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April 01, 2011

ABA ROLI Trains Mexican Lawyers on Criminal Litigation Skills in an Accusatorial System

April 2011 

Following Mexico’s 2008 approval of constitutional amendments, nine of its 32 states—Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Estado de México, Morelos, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Yucatán and Zacatecas—have begun the transition from an inquisitorial criminal justice system to an oral, accusatorial one. Planned to reach all the states by 2016, the transition is being implemented in phases. Thus far, the implementation has seen limited and uneven progress.

To support ongoing efforts, from March 30 to April 3, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) held a training on trial litigation skills for attorneys and judges in an accusatorial system. Held at the Universidad La Salle in Pachuca, Hidalgo State, the workshop featured discussions on the accusatorial system, case strategy, witness examination, evidence, opening statements and closing arguments.

A total of 55 Mexican lawyers, including private practitioners and law professors, attended the training. Two American and three Mexican trainers led discussions on differences between the inquisitorial and accusatorial systems and the role of practitioners in the transition. The training also included small group mock exercises—including interviewing witnesses and making opening statements and closing arguments—allowing the trainees to practice their newly acquired skills.

The training concluded with full mock trials and a discussion on professional ethics. The Universidad La Salle hosted the event at no cost and the Hidalgo Bar Association supported the logistical organization.

The training is part of ABA ROLI’s U.S. Agency for International Development-supported program to support law schools and bar associations.

To learn more about our work in Mexico, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected]