Improving Labour Courts in Mexico: The Case of Cuautitlan

Outdated and inefficient labour laws and courts make it difficult for workers in Mexico to resolve labour disputes and secure compensation.

Although Mexico has rebounded from its 2009 slump, the country's labour market has yet to return to its pre-recession state. Nationally, the official unemployment rate is 5%, only slightly lower than in 2009. Newly created jobs are not as good as those jobs lost during the downturn.

Traditionally, labour regulations in Mexico are based on the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and Mexico's Federal Labour Law. All Mexican workers enjoy protection thanks to rules that govern working conditions, labour contracts, minimum wages, employee benefits, and union activity. If the rules are violated, workers have the right to file suit in the labour courts. However, labour courts, known as juntas, have become an obstacle in themselves.

Of all workers who go to court and obtain compensation from the court (usually 20% less than what they requested), less than half end up receiving the compensation awarded by the courts. Even worse, the workers' legal costs tend to represent half of any compensation received.

Research led by the Instituto Tecnológico de México focuses on the country's legal environment and aims to address the administrative procedures related to rulings and notifications that impede justice for Mexican workers. In a case study of a large court in Cuautitlan in the State of Mexico, researchers will examine two procedures that they believe will shed light on what policy options could work best: (1) improved processing of decisions to reduce clerical errors; and (2) improved notification processes.

The research will examine the effects of two interventions: correcting clerical errors and providing on-the-job training to court clerks. Research results are also expected to inform the operations of other Mexican courts, as well as courts elsewhere in Latin America.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, March 16, 2012

End Date

Sunday, March 16, 2014


18 months

IDRC Officer

Rodriguez, Mr. Edgard

Total funding

CA$ 191,300


Mexico, North and Central America, South America


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Joyce Sadka


Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

Institution Country


Institution Website