General Law of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (MASC Law)

Publication of Federal Law in the Mexican Republic

The General Law of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms has already been popularized by its acronym in Spanish language as the MASC Law and has become effective since January 27, 2024. The regulation marks a milestone in the evolution of the justice system in Mexico by introducing a legal paradigm focused on the resolution of conflicts outside the courts, through alternative methods such as mediation, conciliation, and negotiation. Its enactment reflects the attention of the Congress of the Union to the constant suggestions of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to reduce the burden on the judicial system, improve access to justice, and promote the culture of peace and dialogue.

In a context where judicial systems face significant challenges in terms of case overload, long resolution times, and high costs associated with litigation, the need for alternative mechanisms becomes increasingly evident. This law emerges in response to such challenges, offering a framework that facilitates more agile, economical, and satisfactory solutions for the parties involved.

The MASC Law’s main objectives are:

– To foster the peaceful resolution of conflicts, promoting dialogue and mutual agreement.

– To provide efficient and accessible mechanisms for the resolution of disputes, reducing the dependence on the conventional judicial system.

– To decongest the courts, allowing for better allocation of judicial resources to cases that require direct judicial intervention.

The MASC Law is applicable to a wide range of matters, including civil, commercial, family disputes, and in certain administrative and penal cases. This covers conflicts related to contracts, property, civil liability, among others, as long as the disputed rights are of a renounceable nature and do not affect public order or the rights of third parties.

The law sets clear limits to its applicability, expressly excluding cases involving inalienable rights, affecting public order provisions, or involving the rights of third parties without their consent. This includes, but is not limited to, minimum labor rights, marital status, custody of minors, and fundamental rights.

The law promotes various procedures, including mediation, conciliation, and negotiation, as avenues to reach agreements. These procedures are characterized by their flexibility, confidentiality, and focus on satisfying the needs and interests of the parties.

One of the most significant innovations of the law is the figure of the facilitator, who functions as a trained and neutral professional guiding the parties through the conflict resolution process. Facilitators can be lawyers, psychologists, social workers, among other professionals, if they comply with the training and ethical requirements set by the law.

The agreements resulting from the alternative mechanism processes will have a binding and executive character, which means they are legally recognized and can be judicially executed in case of non-compliance. This grants the parties legal certainty and the assurance that their agreements will be respected.

The effective implementation of the law implies significant challenges, including the training of professionals, the creation of mediation and conciliation centers, and the dissemination of a culture of peaceful conflict resolution. Furthermore, the development of technological platforms that facilitate the carrying out of procedures at a distance is crucial, in line with current trends towards the digitalization of justice.

The MASC Law is expected to have a profound positive impact on the Mexican justice system, contributing to greater efficiency, accessibility, and satisfaction in conflict resolution. In the long term, this law is anticipated to contribute to the reduction of litigiousness, the strengthening of the rule of law, and the promotion of a more harmonious society.

The General Law on Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms represents a crucial legislative advance for Mexico, aligned with international best practices in the field. Its success will depend on the collaboration between the government, the judiciary, the legal community, and civil society to ensure its full implementation and effectiveness. In this context, law firms play a key role in promoting and applying these mechanisms, providing our clients with effective alternatives for resolving legal conflicts.

If you need legal advice for your company, do not hesitate to contact me.

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About the Author: Mr. Rafael Giménez Camacho is a graduate of the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and holds a Master’s degree in Commercial Law from the Escuela Libre de Derecho. He taught Commercial Law and Commercial Procedural Law for four years at the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios de Monterrey Campus Estado de México, has given lectures at the International Congresses of the Universidad Panamericana since its inception, as well as at other universities, was appointed in 2010 an honorary member of Phi Delta Phi Chapter Ignacio Burgoa and is continuously consulted by various media mass communication in periodical publications and radio and television media. He is a founding partner of Giménez & Asociados Abogados, SC, a firm where he has practiced for twenty-one years and is a member of the Board of Directors in various companies of great national importance.

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