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


Red Mass - UDM Law Campus

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 12:00 pm

UDM's 103rd Annual Red Mass and Renewal of the Lawyer's Oath of Commitment will be held at Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church beginning at 12:00 p.m., followed by a complimentary luncheon in the atrium of the School of Law.  Red Mass is an occasion for judges, lawyers, civic leaders, faculty, staff, and law students of all faiths to pray together at the beginning of the new judicial term, asking God to bless, strengthen, and enlighten us, so that in cooperation and mutual trust we may effectively achieve justice for all.

The Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., Ph.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, will celebrate the Mass.  Hon. Patrick J. Duggan ('58) of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan will lead the Renewal of the Lawyer's Oath of Commitment.

Red Mass Details>>


October 1, 2015: Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 5:30 pm

Find out why men and women have been choosing UDM Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how UDM Law not only teaches you the law, but teaches you how to be a lawyer.  Through your education here, you will become a lawyer who makes a difference in your workplace and your community.  

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the campus and speak with admissions representatives, faculty, and current students.  


Reception at the State Bar of MI Annual Meeting in Novi - State Bar of Michigan

Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 4:30 pm

Dean Phyllis L. Crocker will host a cocktail reception for UDM Law alumni, State Bar dignitaries, and members of the judiciary at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Michigan at the Suburban Collection in Novi on Thursday, October 8, from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.  She will make remarks at 5:15 p.m.


Reunion for All Law Alumni - UDM Law Campus

Saturday, October 24, 2015 - 7:00 pm

The School of Law's annual Reunion will be held on Saturday, October 24, from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. at the School's Riverfront Campus.  As part of the festivities, we will celebrate the selection of Hon. Anthony J. Fiorella, Jr. as UDM's 2015 Alumni Award recipient and the special anniversaries of the classes of 1965, 1990, and 2005.  The Reunion is for all School of Law alumni.  Additional details will be posted soon.


November 14, 2015: Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 9:00 am

Find out why men and women have been choosing UDM Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how UDM Law not only teaches you the law, but teaches you how to be a lawyer.  Through your education here, you will become a lawyer who makes a difference in your workplace and your community.  

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the campus and speak with admissions representatives, faculty, and current students.  


January 7, 2016: Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 5:30 pm

Find out why men and women have been choosing UDM Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how UDM Law not only teaches you the law, but teaches you how to be a lawyer.  Through your education here, you will become a lawyer who makes a difference in your workplace and your community.  

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the campus and speak with admissions representatives, faculty, and current students.  

NEWS

  • ALUMNUS ALLEN ELZERMAN '03 PERSONIFIES OUR COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

    In the Fall 2015 issue of Conversations, a semi-annual magazine published by the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, alumnus Allen Elzerman '03 praises UDM Law's commitment to social and criminal justice.  In his article, "On Loan to the Poor," Elzerman discusses how he personifies that commitment through his work as a public defender and how his sense of fulfillment is more important than financial gain.

    On Loan to the Poor, Conversations magazine, Issue 48 - Fall 2015 (written by Allen Elzerman '03)

  • UDM LAW'S FIRST MILLION-DOLLAR SCHOLARSHIP GIFT HONORS UDM ALUMNUS HON. LAWRENCE P. ZATKOFF

    UDM Law is pleased to announce the founding of the Hon. Lawrence Paul Zatkoff Endowed Scholarship, made possible by the Zatkoff family, in memory of the late judge.  This gift is the first million-dollar scholarship the law school has ever received.  The scholarship provides support for a student to extern or intern with a federal court or state supreme court judge.

    Press Release>>

  • NEW CENTER FOR SOLO AND SMALL FIRM PRACTICE WILL PROVIDE TOOLS FOR SUCCESS TO LEGAL ENTREPRENEURS

    UDM Law will offer new programming this fall to meet the needs of its entrepreneurial-minded students and graduates interested in developing their own law practices.  The School was awarded a $30,000 grant from the DeWitt C. Holbrook Memorial Fund to fund and expand its Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program to add workshops through a new Center for Solo and Small Firm Practice.

    Press Release>>

  • FORMER CONGRESSMAN BRINGS NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERTISE TO UDM LAW

    Former U.S. Congressman Hansen Clarke, who served on the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, will teach National Security Law this term.  The course will address cybersecurity, surveillance and privacy, export controls and economic sanctions, and other contemporary security issues.  National security law has been one of the fastest growing fields of law since the 9/11 attacks, and there is a strong demand for lawyers trained in this area.

  • PROFESSORS BELIAN AND HAND SPEAK OVERSEAS THIS SUMMER

    Professors Julia Belian and Jacqueline Hand are presenting at international conferences this summer. Professor Belian will speak at the Oxford Symposium on History, Human Rights & Law August 10 - 12 at Pembroke College, Oxford University.  Her presentation is titled, "Fundamental Rights or Activist Judges?  A Rhetorical Comparison of Obergefell v. Hodges with Brown v. Board of Education."

    Professor Hand spoke at conferences in Poland and Finland in June.  She participated in a workshop June 15 - 19 on "Phoenix Cities: Urban Recovery and Resilience in the Wake of Conflict, Crisis and Disaster," at the Georgia State Law School Study Space in Warsaw, Poland.  She also presented on "The U.S. Government-to-Government Relation with Indian Tribes and the Possible Insights it Provides for Relations with the Sami People," at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, in Rovaniemi, Finland.

  • PROFESSOR KRISCIUNAS DISCUSSES PROSECUTORS' INVESTIGATION OF POLICE SHOOTING

    Professor Richard Krisciunas discussed the ongoing independent investigation by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office of the shooting death of Terrance Kellom by a federal agent in Detroit.

    Family of Kellom Awaits Probe of Fatal Police Shooting, Detroit Free Press, July 29, 2015 (quoting Professor Richard Krisciunas)