In Mexico, lands subject to the social system known as “ejido” occupy more than 50% of the national territory. It is possible for individuals to acquire such lands by complying with a series of requirements. Among them, that the titleholder abides by the rights set forth in Article 84 of the Agrarian Law in favor of “…the family members of the seller, the persons who have worked these plots of land for more than a year, the member ejido residents (ejidatarios), the non-member ejido residents and the ejido population.” The Agrarian Law establishes a particular method of notification to interested parties and specifically when notifying the Ejidal Comisariado. It also establishes that “if the notification is not done in such particular method, the sale could be canceled.”

It has been debated whether the violation of such right involves the absolute or relative nullity of the respective sale. As a result, we consider aspects related to the prescription of agrarian rights in relation to the scope of the interpretation of said Article 84 of the Agrarian Law.

The plenary session on administrative matters of the Third Circuit decided, by majority vote, to contradict thesis 6/2015, jurisprudence number 2011704. It states that when the person makes the first transfer of parcels on which the full ownership is adopted, he or she must notify his or her relatives, the people who have worked on the plots for more than a year, the member ejido residents (ejidatarios), the non-member ejido residents and the ejidal population, in such order. If this is order is not followed, the sale may be canceled. Additionally, it establishes that, in the absence of a particular exception on such matter, we should apply Article 1159 of the Federal Civil Code, which relates to the general rule of a 10-year statute of limitations for adverse possession rights. To this effect, the adverse possession term starts accruing from the date of notification of the sale and not from the date the sale was advertised.

Due to the aforementioned, the jurisprudence partially resolves the debate as to the penalty for violations of the notification set forth under Article 84 of the Agrarian Law. On one hand, it recognizes that the semantic use of the word “shall” refers to a relative nullity, which is prescriptive or subject to statutes of limitations. On the other hand, it requires the notification on the existence of the purchase and sale of land in order to avoid the sale being canceled.