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Recent Jurisprudence – Legal Effects of Private Documents Certified by Mexican Notary Public

Submitted By:

Cacheaux Cavazos & Newton

Mexico City, Mexico

The First Chamber of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice recently issued a decision in case number 33/2010 under the heading: “Private Document. A copy of a certified private document by a public attestor certifies that such public official saw the document before being reproduced in order to attest only to such document’s existence on such date of attestation.” In its ruling, the Supreme Court held that the date certain of a document certified by a notary public is that of the certification and not the date of the document that is the subject of such certification, given that the public faith and authority invested in the notary public allows for consideration that the reproduced instrument existed on the date the reproduction and certification occurred. Additionally, Mexico’s highest court reiterated in this case in its commentary that the notarial certification of a document “should not be considered equivalent to the legal effect of a notarial certification of the authenticity of signature nor qualify the document as legal for the purpose that is expressed in the document itself.” The result of this case is the Supreme Court’s confirmation that the meaning of the certification of a document by the notary public does not qualify or make the document legal, or the contents expressed in such document legal, but simply that the certification has the effect of providing evidence of the existence of the document and its identical quality as a copy with the original document that was presented for certification. In multiple occasions, it has been thought that the simple fact that a document contains the referred to certification before a notary public makes the document valid and, as confirmed in this case, this is not correct. The case referred to above is currently pending publication in the Judicial Weekly of the Federation.

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