HANDS-ON LEARNING FROM DAY ONE

HANDS-ON LEARNING FROM DAY ONE

  • * A legal writing program that starts in the first year and continues through the upper level courses.
  • * A clinical program that entitles every student to the opportunity to represent a live client.
  • * A unique law firm program that allows students to engage in simulated cases and transactions in specific practice areas.

DEDICATED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE

DEDICATED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • * Committed to developing lawyers who serve the public good
  • * Committed to serving the Detroit community
  • * Founded on Jesuit and Mercy principles of service and the success of each individual

Study Internationally

Study Internationally

  • * Dual degree program with the University of Windsor
  • * Extensive international law and comparative law courses
  • * Established relationship with Universite d"Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, France

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • * Downtown Detroit Location provides proximity to courts and employers
  • * Strong Alumni Network dedicated to supporting UDM graduates
  • * ability to pursue a concentration in Immigration Law

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

Basic Mexican Legal Research

Structure:

Mexico is composed of thirty one "free and sovereign [sic] States" and a federal district that encompasses Mexico City (Avalos, 2000, pp. 4-5). As in the United States, the Mexican federal government consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches (Avalos, 2000, pp. 7-9), although "[t]he legislative branch of the federal government is comprised of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies" (Avalos, 2000, p. 8) instead of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Mexico's judicial system is overseen by the Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nation (Avalos, 2000, p. 9). Similar to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Suprema Corte has "final appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts" (Avalos, 2000, p. 9). At the federal level, Mexico has both circuit and district courts (Avalos, 2000, p. 9). Mexico also has a Tax Court, Labor Court, and Military Court (Avalos, 2000, p. 10).

Under a savings clause in the 1917 Constitution, each of the thirty one states retains the power to enact its own constitution and laws, provided the laws adopted do not contradict the federal Constitution (Zamora, 2004, p.102). But the apparent analogy to the United States government and federalism falls short; Mexican federalism is generally a highly coordinated autonomy with the federal government maintaining de facto ultimate control (Zamora, 2004, p. 103).

Law:

An even more significant difference between the U.S. legal system (Louisiana notwithstanding) and Mexico is that "Mexico is a civil law country" (Olah, 2005, p. 597). But it differs from other civil law countries in that its "roots [] go back to 16th century Spanish law and to Pre-Columbian indigenous law" (Avalos, 2000, p. 1). When the conquistadores conquered Mexico, they imposed a Spanish rule of law, but retained indigenous "laws and legal institutions" that did not conflict with their own legal system (Avalos, 2000,p. 1). Spain also created new laws specific to Mexico (Avalos, 2000, p. 1). Today, however, all Mexican law is derived from the Constitution enacted in 1917, the Constitucion Politica de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (Avalos, 2000, p. 3-4).

As a civil law country, Mexico also places a great emphasis on its legislatively created law. Legislative law encompasses statutes (leyes or estatudos) and codes (codigos), and, in some instances, executive branch decrees (Zamora, 2004, p. 81). Statutes consist of regulatory laws and ordinary laws, with regulatory laws controlling in case of conflict (Zamora, 2004, p. 81). Codes are "unitary work[s] that integrate[] all norms of a district branch of law in a systematic, comprehensive, organized, and logical manner" (Zamora, 2004, p. 81). Codes are "definitive and self-sufficient bodies of law" (Zamora, 2004, p. 81). It is assumed that legislative law will be adequate to resolve most issues that arise; therefore, statutes and codes tend to be detailed and lengthy (Avalos, 2000, p. 12).

In Mexico, codes are drafted by legal scholars. Because codes in civil law countries are developed by legal scholars, "the 'authorities' of the civil law tradition were, and continue to be legal scholars, and not judges and lawyers" (Avalos, 2000, p. 12). Accordingly, in countries like Mexico, judges and lawyers look to treatises written by prominent scholars, called doctrina, for authority, just as judges and lawyers in this country look to case law (Avalos, 2000, p. 12). Editorial Porrua publishes a series of "doctrinal treatises by the most prominent legal scholars of Mexico" (Avalos, 2000, p. 15).

Amparo suits (or jucio de amparo) are the most important type of cases heard by federal courts (Avalos, 2000, p. 10). Amparo is unique to the Mexican legal system; there is no equivalent action elsewhere (Avalos, 2000, p. 10). Essentially it is a compellation of multiple common law actions, including the writ of habeas corpus, injunction, error, mandamus, and certiorari (Avalos, 2000, p. 10).

The doctrine of stare decisis does not exist, at least in its United States' form. In Mexico, only the legislature can create new law (Avalos, 2000, p. 12-13). The Suprema Corte and federal courts can, however, "establish formally binding precedent called 'jurisprudencia'...by having five consecutive and consistent decisions on a point of law" (Avalos, 2000, p. 13). Jurisprudencia binds the courts that established it, and lower courts. If a treatise refers to jurisprudencia, it is referring to case law, not the study of law (Avalos, 2000, p. 13).

Researching Mexican Law:

Research on Mexican law begins with a code, or possibly a statute (Avalos, 2000, p. 14). Codes are published by private publishers, primarily Ediciones Andrade and Editorial Porrua (Avalos, 2000, p. 14). And some codes have been translated into English (Avalos, 2000, p.15). Once the proper code is located, scholars must locate the applicable doctrina, or interpretation of the law - the more renowned scholars are published by Editorial Porrua (Avalos, 2000, p. 16). Journals are also a good source for doctrina (Avalos, 2000, p. 16).

Once a researcher has identified the proper codes and doctrine, he or she should search for Suprema Corte jurisprudencia and tesis sobresalientes, important, but not binding decisions (Avalos, 2000, p. 16). Suprema Corte decisions are published in the Semanario Judicial de la Federacion, which is divided into series called Epocas (Avalos, 2000, p. 16-17). "The first four Epocas (1871-1910) are called 'juriprudencia historica'[, and have] no binding force [because] the current Constitution was not [yet adopted]" (Avalos, 2000, p. 17). The Semanario is difficult to use. Therefore, private publishers started publishing decisions "in more accessible formats" (Avalos, 2000, p. 17). Still, many Mexican trained lawyers skip researching jurisprudencia altogether because of its difficulty (Avalos, 2000, p. 18).

Bibliography

  • Avalos, F. (2000). The Mexican Legal System, 2nd Ed. Rothman: Littleton, CO. [KGF150 .A95 2000]
  • Olah, F. (2005-2006). Mexican Civil Code Annotated - Bilingual Edition (book review), Miami Inter-American Law Review, 37, pp. 597-610.
  • Zamora, S., et al. (2004). Mexican Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [KGF327 .Z36 2004]

Other Library Resources

  • Henry S. Dahl, Dahl's law dictionary = Diccionario juridico (Hein, 1992) [K52.S6 D33 1992]
  • John Henry Merryman and Rogelio Perez-Perdomo, The Civil Law Tradition: An Introduction to the Legal Systems of Europe and Latin America (3rd ed., Stanford University Press, 2007) [K585 .M47 2007]
  • Jorge A. Vargas, Mexican legal dictionary and desk reference (Thompson/West, 2003) [KGF102 .V37 2003]
  • The Federal Civil Code of Mexico (translated by J. Vargas, Thompson/West, 2005) [KGF404.32 .A52 2005]
  • Mexican commercial code annotated (translated by J. Vargas, Thompson/West, 2005) [KGF1054.31889 .V37 2005]
  • Mexican law : a treatise for legal practitioners and international investors (translated by J. Vargas, Thompson/West, 1998), vols. 1-4 [ KGF333.B86 M486 1998]

EVENTS


Annual Public Interest Career Fair - Atrium

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 12:00 pm

The Career Services Office in partnership with the Externship Program and SBA Public Interest Committee are pleased to present the Annual Public Interest Fair.  Meet representatives of local, state, national, and international government, public service, and non-profit organizations in a table talk format.  Bring copies of your resume (that comply with the samples in the Career Planning Manual).  No advance student registration is required.  Lunch will be provided.

Employer Online Registration is now available.


Lunch and Learn: Special Summer Program - Online Webinar

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Come learn more about UDM Law's conditional admission program, the Special Summer Program.

Participants will receive a link to the webinar in their confirmation email.


Special Summer Program - Online Webinar

Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 6:00 pm

Come learn more about UDM Law's conditional admission program, the Special Summer Program.

Participants will receive a link to the webinar in their confirmation email.


Preparing for Fall On-Campus Interviews - Room 235

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Learn what you need to do before the semester ends and over the summer to prepare for the on-campus interview application process, particularly the Early Interview Session.  A duplicate session will be held at 5 p.m. for evening students and those who cannot attend this session due to scheduling conflicts.  A similar session will be held in June for Dual JD candidates.  Refreshments will be provided.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


Preparing for Fall On-Campus Interviews: Evening Edition - Room 249

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Learn what you need to do before the semester ends and over the summer to prepare for the on-campus interview application process, particularly the Early Interview Session.  This session is for upperclass evening students for whom summer 2016 will be their last summer in law school, and those who cannot attend the afternoon session due to scheduling conflicts.  A similar session will be held in June for Dual JD candidates.  Refreshments will be provided.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


Beyond OCI with Lexis: The Small Firm Job Search - Room 249

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 1:00 pm

Only a small percentage of students obtain their post-graduation employment through on-campus interviews. Find out how everybody else finds a job! Meet with us to discuss strategies for finding jobs with small mid-sized firms.  A duplicate session will be held at 5 p.m. for evening students.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


Beyond OCI with Lexis: The Small Firm Job Search-Evening Edition - Room 249

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Only a small percentage of students obtain their post-graduation employment through on-campus interviews. Find out how everybody else finds a job! Meet with us to discuss strategies for finding jobs with small mid-sized firms. This duplicate session is designed for evening students.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


March 4, 2015 - McElroy Lecture on Law and Religion - UDM Law Campus

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Our annual McElroy Lecture provides a forum for prominent thinkers and leaders to address fundamental issues of law, religion, and society.  It seeks to educate students, legal professionals, and the public on a variety of questions related to moral philosophy, freedom of conscience, the interaction of legal and religious institutions, and the role of religion in public life.  Its goal is to encourage discussion of these issues in our community and deepen our understanding of them.  This year's lecturer is Professor Nelson Tebbe of Brooklyn Law School.  His topic is "Religion and Social Coherentism: A Progressive Theory of Religious Freedom."  The lecture will be held on Wednesday, March 4, from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. in Room 226 of the School of Law, followed by a complimentary reception in the atrium. Complimentary parking will be available in the Blue Cross lot nearby. Addditional details will be posted here shortly.

 

NEWS

  • UDM Law Warming Center Clinic on Tenant Rights

    Thirteen UDM first-year law students assisted attorneys from Legal Aid and Defender Association, Neighborhood Legal Services, and Detroit Center for Family Advocacy at a Clinic UDM Law hosted at Ss. Peter & Paul Jesuit Warming Center on January 15.  The students and attorneys provided information and individual consultations to 35 guests on housing related matters.  Additionally, Sydney Booth ('14), a participant in UDM's Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program, introduced her newly formed law firm, Rushing Law, and conducted a short presentation on Criminal Expungement.  

    >>

  • PROFESSOR DUBIN COMMENTS ON HIGH PROFILE CASES IN THE NEWS

    Professor Larry Dubin recently commented in The Detroit News on two high profile federal cases.  First, he discussed the DeBoer case, which challenges Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on January 16 that it would accept the case.  Professor Dubin stated in part, "Public opinion has shifted greatly, making this an issue that needs to be resolved due to the conflicting federal law that now exists."

    On January 23 and 25, Professor Dubin discussed the Kazan case, in which a Muslim woman filed suit against the City of Dearborn Heights and its police department, alleging that her constitutional rights were violated when she was forced to remove her hijab when she was booked by a male officer for a traffic violation.  Professor Dubin noted that the case involves conflicting rights:  "Ms. Kazan is entitled under the First Amendment protection of her religious beliefs including the wearing of a hijab, which may cover part of her face.  However, the police have the right to process a person who is being arrested."

    Justices to rule on same-sex marriage, Jan. 16, 2015, The Detroit News (quoting Prof. Lawrence Dubin)

    Woman sues Dearborn Heights for forced hijab removal, Jan. 23, 2015, The Detroit News (quoting Prof. Lawrence Dubin)

    Meet the Women Suing a Michigan Police Department and Standing Up Against Islamophobia, Jan. 25, 2015, Mic Network (quoting Prof. Lawrence Dubin)

  • NEW SOLO AND SMALL FIRM INCUBATOR PROGRAM EARNS PRAISE BY STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN

    UDM Law's New Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program is featured on the State Bar of Michigan's Stories of Service website. The Program is praised as an innovative model for teaching recent graduates how to grow and sustain a solo practice while also meeting the legal needs of low-income clients through pro bono service.

    UDM Law’s New Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program Aims to Grow Better Lawyers, Jan. 21, 2015, State Bar of Michigan Website – Stories of Service

  • MANY DISTINGUISHED UDM LAW ALUMNI ARE SWORN IN TO OFFICE

    Many distinguished UDM Law alumni have been sworn in to serve as members of the judiciary and Legislature recently. We are proud of their ongoing commitment to the School of Law's mission and the example they set for our students in their service to the public.

    Macomb County's judiciary has a sister act. Suzanne Faunce ('98), a former county assistant prosecutor, and her sister, Circuit Judge Jennifer Faunce ('90), who won re-election, were sworn in on January 5 by retired District Judge and current Visiting Judge Sherman Faunce, their father. Both women stated that it was one of the "greatest moments in their lives" to be sworn in together and with their father beside them.  Related article:  Family affair: Faunce sisters sworn in as judges by father, Dec. 22, 2014, Macomb Daily

    Many other alumni have also been sworn in as members of the judiciary, including:

    Hon. Brian K. Zahra ('87) was re-elected to the Michigan Supreme Court.

    Hon. Michael J. Talbot ('71) was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to be Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

    Hon. Christopher Murray ('90) was re-elected to the First District of the Michigan Court of Appeals. Judge Murray is currently a member of the University of Detroit Mercy Inns of Court and is president of the DMBA Inns of Court.

    READ MORE

     

    >>

  • PROFESSOR BROUGHTON COMMENTS IN LAW360 ON PRESIDENT OBAMA'S JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS

    On January 7, Professor J. Richard Broughton commented in Law360, a national legal news service, on President Barack Obama's renewed nominations of 17 judicial candidates for the federal bench and the likely response of the new Republican-controlled Senate.

    Obama Judicial Noms Face Uphill Battle in Republican Senate, Jan. 7, 2015, Law360

  • CRIMINAL TRIAL CLINIC HAS SUCCESSFUL YEAR

    Students in UDM's Criminal Trial Clinic represent indigent misdemeanor defendants in district courts. The Clinic is led by Adjunct Professor Michael Morgan and Professor Richard Krisciunas. The following students won cases on the merits while acting as defense counsel in the Clinic in 2014:

    Nargiz Nesimova gained an acquittal at trial for a client charged with Obstructing a Police Officer.

    Robert Warchuk won a motion to dismiss for a client charged with Operating with a Suspended Driver's License, Possession of Narcotic Paraphernalia, and violating the local knife ordinance.

    Amanda Gingrich convinced the city attorney to dismiss the case against her client charged with violating the local knife ordinance.

    Amanda Gingrich convinced the city attorney that the police had arrested the wrong man for Operating with a Suspended Driver's License.

    Jared Henry convinced the city attorney that police had arrested the wrong man for Obstructing a Police Officer.

    The Criminal Trial Clinic arranges for UDM law students to act as public defenders in district courts in Eastpointe, Hamtramck, Plymouth, and Troy.

    To learn more about the Criminal Trial Clinic, visit the Clinics' website.