Since 2013, ABA ROLI has supported Mexico’s transition from an inquisitorial, written-based system to an orality-based accusatorial system through our programs, New Advocates for Mexican Justice (2013-2022) and Mexico Law Student Litigation and Mediation Initiative (2023-present), both funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The New Advocates program started with the intention of supporting the New Criminal Justice System (NCJS), which was the result of a constitutional reform in Mexico that shifted from a written-based criminal justice system towards an orality-based accusatorial system. ABA ROLI continues to work with Mexican law schools to prepare the next generation of Mexican attorneys for practice in the accusatorial trial context through the Mexico Law Student Litigation and Mediation Initiative. To build the capacity of the students and faculty in Mexico’s law schools, ABA ROLI works with the institutions to develop the student’s litigation, mediation, and restorative justice skills, as well as tailor the instructors’ legal education teaching methods to mirror the accusatorial trial system. Since the New Advocates project’s inception, ABA ROLI has reached more than 6,000 law students representing all thirty-two Mexican states, 935 law school professors, and 237 law schools through technical skills training sessions and the administration of nationwide mock trial and mediation competitions.
The new Mexican Law Student program also seeks to promote the employability of graduates to link them with agencies involved in the criminal justice sector as a strategy to strengthen the institutions in charge of the judicial resolutions, prosecute crimes, and criminal defense.
Additionally, as a part of the Strengthening Legal Representation of Workers and Trade Unions in Mexico program, ABA ROLI supports Mexico’s labor justice system transition from the old Conciliation and Arbitration Boards (CABs) to the new labor courts which depend on the judicial branch. To enhance the protection of workers’ rights by labor justice institutions, ABA ROLI provides capacity-building assistance to improve legal advice and representation provided to workers. This program consists of workshops, lessons, lectures, and mock trial exercises to prepare labor prosecutors, federal prosecutors, union representatives, and lawyers for challenges and scenarios under the new labor law.