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Written By: Jorge Sanchez-Cubillo

Cacheaux Cavazos & Newton

On July 8, 2013, the Official Journal of the Federation published the "General Joint Agreement number 1/2013 by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the Electoral Court of the Federal Judicial Branch, and the Federal Judiciary Board, relating to the Certified Electronic Signature of the Federal Judicial Branch (Firma Electrónica Certificada del Poder Judicial de la Federación) ("FIREL") and the electronic file" (the "FIREL Agreement"). The FIREL Agreement, which became effective on July 9, 2013, establishes the technical basis for the implementation of the so called "Electronic Amparo Action," with this being one of the most transcendent innovations of the new Amparo Action Law (Ley de Amparo) published on April 2, 2013. The Electronic Amparo Action (Amparo Electrónico) will allow for the filing and processing of amparo actions through electronic means. The following are highlights from the FIREL Agreement:

1. The establishment of the Certified Electronic Signature for the Federal Judicial Branch (FIREL):

a. The FIREL will have the same validity and effectiveness as a handwritten signature.

b. This signature will be issued to individuals, including Certifying Officers, Magistrates, Judges and Secretaries of the Federal Judicial Branch.

c. It will be effective for 3 years, and its renewal must be requested 30 days prior to expiration of the term.

d. Business entities may be represented in this manner, as long as it is by means of an individual who possesses a FIREL.

e. A Digital Certificate of Electronic Signature issued by another agency of the State may be used so long as a respective coordination agreement has been entered into, as is the case with the Advanced Electronic Signature or FIEL issued and recognized by the federal tax authorities.

2. The establishment of an Electronic File:

a. This file should be identical to the physical file and vice versa.

b. If a public document is in digital format and accompanies the electronic file, it should include an oath that such coincides with the original in order for it to have legal effect.

c. The evidence in an electronic file should include the FIREL of the parties, as well as those of the jurisdictional officers.

d. Notices shall be valid when given by e-mail or simply by the user accessing the electronic file.

3. Technical requirements with respect to the files that may be sent:

a. Documents in .PDF format.

b. Documents in .txt format.

c. Documents created using an office software suite:

i. Calculation sheet files (.xls and .xlsx).

ii. Documents (.doc and .docx).

iii. Presentations (.ppt and .pptx).

d. The maximum size of each one of the files must not exceed 10 MB.

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