About Our Project
The Justice in Mexico Project is the continuation of a collaborative research initiative entitled the Project on Reforming the Administration of Justice in Mexico and launched by Wayne Cornelius and David Shirk at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies of University of California, San Diego (2002-2005). In September of 2005, David Shirk relocated the project and its funding to the Trans-Border Institute of the University of San Diego (TBI), which became the host institution for this multi-year research project on the administration of justice and the rule of law in Mexico. Now based at the University of San Diego, the TBI Justice in Mexico Project continues to promote analysis, dialogue, and policy solutions to address a variety of urgent problems related justice sector reform and the rule of law in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border region.
The three-fold rationale for the TBI Justice in Mexico Project is based on: (1) the need to decentralize justice sector analysis and reform efforts in Mexico, (2) the need for a greater emphasis on promoting effective reform and best practices in the Mexican justice sector, and (3) the need for a US-based partner for helping to generate and disseminate analysis on Mexican justice reform initiatives.
In February 2009, the Justice in Mexico Project initiated this blog on related rule of law and security issues. The content of this blog is wide-ranging, but generally fits into our main areas for analysis of rule of law: law and order, transparency and accountability, and access to justice. The goal of this blog is to disseminate information about events in the Mexican justice sector, as well as other relevant developments reported in news stories, reports, and other sources. We make a special effort to provide coverage of issues and developments reported in Mexico, which often do not make it into the mainstream U.S. or international news, especially local events and recent developments in justice sector reform.
The Justice in Mexico Project has four major goals and activities:
A. To conduct research on justice reform and rule of law in Mexico in collaboration with institutional partners in Mexico and the United States.
B. To produce and distribute publications focused on the analysis of justice reform and the rule of law in Mexico.
C. To sponsor and organize seminars, conferences and events to promote a constructive dialogue on rule of law related topics.
D. To generate and organize relevant data on rule of law indicators in Mexico.
The Justice in Mexico Project coordinates and disseminates research on three major components of the rule of law:
1. ORDER. The regulation of individual behavior within society under the law,
2. ACCOUNTABILITY. The accountability of the state and its representatives under the law, and
3. ACCESS. Equal access to justice through the law.
The first component refers to the maintenance of “order,” in terms of the provision of security, the regulation of social conduct, and the resolution of grievances according to a previously devised legal code. Order maintenance implies the existence of effective mechanisms for addressing deviant behavior from established law. “Accountability,” the second component, refers a State that is itself committed to be responsive to their citizens, to protect their individual rights and to abide the established legal order. Accountability is critical to contemporary notions of the rule of law in which groups and individuals in society must be protected from arbitrary or improper conduct by the State and its representatives. Finally, the notion of “access to justice” requires that the enforcement of the law be efficient and predictable, that people have equal access to justice and equal treatment before the law. This component of the rule of law is based on the relatively modern and inherently normative understanding that the law must be effective, swift, and just.