02/18/12 (by mwserrano) – The past two months, the judiciary in the state of Yucatán has been busy with reforms, swearing ins, inaugurations, and more. Most recently, in February, the Yucatán judicial branch trained on the topic of justice for youthful offenders (justicia para adolescentes). The trainings were part of a series that began months ago in preparation for an impending transition to a new state system for the adjudication of minors, ages 12 to 18, who are accused of criminal activities. Judges and judicial staff participated in the training, as well as public defenders, state prosecutors, and staff from other government agencies that work with youth.
In mid-January, the Yucatán judiciary swore in a new president of the Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados de Yucatán), José Ignacio Puerto Gutiérrez. The state bar association has participated actively in the state’s justice reform, which is part of the 2008 national constitutional reform efforts, as it has participated in committees that that have sent 72 legislative proposals to Congress in the past four years, 69 of which were approved, resulting in an overhaul of 60% of the state’s laws governing judiciary functions. At his first public event as president, Puerto Gutiérrez addressed the attorneys of Yucatán, emphasizing the importance of their role in ensuring respect for justice and the law, in serving the community at large, and in promoting high ethical standards.
The state also inaugurated its new Institute for Security in Legal and Property Rights (Instituto de Seguridad Jurídica y Patrimonial, Insejupy). Insejupy is designed to facilitate and accelerate all transactions that involve registration with state authorities. It does this by bringing every state notary services under one umbrella, streamlining the procedure for transactions recorded in the public and property registries, and in the notarial archives. The government hopes the new system will incentivize business and construction in the state, as well as home ownership, given that these activities have long been slowed and discouraged by the burdensome legal requirements surrounding them, particularly those that made it difficult to transact legal business remotely from outside the state.
Finally, Yucatán hosted a nationwide contingent of Bar Associations, educators, private attorneys, and public defenders, as the working group Strengthening the Legal Profession in Mexico (Fortalecimiento de la Profesión legal en México) held its fifth meeting in January. Canada’s Department of Justice attended to provide support. The working group aims to draft a national code of ethics that would apply to all of Mexico’s lawyers. Its aspirations are currently focusing toward achieving mandatory national bar association membership, establishing sanctions for attorney misconduct, and requiring continuing education, both generally, and to promote the new accusatory criminal justice system.
 Note that Colegios de Abogados as well as Colegios de Notarios are both translated as Bar Associations, as notarios, in Mexico, are full-fledged lawyers who have also obtained a higher level of professional accreditation to become notarios.