Event—Public Programming

The Rule of Law in Mexico: Lessons from the Colonial Past

Crime and corruption have long been staples of the news out of Mexico. Drug lords bribe city police forces and governors flee abroad after stealing tens of millions of dollars from state coffers. What explains the apparent weakness of the rule of law? Albi’s research on the legal culture of 18th-century Mexico, specifically the career of the Mexican lawyer, author, and judge Francisco Javier Gamboa, offers some intriguing suggestions. The colonial legal system worked better than people have assumed. In particularly, its independent judiciary gave people of all ranks access to justice and checked the abuses of power by government officials. But somehow Mexico slipped off the path towards the rule of law. What does colonial history tell us about what went wrong and how it can be fixed?