Classification of Law
Mexico's legal system is a mixture of Roman civil law and Anglo-American common law systems. Civil law operates in areas such as family relations, property, succession, contract, and criminal law, while statutes and principles of common law origin are evident in such areas as constitutional law, procedure, corporations law, taxation, insurance, labour relations, banking and currency.
Civil law systems are based on concepts derived from old Roman law, distinguishable by their reliance on having a comprehensive set of rules and principles codified and easily accessible to both citizens and legal professionals. Codified laws are regularly revised to reflect the current environment, and have stronger emphasis in civil law countries than any precedent set by earlier court cases. Civil law countries cover more than 65% of world’s legal system, including the majority of continental Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
eSignature Legality Summary
Under Mexican law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract - contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document (Section 1803 of the Mexican Civil Code). To prove a valid contract, parties sometimes have to present evidence in court. Leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records that are admissible as evidence under Section 89, 1205 and 1298-A of the Commerce Code and 210-A of the Federal Code of Civil Proceedings, to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.
Use Cases for Standard Electronic Signatures (SES)
Use cases where an SES is typically appropriate include:
- consumer agreements including sales terms, services terms, software licenses, purchase orders, etc.
- commercial and civil contracts entered by and between individuals, including lease agreements, professional services agreements, distribution agreements, purchase orders and other procurement-related documents and sales agreements (as long as no notarization is required)
- commercial agreement between companies that belong to the same corporate group including non-disclosure agreements, purchase orders, order acknowledgements, other procurement documents, sales agreements, distribution agreements, and service agreements
- documents in general including letters, memorandums, etc.
- privacy related documents including privacy notices
Use Cases for Other Types of Electronic Signature (e.g. Digital Signature, AES, QES)
Use cases where an electronic signature other than SES may be required include:
- QES - HR documents such as, employment contracts, non-disclosure agreements, employee invention agreements, privacy notices, benefits paperwork and other new employee onboarding processes, except termination notices, commercial agreements between corporate entities including non-disclosure agreements, purchase orders, order acknowledgements, other procurement documents, sales agreements, distribution agreements, service agreements (Federal Labor Law)
- QES – commercial agreements between corporate entities, including non-disclosure agreements, purchase orders, order acknowledgements, other procurement documents, sales agreements, distribution agreements, and service agreements (Commercial Code)
- QES – financial products agreements, including opening of bank accounts, credits, loans, etc. (Law for Transparency and Order of Financial Services)
- QES – tax returns and other tax documents (Tax Law)
- QES – corporate documents, including assignment of shares, shareholders and board of resolutions documents, appointment and removal of officers and directors, as long as no notarization of the document is required (Commercial Code)
Use Cases That Are Not Typically Appropriate for Electronic Signatures or Digital Transaction Management
Use cases that are specifically barred from digital or electronic processes or that include explicit requirements, such as handwritten (e.g. wet ink) signatures or formal notarial process that are not usually compatible with electronic signatures or digital transaction management.
- Notarization - real estate property transfer contracts and deeds
- Notarization - marriage contracts
- Notarization - contracts of inheritance
- Notarization - contracts waiving inheritance
- Notarization - inheritance sales
- Notarization - powers of attorney
- Notarization - the articles of incorporation of civil and mercantile companies
Also, for the following types of documents, it may be advisable to perform a more detailed risk assessment before using electronic signatures:
- Promissory notes, guarantees, guarantees provided by co-obligators and other documents considered as negotiable instruments under the General Law of Negotiable Instruments and Credit Transactions (GLNICT). While GLNICT does not prohibit the use of electronic signatures, original documents are necessary to sustain the credit right consigned therein
- Mortgage or guarantor agreements. In general, agreements that need to be granted before a Public Notary (i.e., sale of real state property). Again, Civil Code does not prohibit the use of electronic signatures, but is not a standard practice for Public Notaries to conclude such transactions through electronic means
- Civil status acts, including recognition of children, adoption, marriage, divorce, death, and presumption of death, guardianship or legal capacity to administer property. The law usually requests the presence of the interested parties to execute related documentation, or else the granting of a power of attorney which must be certified by a Public Notary
 An AES is an “advanced electronic signature”, a type of electronic signature that meets the following requirements: (a) it is uniquely linked to the signatory; (b) it is capable of identifying the signatory; (c) it is created using means that are under the signatory’s sole control; and (d) it is linked to other electronic data in such a way that any alteration to the said data can be detected.
 A QES is a specific digital signature implementation that has met the particular specifications of a government, including using a secure signature creation device, and been certified as ‘qualified’ by either that government or a party contracted by that government.
Local Technology Standards
For commercial transactions, the CC provides two defined categories of e-signature. The following are the types of signatures included:
Electronic Signature (firma electrónica)
The Electronic Signature (“ES”) is defined as “Data in electronic form consigned in a data message or logically associated with, a data message, through any technology, which may be used to identify the signatory in relation to the data message and to indicate the signatory’s approval of the information contained in the data message and that produces the same legal effects as the handwriting signature, being therefore acceptable as evidence in court.”
- Advanced or Reliable Electronic Signatures (Firma Electrónica Avanzada o Fiable)
An Advanced or Reliable Electronic Signature are electronic signatures which are able to meet the following requirements: (a) The signature creation data are, within the context in which they are used, linked exclusively to the signatory; (b) The signature creation data were, at the time of signing, under the exclusive control of the signatory and of no other person; (c) Any alteration to the electronic signature, made after the time of signing, is detectable; and (d) As to the integrity of the information of the data message to which it relates, any alteration made to that information after the time of signing is detectable.
Mexican Commercial Code does not include a definition of QES (Qualified Electronic Signature), in the sense that such term has been built and incorporated in the EU and other country-specific laws. However, Mexican Commercial Code has enacted comprehensive regulation on government authorized Certificate Service Providers ("CSP") and digital certificates issued by such providers. CSPs need to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Economy to operate as CSPs.
 A QES is a specific digital signature implementation that has met the particular specifications of a government, including using a secure signature creation device, and been certified as 'qualified' by either that government or a party contracted by that government.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing electronic signature may change quickly, so DocuSign cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.
Last updated: November 01, 2019
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