The Mexican government has recently developed several protocols in order to incorporate new regulations for electronic operations into the Mexican legal system. As a matter of fact, the Federal Commerce Code, the Federal Civil Code, as well as the Federal Consumer Protection Law, were recently submitted to substantial modifications regarding the probative value of data messages, as well as the acceptance contained in agreements and contracts celebrated by electronic media.
In Mexico, the most important regulations regarding contracts law are the Federal Commerce Code and the Federal Civil Law. None of these Codes contained any provision in order to regulate operations celebrated by electronic media, such as electronic commerce.
In order to incorporate and regulate electronic commerce in the Mexican legal system, several amendments to contracts regulations were made. These amendments include the acceptance given by electronic media, products liability in purchases made by e-commerce, and, of course, the probative value of data messages.
When a document is used as evidence in a judicial or administrative procedure in Mexico, it has to fulfill with certain requirements in order to have enough probative value. For example, the contract filed before Court must be on its original version and it must contain the signature of both parties. The problem in case of data messages is that the existence of the document per se, would depend on the fact that one of the parties involved in an electronic transaction print such document, with the problem that no signature would appear, and that, therefore and according to the Mexican Legal System, formalities of contracts law would be missing.
The Congress made several amendments to Mexican laws in order to clearly establish the rules under which data messages would have probative value in judicial procedures, but such rules are not enough for Mexican judges to apply the amendments made to our legal system in judicial procedures. At this moment, some precedents have been established by Courts of Appeal. Unfortunately, the interpretations made up to this moment are not clear enough and judges are not giving full probative value to data messages. The criteria followed are based on the fact that data messages do not contain the signature of the parties involved in an electronic transaction.
In the Congress a couple of initiatives for new amendments have been submitted but they lack of important elements, such as the regulation and incorporation of electronic signatures.
As a conclusion, I believe that, even though a big step was given by incorporating in our legal system provisions for the regulation of electronic transactions and data messages, it is necessary to include new amendments in our codes to validate electronic signature. At the same time, it is also necessary to update Mexican Courts in all issues related with electronic commerce. Without these actions, I believe it will be almost impossible to make an accurate and correct interpretation of law.
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