Notice and Service of Process on Persons Domiciled in Mexico with Respect to Foreign Civil and Commercial Lawsuits

January 14, 2008
Notice and Service of Process on Persons Domiciled in Mexico with Respect to Foreign Civil and Commercial Lawsuits

In addition to the Federal Code of Civil Procedures (Codigo Federal de Procedimientos Civiles) and Commerce Code (Codigo de Comercio),which contain rules for processing a judgment or letter rogatory issued by a foreign court in order to provide notice or service of process to anindividual or company domiciled in Mexico, Mexico has signed various international treaties and conventions seeking to make these transmittalsmore efficient and speedy, including the Interamerican Convention concerning Judgments or Letters Rogatory and the Convention of the Hagueconcerning Notice or Transfer Abroad of Judicial or Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, to which the United States ofAmerica is also a party. Mexico has made several reservations in both international conventions, principally relating to requirements that alldocuments be accompanied by proper Spanish translations and that all judicial acts be served in Mexico in proceedings originating abroad be filedwith the General Directorate of Legal Matters of the Mexican Department of Foreign Relations (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriors or SRE),designating such agency as the central authority to receive these types of judicial requests. The SRE will then forward the requests to theappropriate and competent judicial authority to ensure notices are carried out in accordance with procedures contained in Mexican law. The aboverequirement is based on Mexico’s express reservation that no notice or judicial document transfer may take place in Mexico via mail or throughdiplomatic or consular agents of the member states of such conventions, nor through any other interested party in a judicial proceeding, even whenthe law would otherwise allow such a notification. Recently, the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) settled as firm precedentthe proposition that if a ruling or letter rogatory is issued outside of Mexico does not comply with the requirements established by internationaltreaties and their corresponding reservations, such irregularities impact the legal rights and individual guaranties of the person being notified, whichled the SCJN to conclude that any such act is performed in violation of law and subject to reversal through an indirect amparo lawsuit. Thisdecision is particularly relevant when the judgment is issued by a foreign court and is to be enforced in Mexico, since the authority to execute aforeign judgment by a Mexican judge will be based primarily on whether or not service of process was properly accomplished.

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