On July 28th of this year, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (“SCJN”) and the Council of the Federal Judiciary issued a statement on the suspension of time limits and the resumption of activities after the period during which it had been suspended in response to the SARS-CoV2 virus (COVID-19) virus epidemic, including the adoption of strict social distancing measures and arrangements to ensure the continuity of activities aimed at the procurement and administration of justice.
GENERAL AGREEMENT NUMBER 14/2020 – SUPREME COURT OF THE JUSTICE OF THE NATION
In this agreement, the SCJN deems it necessary to re-establish judicial activity by reactivating procedural deadlines and the physical processing of all types of applications filed with the SCJN.
- As of August 3rd, the suspension of time limits in cases under the jurisdiction of the SCJN shall be lifted, which implies the resumption of time limits at the point at which they had been suspended, not their recommencement.
- It shall be possible to file electronically with a FIREL or e-signature.
- Lawsuits and submissions may be filed, even on non-working days by electronic means.
- The Plenary and Chambers of the SCJN shall hold their sessions remotely.
- Court rulings and final drafts can be signed electronically.
- Up until August 31st, notifications made by means of electronic lists or placards shall have the same effect as those made by means of printed lists and placards posted on the notice boards.
GENERAL AGREEMENT NUMBER 21/2020 – COUNCIL OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY
Resumption of time limits and terms
The suspension of time limits and terms shall be lifted with the following stipulations:
- In indirect amparo trials and federal trials in which the corresponding hearing is pending, time limits shall be resumed once the new date for the hearing has been announced.
- The notification of issues that have been decided and drafted during the health emergency and that could not be implemented before the entry into force of the Agreement, shall be carried out in a staggered manner with a deadline of October 1, 2020, to do so.
- Summons for new trials, which could not have been served before the entry into force of the Agreement shall be staggered and concluded by October 1, 2020, at the latest.
- The heads of judicial bodies, including those in charge of offices or acting as heads of judicial bodies, shall organize and supervise the proper compilation of and correlation between the physical and electronic casefiles, which must be regularized by October 15, 2020, at the latest.
- Appointments shall begin as of August 1, 2020, in order to allow the judicial personnel to return to their on-site duties.
As of August 3rd, a “judicial services“ microsite will be available on the Online Services Portal so that litigants can find telephone numbers, institutional email addresses and other contact information for all the judicial bodies under the jurisdiction of the Council of the Federal Judiciary (“CJF”).
This microsite will include the “Agenda OJ” system, which will show the dates and times available to each court for making appointments to consult casefiles and to attend hearings or summons. Appointments shall be generated by means of an automated process that will give a QR Code to the person in whose name said appointment is requested. This code will allow the person and, if applicable, another person authorized in the corresponding casefile, to enter the judicial office.
The obligation to abide by the health regulations and guidelines set for this purpose are established (social distancing, mandatory use of facemasks and prompt attendance to each of the scheduled appointments).
Failure to comply with these indications shall, in principle, result in a warning while the repeated or continued failure to comply shall result in immediate removal from the premises.
I. When the contact information of the parties is available, efforts shall be made in advance to arrange for the delivery of the pending notification, whenever this is deemed fitting for the success of the proceedings and the safety of those involved.
II. In the event that one party refuses to receive a notification, the court officer shall inform the party that, regardless of this circumstance, the notification shall be considered delivered in the understanding that if the party continues to refuse, the reason shall be noted in the records and the notification shall be deemed to have been delivered.
Central Filing Office
Central Filing Offices (“OPC”) shall be set up in each building where the judicial bodies are located to receive submissions that are filed in person. Said offices should be situated in the spaces assigned by the authority.
Holding Special Hearings and Trials
The hearings, mainly constitutional hearings, in which the parties participate orally and that are carried out as part of oral commercial proceedings or asset forfeiture proceedings, shall be held by means of videoconferencing, for which the rules set forth in Articles 28 and 2 of General Agreement 12/2020 for this purpose must be followed, taking special care with regard to the separation of the parties involved.
Ordinary Sessions of the Collegiate Circuit Courts
The sessions shall be held by videoconferencing and without an audience present. The session by this medium shall have the same legal effects and scope as those carried out in person.
Once the session has been concluded and within a reasonable period, the corresponding record shall be uploaded to the Virtual Session Library, where the parties and the general public can consult the contents of the session.
Rafael Torres Montalvo, María Inés García Noriega (Trainee Lawyer, White & Case, Mexcio City) contributed to the development of this publication.
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