San Diego International Law Journal


Jorge A. Vargas

Document Type



Since tort law cases are seldom filed in Mexico, and the number of judicial resolutions rendered by Mexican courts are few and relatively unimportant, is there a sufficient corpus of Mexican jurisprudence that may be tapped into by American judges to ascertain the rules of Mexican law that govern a case pending before an American trial judge or an appellate justice? Considering that American courts resolve a far larger number of personal injury cases governed by Mexican as compared to the nominal amount of cases decided in Mexico by Mexican courts, is there a risk that this rapidly growing number of American precedents based on the application and interpretation of Mexican law by American judges may somewhat depart from "the other" Mexican law, that is reflected in the applicable civil codes and other pertinent statutes of that country? The purpose of this article is not to answer these questions but to provide a road map for American judges, magistrates and legal practitioners in order to lead them through the rather simplistic legal path of the fundamentals of Mexican tort law, technically referred throughout the Republic of Mexico as "extra-contractual civil liability". Therefore, by relying on a number of hypothetical cases, this article describes and discusses the modus operandi that a Mexican judge would adopt in applying the provisions of Mexican law to personal injury and wrongful death cases if they were to be resolved in a Mexican Court.