Recent Case Decision – Infringement of Ejido Property Rights As a Result of the Assignment, Sale or Any Other Transfer of Ejido Land Parcel and Water Rights

June 14, 2008
Recent Case Decision – Infringement of Ejido Property Rights As a Result of the Assignment, Sale or Any Other Transfer of Ejido Land Parcel and Water Rights

On March 26, the Second Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación) approved by a unanimous vote the legal decision bycontradiction of the decision: Ejido Land Parcel and Water Rights. The assignment, sale or transfer of rights by an individual Ejido member to a third party outside ofthe Ejido population nucleus infringes the property rights of the Ejido, which are collective by nature. This decision concludes that water rights pertaining to Ejidomembers’ land parcels, which have not been obtained through a civil law process, meaning such rights are only Ejido parcel rights and not civil property, may betransferred among Ejido members or neighbors of the Ejido population nucleus, receiving the same treatment granted to the transfer of Ejido land parcel rights intransactions with other Ejido members or neighbors, as set forth in Article 80 of the Agrarian Law (Ley Agraria). This requires one to respect preferential rights of theother Ejido members as such for part of the collective interests of the Ejido, and the Ejido may demand nullity of transfers of water rights to outside third parties. This case does not cover the supposed transfer of water rights individually assigned when such water rights are related to land parcels an Ejido member has obtained through civil property ownership procedure. However, it is possible to deduce that for purposes of a first sale of Ejido water rights to an outside third party, such sale would be subject to the same treatment as a first transfer of land parcel rights, which implies the requirement of providing notice of the offer to other Ejido members with a right of first refusal.

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