
  • Library of Congress: Global Legal Information Network  - This is a very good starting point for the novice researcher of Mexican Law.  The site provides links to more than legal information on Mexico (country reports, commerce guides, government guide, etc.).  The values of this site are the many links that lead to primary materials.  There are few documents online at this site; it is mostly made up of very useful links.  The site is updated on a regular and frequent basis.
  • Biblioteca Digital del Sistema ITESM - This is a site created and run by the Law School at the Tec of Monterrey.  The site is in Spanish and offers Mexican primary legal materials and secondary legal materials.  There are many good legal studies available at this site.  Some services are restricted to Tec Students and Tec Faculty.
  • Internet Law Library: Laws of Other Nations: Mexico (in Spanish) - Legislation site; provides the user with the Mexican Civil Code, the Federal Constitution, its reforms and the most recent Constitution, as well as the different State constitutions, etc.  This is a very comprehensive site. 
  • National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade - This is the most complete Mexican Law site that I have found.  The collection of primary and secondary legal materials available is comprehensive.   The site has laws, regulations, decrees, standards and secondary resources.  It also has access to the “Diario Oficial” on a daily basis.  There are translations available at this site.  Translations are also available upon request.  The site has a search engine that makes for easy access to the materials.  This is a one-stop store for Mexican legal materials.  This site is ideal for the serious researcher, whether he/she might speak Spanish or not.  This is not a free site, but the fees are very reasonable.

 

V. Official Mexican Government Websites

  • El Portal Ciudadano del Gobierno Federal Mexicano - This is the official Mexican Government websiteThe site is a complete source for information on Mexico and has a very good legal section.  This is a "must" view site for anyone doing research on Mexico.  The materials are in Spanish and the site is free.
  • Governments on the WWW: Mexico - This is the most extensive collection of links to the Mexican Government that I have found on the net.  The site is divided into: Federal Institutions, State Institutions, City Institutions and Representations in Foreign Countries.  The materials are mostly in Spanish.
  • Law Research - This site is a collection of links to many federal and state government offices in Mexico.  The list is extensive and lists more government offices than you normally find on any one site.  The site also has links to Mexican legal primary materials and secondary materials.  The site has a search engine that helps a great deal to find what you may need.  This site is a very good resource for people interested in the Mexican Government’s structure and functions.  Most links are to Spanish language sites.
  • BANCOMEXT - This site contains links to Mexican Government Agencies and Information.  The list of government offices is comprehensive.  Some state agencies are included, which adds to the value of this site.  Also included are links to some of the top educational institutions in Mexico.  Most of the information is in Spanish.
  • This site (in Spanish) provides a list of different governmental agencies and links to their websites.
  • Banco de México- This is the official website of the Central Bank of Mexico, the equivalent to our Federal Reserve Board.  This is the site for research concerning all monetary matters of the Mexican Government.

 

VI. Political Parties

  • Partido Accion Nacional (in Spanish) – This site includes basic information on the party, its history, its different candidates and elected officials, how to become a member of the party; the party’s views on “female politics” and issues relating to juveniles.
  • PRI-Partido Revolucionario Institucional- Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI (in Spanish) – This site includes basic information on the party, its history, its different candidates and elected officials, how to become a member of the party; the party’s views on “female politics” and issues relating to juveniles. 
  • Partido de la Revolución Democrática- Partido de la Revolución Democrática PRD (in Spanish) – This site includes basic information on the party, its history, its different candidates and elected officials, how to become a member of the party.
  • Partido del Trabajo México- Partido del Trabajo PT (in Spanish) – This site includes basic information on the party, its history, its different candidates and elected officials, how to become a member of the party.
  • Partido Verde- Partido Verde Ecologista de México PVEM.  (in Spanish) – This site includes basic information on the party, its history, its different candidates and elected officials, how to become a member of the party.
  • Partido Convergencia-Convergencia (in Spanish) – This site includes basic information on the party, its history, its different candidates and elected officials, how to become a member of the party.
  • Nueva Alianza- Nueva Alianza (in Spanish) – This site includes basic information on the party, its history, its different candidates and elected officials, how to become a member of the party. 
  • Political Database of the Americas  - This database is mainly a collection of links to information on Mexico’s political system.  This database is organized around seven major subject headings: (1) Constitution, (2) Electoral System, (3) Civil Society, (4) Political Parties, (5) Executive Institutions, (6) Legislative Institutions and (7) Judicial Institutions.  Most links are to primary materials in Spanish.  The federal coverage is good, but the state coverage is very limited.

 

VII. State Governments

Each Mexican State has its own “Diario”. They are also known as “gacetas” and “boletines”. 

 

States

  • Aguascalientes - (in Spanish ) This website provides “Leyes Estatales” (State Laws), “Leyes Federales” (Federal laws), “Códigos Estatales (State Codes), “Reglamentos Estatales” (State Regulations) and a section that contains decrees, accords and other legal documents required in the legal system of the state of Aguascalientes.
  • Baja California-(in Spanish) Official State website for Baja California.  This site provides information on the State government’s structure, organization, and provides a link to the State’s constitution and its laws, which are made available in PDF form.  There is also information on the climate, tourist attractions, and the education system in Baja California. 
  • Baja California Sur-(in Spanish) Official State website for Baja California Sur.  This site provides information on the State government’s structure and organization, and provides a link to the State’s constitution and its laws, which are made available in PDF form.  There is also information on the climate and tourist attractions, and the education system in Baja California Sur.
  • Campeche – (in Spanish) This site provides information on the government, tourism, and links to  

       the different State governmental agencies.  There is a link to the State Attorney General, once

       there you can access pages on how to report different crimes and on crime prevention.  You can  

       search the site - also there is a link to the legislature, which provides its history, the current   

       legislation as well as a directory of the different commissions and committees.

  • Chiapas – (in Spanish) There is a link to the Judicial Library that provides the different State laws including the State constitution and also the Federal Constitution on-line.
  • Chihuahua – (in Spanish) This website provides information on the history, government, and tourism of the State.  It also has a link to the different government agencies including the judicial branch and specifically to the Attorney General’s website.
  • Coahuila-(in Spanish) This website is operated by the state legislature and is a very complete site for juridical state information.  It contains all state legislation (laws, codes, regulations, etc.) and municipal legislation for selected cities and towns.  The materials are arranged by general topics which require going through several screens to get to the desired materials.  A reading knowledge of Spanish is required for this website.  
  • Colima- (in Spanish) This website belongs to the state congress and offers access to the state constitution, laws, regulations and selected city/town statutes.  Also included in this website are state government’s actions and news.  This is a very complete website for Colima legal research.  
  • Distrito Federal – (in Spanish) This site has an option to translate into English, but it is not a good translation at all.  It is an official website that supplies the state’s law.
  • Durango - (in Spanish) This is a comprehensive website with all state laws not only listed, but annotated.  You can do keyword and subject searching. There are also secondary materials found at this site.   This is a very well planned and maintained website.  A person with a reading knowledge of Spanish can navigate this site without problems.
  • Guanajuato – (in Spanish) The State’s laws are available on this official website.
  • Guerrero  - (in Spanish) One can access their legislative page by first clicking on “gobierno”.
  • Hidalgo - (in Spanish) This is a comprehensive website with all state laws, decrees, resolutions and accords not only listed, but annotated.  You can do keyword and subject searching. There are also secondary materials found at this site.   This is a very well planned and maintained website.  A person with a reading knowledge of Spanish can navigate this site without problems.
  • Jalisco – (in Spanish) This is a very comprehensive site.  Not only does it present a history of the law, it also makes available the different laws, the constitution, and the makeup of the congress among other things.
  • México State-(in Spanish) This website is very complete and well organized for legal research for the state of Mexico.  A person with just a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish can navigate this website with ease.  The website could set the standards for all state legal materials in Mexico and the United States.  
  • Michoacán – (in Spanish) This site does provide the state’s codes, laws and constitution, but it is not easy to find initially.  Click on “Gobierno”, “Poder Ejecutivo” then “Legislación Estatal” and once there, go to the index (“Índice General”) this will provide you with a list of the information.
  • Morelos- (in Spanish) This website offers an alphabetical list of all state codes and laws.  You can review the list and find what you need with no problems.  This website does require a basic knowledge of Spanish since there is no subject or keyword search option.
  • Nayarit - (in Spanish) This website has laws and regulations that can be searched by keyword and title.  There is also information on all three state powers and their dependencies.    A person with a reading knowledge of Spanish can navigate this site without problems.
  • Nuevo León – (in Spanish) From this official site’s homepage, one can go directly to the state’s laws, codes, regulations and constitution by clicking on “Leyes y Reglamentos”.  The documents are available in html format and PDF format.
  • Oaxaca - (in Spanish) This website has federal, state and municipal laws.  The laws are listed by title with references to the latest reforms.  There is also a section for new laws.   A person with a reading knowledge of Spanish can navigate this site without problems.
  • Puebla – (in Spanish) Find laws, constitution and regulations under “Legislación Vigente”.
  • Querétaro - (in Spanish) This website has state laws, decrees, accords and regulations.  The materials are listed alphabetically by title.  All state government entities are listed with their relevant legislation.   This is a very complete juridical state website.   A person with a reading knowledge of Spanish can navigate this site without problems.
  • Quintana Roo – (in Spanish) Once at the homepage, click on “Legislación,” that will take you directly to where the laws, constitution and regulations are posted. 
  • San Luís Potosí  - (in Spanish) This website has laws and regulations that can be searched by keyword and title.  There is also information on all three state powers and their dependencies.    A person with a reading knowledge of Spanish can navigate this site without problems. 
  • Sinaloa – (in Spanish) The laws and codes are easy to find.  After entering the site, click on “Transparencia” and then “Leyes y Códigos”.
  • Sonora – (in Spanish) There is an English version that is currently under construction.
  • Tabasco-(in Spanish) This website has laws and regulations that can be searched by keyword and title.   The site also has state case law.  The site is user friendly and very easy to navigate.   A person with a reading knowledge of Spanish can navigate this site without problems.
  • Tamaulipas – (in Spanish) There is a link to the laws and constitution on the homepage.
  • Tlaxcala – (in Spanish) One can get directly to the laws from the homepage.
  • Veracruz – (in Spanish) In order to find the legal information, you need to search for “leyes” which will provide a very comprehensive list.  There is an option to view the site in English; however, there is a limited amount of information you can access in English.
  • Yucatán – (in Spanish) Go to “administración” and at the bottom of that page click on “leyes y normas,” which appears in very fine print.  Not many of the laws are provided although the constitution is.
  • Zacatecas – (in Spanish) Once at the homepage, go to “poder legislativo” to find the law.  However, you will only find the law granting the different branches power and the constitution.
  • Hot Links to all state governments, state laws and state gazettes can be found here .

 

VIII. NAFTA

  • PRECISA.GOB.MX - This site is dedicated to Mexican Government's Websites and to the Mexican State Governments.
  • NAFTA: Mexican Ministry of Economy, Embassy of Mexico, Washington D.C - This site’s purpose is to “promote exports and foreign investment in Mexico, to assist companies to do business with Mexico, and to follow up-to-date Mexico-U.S. trade relations.”  The site is more business-related than legal, but the information is up-to-date and gives good coverage of NAFTA’s legal issues.  The information is in English.
  • NAFTA Information; NAFTA Information Center; U.S. Customs Service  - This site was created to “provide the import and export community and the Customs Service with accurate information on NAFTA Agreement”.  The site is trilingual and is more business-related than legal.
  • United States Department of Homeland Security, NAFTA-This website is operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security.   The site is comprehensive and geared to the practitioner.  It contains the agreement, which can be searched by keyword, and all relevant documents such as annexes, legislative history, harmonized tariff schedule, certificates of origin, appeals information, NAFTA guides, relevant links and other free trade agreements of the United States.   I recommend this website to all persons researching NAFTA or working with NAFTA.
  • United States Immigration Service Center: NAFTA - This site has comprehensive information on the immigrations issues associated with NAFTA.  There is information on the procedures and requirements for temporary movement of professionals.  
  • Office of the United States Trade Representative NAFTA-This website is operated by the Office of the United States Trade Representative NAFTA Section.  Much useful information on NAFTA can be found at this site.  It also offers access to government experts on NAFTA.  I recommend this site to persons interested in participating in NAFTA trade.

NAFTA - Duke Law- The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented on January 1, 1994. It is designed to remove tariff barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Introduction - Text of the Agreement - Background Information - Dispute Resolution”.

NAFTA-“This guide is an introduction to the research process that, while not being an exhaustive list of information resources available, should be helpful in getting started in your research about NAFTA.  Below you will find pointers to suggested research terms about NAFTA, materials in the library catalog about NAFTA, websites relevant to NAFTA, and links to library databases that contain information about NAFTA”.

NYU Law, Library - Nafta Guide- This guide lists essential sources for researching the North American Free Trade Agreement system. The main tabs have general sources not listed under the drop-down menus. Links go to online sources or to more information about print sources.

NAFTA Works- Mexico's Ministry Of The Economy Website. The site is in English and very complete on all NAFTA related matters.

“General Information about NAFTA NAFTA Full text in English · NAFTA Full text in Spanish ... Doing business with Mexico”.

Electronic guide to the best Mexican law websites- Jorge A. Vargas’ “Best Mexican Websites”.

·       A Treatise For Legal Practitioners And International Investors Guide To Electronic Resources For Mexican Law. By Jorge A. Vargas

·       American Law Sources On-line -“The home of American Law Sources On-line providing a comprehensive, uniform, and useful compilation of links to freely accessible on-line sources of law for the United States and Canada”.  With links to Mexican resources.

·       The Law Library of Congress, the Mexico page.

·       Mexico and its legal system-Online guide to the law and legal materials of Mexico by Jorge A. Vargas.  A very good introduction written for LLRX.com.

·       Mexican Laws-“Mexican laws S.A. de C.V. is a Mexican corporation that provides English translations of current Mexican legislation. Translations are organized using the basic structure of oversight and enforcement under Mexican law”.  This is a pay site, with some free resources.

IX. Overall Coverage of Mexico

  • A Mexican Legal System: Immigration Laws (in English)
  • Mexican Legal System: Overview (in English) -Compares Mexico’s Civil system to the United States’; brief overview of Mexican litigation and courts; and who are the key players.
  • International Law Topic Area (in English) - Provides some info on Mexican Real Estate law and the Mexican Foreign Investment Act of 1993. 
  • Latin American Network Information Center - This site offers general comprehensive coverage of Mexico.  It also offers a NAFTA site.  Legal matters are covered, as well as many other areas of interests.  This is a good site for anyone interested in Mexico, be it legal or non-legal information.  This is a complete site on Mexico and NAFTA. 
  • Library of Congress: Federal Research Division; Country Studies - This site is not a legal site, but a general information site on Mexico.  The history of Mexico is organized in the form of a detailed outline with links to the body of the text for each outline topic.  The historical periods covered in the outline go from the pre-conquest of Mexico to the present.  The site has a search engine that makes for easy access to the material.  The site is updated on a regular and frequent basis.  All on-site materials are in English.  
  • Department of State: Office of Mexican Affairs - This is the official site of the United States Department of State.  The site contains vast amount of information on Mexico on the following topics: Bilateral Relations, Business Information, NAFTA Information, the Mexican Government, and on the many websites (links) that have Mexican legal/commercial information.  The Country Reports, Commercial Guides, Travel Information Sheets and the Visa Requirements are examples of useful information found at the site.   Information is found both in English and Spanish. 
  • Mexican Law: The Best Mexican Web sites - This is a website created by Jorge A. Vargas of the University of San Diego School of Law.  Mr. Vargas states that his site will provide the reader with the best, “web sites in English containing legal and historical information about Mexico”.  This is a quality website with information for the advanced researcher as well as for the novice researcher. 
  • Mexico Business Opportunities and Legal Framework (BANCOMEXT and Goodrich, Requelme and Associates) - This sites consists of a guide to doing business in Mexico.  All of the aspects of doing business in Mexico are considered such as:  General Considerations, Investment Framework, Directs Sales, Exports From Mexico, Direct Investment, Exchange Controls, Dispute Resolution, Real Estate, immigration, etc.  This is a must view site for anyone considering doing business in Mexico. 
  • A Treatise for The Legal Practitioners and International Investors.  This is the electronic version of Jorge A. Vargas’ “A Treatise for the Legal Practitioners and International Investors”, published by the West Group.   The coverage of Mexican legal materials in this site is comprehensive.  English language materials are mentioned when they exist, primary and secondary.  I highly recommend this site to any person interested in doing business with Mexico.  
  • Library of Congress Research Guide to Law Online.  This is a website with hot links to Mexican legal materials from the Mexican Constitution to Children’s Rights in Mexico.  The guide is Organized around the following subjects: Constitution, Executive, Judicial, Legislative, Legal Guides and General Sources.

 

X. Mexican Publishers of Legal Materials

              Librería de Porrúa Hermanos y Cía S.A. de C.V is the premiere publisher and distributor    

               of legal materials in Mexico.   

                  Andrade specializes in primary materials in loose-leaf format.  Their collections are  

               very complete.

                  Editorial Themis, S.A. de C.V. Themis offers some primary materials in English. 

 

XI. Free Translation Sites

The Google Translate site is a good site that I would recommend. This site is as good as other free translation sites.

Paralink is a good site that I would recommend. This site is as good as other free translation sites. 

ImTranslator is a good site that I would recommend. This site is as good as other free translation sites. 

Babylon Online Translation  is a good site that I would recommend. This site is as good as other free translation sites.

Free-Translator  is a good site that I would recommend. This site is as good as other free translation site.