Transitioning from the Inquisitorial to the Accusatorial Criminal Justice System: Requirements on Legal Education

Latin America, including Mexico, is undergoing a historic criminal justice reform moving from an inquisitorial to an accusatorial model that requires a complimentary legal education reform. The criminal justice reform replaces not only a system with another but also hundreds of year of legal paradigms, concepts, culture, and professional formation that law schools across the continent need to adapt and incorporate in their curricula. The success of the new justice system requires a new legal culture embedded in future professionals – that can take place in law schools. In Mexico, the criminal justice reform has concentrated in changing the legislation and briefly training the judges, prosecutors, and defenders but has left out law schools reforming their education programs in accordance with the new layering skills that the accusatorial model requires. This scenario will lead to graduating professionals not trained in the new system preventing them from ensuring the proper implementation of the new codes through litigation and critical analysis – law schools are doing sporadic efforts but there is lack of a cohesive force in this aspect. As such, my proposal includes an analysis of legal education, the need to reform according to the accusatorial justice system requirements, presenting some of the challenges, and proposing possible examples.