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Jurisdiction to resolve controversies arising under adhesion contracts used for providing banking services

Almost all the legal relationships between banking services providers and its clients, are governed by adhesion contracts, which the Federal Consumer Protection Law defines as the formats where the provider establishes in a unilateral manner, the terms and conditions applicable to the provision of the service, meaning that the users of such service, when entering into agreements with credit institutions, acquire certain rights and contract obligations, without being able to negotiate the terms and conditions applicable, since the clients simply adhere to the ones previously established by the bank services provider.

In the adhesion contracts used for providing banking services, the credit institutions include a clause with the appointment of the courts that shall have jurisdiction over the controversies arising under or in relation to such adhesion contracts. Usually, such adhesion contracts provides that the courts with jurisdiction will be the ones at the same place where the head office of the bank is located, provision that complies with the requirements foreseen in the Commerce Code for one of the parties to be expressly submitted to the jurisdiction of a court: (i) domicile of any of the parties of the contract, (ii) place where the contract obligations must be fulfilled, and/or (iii) the location of the object of the contract.

Notwithstanding the above, the Supreme Court has decided that in cases of adhesion contracts, the express submission of a bank services user or client, to a jurisdiction of certain courts, may not be enforceable, for ensuring bank clients an effective access to justice, in accordance with Article 17 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, since such submission may imply unfair or inequitable treatment, as it forces users of bank services to travel to places distant from them –where a credit institution may have branches or representation offices– and thus, to incur in additional expenses in an unjustified manner.

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