Mexico has considered the UK’s laws on criminalising bribery as inspiration for potential new legislation as it continues efforts to reform its laws and market itself as an attractive place to do business.

According to Nigel Baker, head of the Latin America department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the UK is williing to work closely with Mexico in this area. Baker said the 2010 Bribery Act, which among other things criminalised the failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery, had been highlighted in Mexico as a potential inspiration for new laws.

Baker was speaking at the Lex Mex conference in London today, an event focused on building closer relations between the Mexican and English legal professions.

During the sessions, instances of bribery and corruption were cited as one of the main barriers that firms and businesses face when operating in the country.

Although Mexico, along with other Latin American countries, has signed up to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Anti-Bribery Convention, it is not known how its new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador – who assumes office in December – will propose to tackle the problem.

Also today, the conference heard from Justice José Fernando Franco González-Salas a member Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation since 2006.

Franco González-Salas highlighted changes in the country’s judicial system, implemented in 2016, after which the country shifted from a written inquisitorial system in criminal law to an oral adversarial system.

The judge said strengthening the rule of law was an important step towards Mexico becoming a recognised democratic power and that the presumption of innocence is the ‘backbone’ to accepting the rule of law.

There are now 40 federal criminal justice centres in Mexico and around 220 specialist judges in the country. Franco González-Salas went on to talk about the role that the court can play in improving lives of citizens and Mexico’s ’full regard’ for an independent judiciary.