How to Enforce in Mexico a Judgment Issued by an American Court(From the Perspective of Mexican Law)
Find out which Mexican court will have jurisdiction to enforce the US judgment
Mexican courts, just as courts in America, divide their jurisdiction depending on territory, subject matter, hierarchy and other factors.
Generally, jurisdiction lies on the court of the place of the domicile of the defendant in Mexico, or where their assets are located.
Have the Court that Issued the Judgment Make a Formal Request to the Mexican Court to Enforce It
Move the court that issued the judgment to formally request the Mexican court to enforce it. And authenticate it (apostille it). The request can then be delivered either (1) through diplomatic channels or (2) by direct submission of the documents by the plaintiff to the executing court in Mexico.
The second option is by far the best choice, since it can be completed quickly once the American court issues the formal request of assistance to the Mexican court.
Does your Judgment comply with the General Requirements to Enforce It in Mexico?
It may comply with Mexican law, if:
1. The case is NOT based in a realty action, but a personal action
2. The American court had jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place
3. Defendant was properly served (in person) in the American case. This point is very important, and in some cases the difference between enforcing the judgment or not being able to do so.
4. There is no related case pending in Mexican courts. Res judicata.
5. Enforcing the judgment is not against public policy of Mexico.
You Have the Request from the US Court to the Mexican Ct., and it Complies w/Mexican Law. What is Next?
You or US lawyer need to hire a Mexican attorney to request the enforcement in Mexico. All documents in English must be translated into Spanish by an expert recognized as such by Mexican courts. Once the case is filed in Mexico, it can take from a few to several months (even years) to enforce it.
As in all cases, it depends on the circumstances of the case and in how much of a fight is put on by the defendant.
Will the Defendant be Notified of the Enforcement Proceedings? Can She Resist it?
Yes and yes. Per Mexican law, the defendant must be notified in person of the enforcement proceedings. She will have limited defense opportunities. The Mexican court cannot review the American proceedings de novo, but has to verify the fulfillment of the Mexican law requirements mentioned before.
What are Your Chances of Enforcing the Judgment in Mexico?
It all depends on legal circumstances (compliance with Mexican law, etc.) and factual particularities of the case (whether or not the defendant has available assets to execute the judgment).
Team with your US lawyer to chose the right Mexican attorney and make an informed decision before spending valuable resources.
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