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Jurisdiction to settle a dispute arising from adhesion banking contracts

Practically all existing legal relationships between banking service providers and their customers are governed by the provisions of adhesion contracts, which the Federal Consumer Protection Law defines as the formats in which a provider unilaterally determines the terms and conditions to be applied to the provision of a service, i.e., customers or users acquire certain rights and obligations before the credit institutions, without being able to negotiate the applicable terms and conditions, since they simply adhere to those that are already pre-established.

Credit institutions include in the adhesion banking contracts a clause indicating the courts that will have jurisdiction to resolve disputes arising between the parties in connection with such contracts. Generally, in such adhesion banking contracts it is established that the competent courts will be those of the place where the parent company is located, which is in accordance with the requirements established in the Commercial Code for one of the parties to understand that it is expressly subject to the jurisdiction of a particular court: (i) domicile of either party, (ii) place of performance of any of the contracted obligations, and/or (iii) location of the thing.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation has stated that in the case of adhesion banking contracts, the express submission by a client or user of banking services to the jurisdiction of a particular court may not be effective, in order to guarantee the human right to effective access to justice, enshrined in Article 17 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, since such submission may be inequitable in the sense that the clients or users may be forced to travel to a place far from their domicile -where the credit institution may have branches or representation- and incur in additional expenses in an unjustified manner.

Roberto Altamirano Fuentes

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