Feb 27, 2012, 11:24 AM
Post #1 of 20
Comparisons between the Mexican and US Legal Systems:
On the heels of another break-in and robbery of an expat's rental home, our local Merida forum (YoListo) has had a lively discussion lately about the tenants rights, owner's responsibilities, and who should be liable for what.
Many expats people think that the property owner has a personal responsibility for partly reimbursing the tenant for not providing a secure home. In a common M.O., the burglar(s) climbed down into a walled back yard from a neighboring roof or wall, broke a glass pane on a protectore door, and reached inside and released the steel rods that dropped into the floor, opened the door, and stole a computer, etc.
Many expats expressed opinions that the property owner has a moral obligation to split the costs of the theft losses, since the owner could have had some rings welded on the protectore where a simple padlock could have secured the door.
One fellow, who claims legal experience in both the US and Canadian legal systems, offered insights into some of the differences between Mexican legal principles and US and Canadian legal principles. I found his explanations intriguing:
" 1. A Mexican court ( as well as Canadian courts) will examine the signed contract between parties. The terms and condition regarding responsibility issues are limited to those defined by the contract. Unless an recent unexpected situation, latent/undetectable defects caused by one part occur, the other part may ask for a compensation but Mexican courts very rarely grant them. Serious or malicious abuse has to be proven above and beyond any reasonable doubt. This is exactly were the American civil courts differ and where many abuses arise given the history of bizarre American court rulings.
2. Mexican courts also examine the capacity for one side to better understand the legal implications of any given situation and if such is the case start with an unfavourable opinion against that party that "He should not have ignored the law". This is another major difference between the legal source of Mexican civil laws: the Napoleonic Code which also prevails in the Province of Quebec (Canada) compared to the American and English speaking Canadian courts where Common Law is the basis.
American courts (and in some cases Canadian common law courts) follow the tendency demonstrated by previous rulings (including many questionable and even ridiculous ones) while Mexican courts refer to a static approach called "Stare decisis" (a decision foundation must be maintained).
Many non-Mexicans (expats) think they will succeed in court down here based on what they hear from their home country's legal approach and they feel they had their "fundamental rights" denied. Mexican legal system is different not better or worse, strictly different. "
I am no student of Napoleonic Code nor the Mexican legal system, but I found this fellow's comparisons and characterizations of the differences between English Common Law ... fascinating.
Do his explanations fit other people's experiences and understandings here on Mexconnect?
I plan to do some research on this, and write an article on the differences between our systems - focusing on how the practice of Mexican law affects us expats, and include some descriptions of how common American or Canadian preconceptions may lead us into unexpected and/or unnecessary problems here.
Anybody have stories of their expectations or preconceptions got jounced around by the realities of the Mexican legal system - and are there other submerged legal principles not described above that we might run-aground on?
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(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Feb 27, 2012, 11:25 AM)