The Mexican Constitution
(La Constitución Política de 1917)
Constitution of 1917, written after the Mexican Revolution
is the basis of all Mexican law - the Magna Carta. It
contains reforms that addressed the principal causes of the
Mexican Revolution - labor abuses, land expropriated from
farmers and villages, natural resources exploited by foreign
companies, etc. The Constitution of 1917 contains such
revolutionary ideas for the time as 48 hour work weeks,
overtime, vacations and maternity leave.
Laws are based
directly on the Constitution; all Mexican laws receive their
authority from the Constitution. Some Laws like the Labor
law are defined in great detail in the Constitution (art.
123a). The contents of Article 123 are considered social
guarantees and human rights established in the Constitution.
Every Law stipulates what Secretary is
assigned authority and responsibility for
Laws begin as
initiatives from State or Federal Representatives (Diputados),
or Senators, from the Executive branch or from private
individuals or institutions.
approved by Congress and signed by the President. Each law
designates which Secretary (cabinet branch) is responsible
for oversight. (STPS- Secretary of Labor, SEMARNAT -
Secretary of Environment, etc) Once a law is signed by the
President it takes effect after its publication in the DOF -
the Diario Oficial de la Federación. We refer to the DOF as
the Official Daily of the Federation. It is incorrect
to refer to it as a Gazette. There is a Mexican law, Law of
the Official Daily of the Federation and Gazettes, that
stipulates the legal difference between a Gazette of which
there are many and the Official Daily of the Federation of
which there is only one.
define the Laws - Regulations of laws are created by the
Secretary that is responsible for the enforcement of the
Law. Regulations establish the procedures,
processes, etc. for compliance
to the Laws.
(Norma Oficial Mexicana, NOM's)
Official Mexican Standard
(Official Mexican Standards) have the
force of law. The DGN (Dirección General de Normas) is
a department of the Secretary of Economy and is responsible
for creating the NOMs. They detail the form, format, documentation
that must be maintained for compliance to laws and
regulations; they also detail fines and sanctions.
the different parts of the code for NOM's stand
Norma Oficial Mexicana
number of the NOM
Abbreviation for the
Government Dept. that it falls under
it took effect
are voluntary standards and reference
guides, they are obligatory when a Law, Regulation or NOM
obligates their use.
“Circulares” are administrative acts through which the
Federal Executive departments and entities (“Secretarías”
and “Subsecretarías”) give instructions to lower departments
or to give clarification to the parties subject to the laws,
regulations or standards.
They are not regulations or standards – they are designed to
develop criteria for the compliance to regulations or
standards (NOMs) or clarify procedures or processes that are
requirements in the laws, regulations or standards.
The “circulares” cannot modify regulations or standards but
are meant to clarify specific points without establishing
new rights or obligations to the parties subject to those
regulations or standards. Their intent is to constitute
general criteria to apply to concrete cases, and they are
meant to aid the lower level functionaries and the subject
parties to apply the precepts found in the laws,
regulations, or standards.
“Circulares” by their nature are not permanent and they
cease to have legal effects when a law, regulation or
standard is cancelled or modified.