Document Translation, NAFTA and Enforcing U.S./Mexican Judgments

Legal document translations play an increasingly important role in enforcing international contracts. NAFTA, for instance, has caused a dramatic increase in the amount of legal agreements occurring between Mexican and American parties. As a result there has also been an increase in the need for enforcing judgments across the U.S./Mexican border.

Unfortunately, NAFTA is inapplicable to private disputes. To fill in this gap and to facilitate the business purpose of NAFTA, many border states have adopted a Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Money Judgments Act.

The first step in enforcing a contract made with a Mexican party under the Act is to obtain a judgment in accordance with U.S. law. Once a judgment is obtained, the next step is to enforce the judgment in Mexico. The law requires that a conformed, certified copy of the judgment be obtained and that the documents be served on the Mexican defendant in accordance to the Mexican rules of service of process. Further, the statute requires all documents be accompanied by a certified foreign language translation.

The foreign language translation of the judgment should clearly recite the circumstances for the court’s jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s entitlement to the judgment, and the appropriate service of process to be taken. The foreign language translation is then to be presented to the Mexican Consulate for notarization. The Mexican notarization should be made in Spanish, but an English translation of the notarization should also be filed.

See Kash, David W., Esq. (1995): “Enforcement of Judgments Across the Border with Mexico”. The National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade.

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Sec. 12-1701 et seq.

N.M. Stat. Ann. Sec. 39-4A-1 et seq.

For additional information on legal language document translations in litigation, click here to read our earlier legal translation blawg post, “Serving a Foreign Defendant Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d)”. And here to read our legal translation blog post “Are Your Gambling with Your Law Firm’s Document Translation Needs?”
To read our legal translation blog entry “Document Translation and Enforcing U.S. Judgments in Europe”, click here. To read “Professional Translation & Interpreter Services, Multilingual Litigation Solutions, and International Insolvency Law”, click here.

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and Using Foreign Law as Evidence