Alerts and Updates

Mexico's Judicial System Responds to COVID-19 with Partial Shutdown

March 23, 2020

During the suspension, exceptions will only be made for on-call court activities described as urgent, including certain criminal procedures involving detained individuals.

On March 19, 2020, a Mexican district court judge issued an order to the federal government to take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and detect people who have the infectious disease.

Furthermore, Mexico's Supreme Court said in a March 17 statement that it would suspend its regular court activities from March 18 to April 19 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The country's other federal courts followed suit with a similar preventative announcement later on March 17, suspending activities over the same time period "with the aim of avoiding the concentration of people," the courts said in a separate statement.

During the suspension, exceptions will only be made for on-call court activities described as urgent, including certain criminal procedures involving detained individuals. Legal processes with fixed time frames will be frozen in place and on-call court workers deemed as vulnerable, such as persons over age 60, pregnant women or individuals with certain diseases including diabetes will not be required to show up physically for work.

The courts have announced the suspension of work and procedural deadlines, as follows:

Federal Judicial Branch

The Plenum of the Federal Judiciary Council in its official notice 4/2020 decided to suspend the jurisdictional functions of the courts of the Federal Judicial System from March 18 to April 19, 2020.

During such suspension, the procedural deadlines will not apply.

Nevertheless, courts that attend to urgent matters are excluded from this suspension.

The matters that will be considered urgent are:

  1. Exercise of criminal action with a detainee;
  2. Issuance of request letters in which a certain legal situation has to be resolved;
  3. Search warrant requests;
  4. Requests for intervening private communications;
  5. Extradition requests;
  6. Deportation orders;
  7. Detention orders;
  8. Amparo claims against acts involving privation of life, attacks on personal freedom outside judicial proceedings, isolation, deportation or expulsion, banishment, extradition, forced disappearance, abuse, torture, segregation and other acts prohibited by Article 22 of the Constitution;
  9. Draft into the army, navy or air force; and,
  10. Those having such character, according to the laws that govern them.

Federal Court of Administrative Justice (Tax Court)

The General Plenary of the Superior Chamber issued notice SS/10/2020 on March 17, whereby the jurisdictional and administrative activities of the tax court were suspended from March 18 to April 19, 2020.

Consequently, those days will be considered as nonworking days and no procedural deadlines will apply.

Superior Court of Justice of Mexico City

The Council of the Judiciary of Mexico City on March 17 issued Decree 39-14/2020, relating to the actions to be taken by the Judicial Branch of Mexico City regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decree calls for protecting the health and safety of children, public servants, judicial employees and the population in general, as well as avoiding contagion and combating the spread of the virus.

Similar to other courts, the Judicial Branch of Mexico City has suspended work and procedural deadlines in most local jurisdictional bodies, from March 18 to April 20, 2020.

Superior Court of Justice of the State of Nuevo León

The Judicial Power of the State of Nuevo León issued Joint General Decree 5/2020-II, published on March 17 in the State Judicial Bulletin whereby a series of preventive measures were adopted to counter the COVID-19 outbreak.

These preventive measures include:

  1. The suspension of procedural deadlines except for urgent matters; and
  2. Declaring as nonworking days for the bodies of the Judicial Branch of the State the days from March 18 to April 19, 2020.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Eduardo Ramos-Gómez, Rosa M. Ertze, Miguel de Leon Perez, any of the attorneys in our Mexico Business Group, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.