Arbitration and the public policy exception in Mexico : local exceptions to global standards


University of British Columbia

Date Issued


Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy - PhD




This dissertation examines the tension between globalization and local legal contexts by reference to the interpretation in Mexico of the public policy exception in the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Globalization has promoted convergence of legal norms and institutions that materialize in international conventions and organizations to facilitate trade. This has forced states to adopt global standards and reform their legal systems to effectively participate in the global trade arena. However, the effects of these dynamics on local legal systems are often disregarded or not considered. This dissertation demonstrates that the interpretation and implementation in Mexico of the public policy exception under the New York Convention reflect the impact of local legal arrangements on globalized standards. Additionally, it reveals that a pluralistic approach to this exception advances a more inclusive perspective for the implementation of globalized standards while at the same time offering certainty. A pluralistic approach to the public policy exception creates a space to acknowledge and honor the diversity of legal systems coexisting globally and legitimizes local approaches to public policy. Accordingly, local legal systems do not need to import foreign definitions but can define their interpretation of public policy from within by using their local elements. Using historical, doctrinal, documentary, and qualitative analyses, this study examines the development of international standards, by reference to the public policy exception, and Mexico as an example of a local legal context. For examining local contexts, this study suggests the use of four factors –language, legal tradition, legal context, and legal culture– to understand the local approach to public policy in combination with relevant local elements. In the case of Mexico, the relevant elements examined are legislation, scholarship, court precedents, cases, and the perspective of local legal actors. These factors and elements are used to suggest components to establish a guideline for the interpretation and implementation of the public policy exception in Mexico.

Date Available



Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International




Law, Peter A. Allard School of