On December 29, 2014, the Federal Official Gazette published the Decree issuing the National Law of Alternative Means for the Dispute Resolutions in criminal actions. This law pursues the establishment of principles, basis, requirements and conditions for applying the alternative means for the dispute of resolutions in criminal actions in order to expedite justice and redress any damages caused to the victims of certain crimes.

Guiding Principles of the Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution

According to this law, the guiding principles of all the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are: willingness, information, confidentiality, flexibility and simplicity, impartiality, equality and honesty. In this order of ideas, confidentiality is fundamental in the alternative dispute resolution procedures, given that, if this law is breached by one of the parties involved in the criminal action, the alternative mechanism could be early concluded.

Offenses subject to this law

The new accusatory criminal justice system seeks to expedite the administration of justice and redress any damage suffered by the victim; increasing thereby the range of offenses to be solved through these alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

According to the National Code of Criminal Procedures, these offenses are:

  1. Offenses prosecuted through criminal complaints or equal demands from the victim or those accepting the pardon of the victim or the injured party;
  2. Negligent offenses, or
  3. Offenses against property committed without violence.

On the other hand, these mechanisms will not be applicable in cases of settlements for willful offenses, unless two years have passed since this settlement was enforced or in cases of domestic violence. These alternative dispute resolution mechanisms will neither apply in cases of breach of previously signed settlements by one of the intervening parties, unless five years have passed since this breach took place or the defendant is declared innocent.

How we can help

This law will enter into force gradually in the states issuing a statement of effective date of enforcement for the National Code of Criminal Procedures, but no later than June 18, 2016.