News 02 Oct. 2020

Partner Antonio Prida participates in committee proposing changes to General Law of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in Mexico

Antonio Prida, a founding partner of Curtis’ Mexico City office and head of Mexico’s International Chamber of Commerce mediation group, has recently formed a committee in his capacity as President of the ICC in Mexico’s Mediation Committee, comprising prominent institutions and academics in Mexico, including the Mexican Bar Association, with the purpose of harmonizing Mexican domestic law with international practice in the area of commercial mediation.

The committee formed by Mr. Prida recently approached the Mexican Senate with a number of proposals regarding a Bill recently introduced for the Senate’s deliberation. Notably, this Bill (entitled “Initiative with Draft Decree containing the General Law of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms,” or “Iniciativa con Proyecto de Decreto que Contiene la Ley General de Mecanismos Alternativos de Solucion de Controversias” in Spanish) seeks to embed alternative dispute resolution mechanisms within Mexican domestic law.

As part of its proposals to the Mexican Senate, the committee has advised that the Bill, which already excludes criminal matters from its scope, should also exclude commercial matters. Among the various reasons supporting such an exclusion, the committee emphasized to the Senate that international trade and commerce relies on, and in fact benefits from, the absence of rigid and formal procedural rules in domestic legislation. To the extent such rules of procedure are required for conducting an effective commercial mediation, the relevant parties can instead turn to, and take advantage of, existing procedural rules established by international institutions, such as UNCITRAL (the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law).

Specifically, the committee encouraged the Senate to ratify UNCITRAL’s recent draft Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (otherwise known as the “Singapore Convention”), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on at the end of 2018. Not only would this ensure that any settlement agreements executed in Mexico (following a successful mediation) would be acceptable to states with different legal, social and economic systems to Mexico, but it would also ensure that commercial arbitration practice in Mexico complements the existing legal framework on international mediation.

The committee also proposed that the Senate adopts UNCITRAL’s Model Law on International Commercial Mediation. In addition to sending a clear and positive message to the international community that Mexico is a viable trading partner and host State for foreign investment, adopting the Model Law would also solidify Mexico as a safe place to conduct commercial arbitration, particularly because of the confidentiality and flexible procedural rules provided for under the Model Law.

The committee awaits the Mexican Senate’s decision regarding the proposals it has raised, and a further update in this regard will follow in due course.

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