UPDATE: Legal Research in Brazil
By Monaliza Da Silva
Updated by Maíra Rodrigues
Maíra Rodrigues graduated from the University of Brasília in 2017. She is currently an LL.M candidate in Legal Studies at New York University. Prior to joining NYU’s LL.M Program, Maíra worked as an associate lawyer in the Antitrust and Trade Law Group of a high-profile law firm in Brazil.
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. General Data About Brazil
- 3. Brazilian Constitution and Constitutional Law
- 3.1. Fundamental Rights
- 3.2. Nationality and Political Rights
- 3.3. Institution Structure: Federal Organization
- 3.4. Institutional Structure: Separation of Powers
- 4. Sources of Law, Legal Interpretation and Main Statutes and Codes
- 4.1. Civil Law and Civil Procedure
- 4.2. Corporate and Commercial Law
- 4.3. Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
- 4.4. Labor and Employment Law
- 4.5. Tax Law
- 4.6. Electoral Law
- 4.7. Competition Law
- 4.8. Intellectual Property Law
- 4.9. Privacy Law and Data Protection
- 4.10.Environmental Law
- 4.11. Immigration Law
- 4.12. Banking and Finance Law
- 4.13. Sports Law
- 4.14. Anti-Corruption Law
- 4.15. Other Codes
- 5. Appendix
- 6. Glossary
The purpose of this article is to provide information about Brazil, especially for those who intend to conduct legal research about the country or to understand the core features of Brazilian law. The starting point was Edilenice Passos’s article, published in 2008. Following that, Monaliza da Silva’s essay, published in 2015, presented substantial modifications to the original article, and provided a guideline on the Brazilian legal structure and legal practice, both in public and private law, giving emphasis on the sources, and principles of these legal fields. By its turn, the purpose of this work is to update the previous article by providing current data and information on the Brazilian legal system, and adding new topics to the guideline, regarding areas of law not previously covered.
The first problem one who wants to have legal information about Brazil faces is the language. Although statutes and legislation are easily accessible on the webpage of governmental institutions, there are few of them in English - usually the webpages have only their first pages in English, or no English versions at all. The main official government national institution’s webpages in where legislation can be found are:
Furthermore, it is necessary to bear in mind that Brazil belongs to the civil law tradition; therefore, the main sources of legal rules are on positive law and some fields of law are mainly regulated by codes. In order to identify the applicable norm and the norm in force, notions about legal interpretation, on how to solve apparent (or real) conflicts of law, and on how to fulfill eventual gaps is essential.
Although there is no adoption of stare decisis, some judicial decisions may be biding to other institutions, having extra partes effects – for instance due to Súmulas or constitutional provisions. The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 settles large part of the institutional structure of the legal and political systems, hence several references are going to be made to this document. The text in English can be accessed in the Brazilian Supreme Court website, although some Constitutional Amendments were not included.
- National Capital: Brasília (DF)
- Population: 208,494,900
- National Language: Portuguese
- Form of State: Federation
- Form of Government: Democratic Republic
- System of Government: Presidential system
Brazil is a federative republic, composed by municipalities, 26 federal states, as well as the Federal District (DF), and has representatives chosen in periodical elections for limited terms. It is a Presidential system of government, with the President as the head of both State and Government.
The requirements to exercise political rights, both to vote and to be voted for, are established in the Constitution. Voting is mandatory for everyone older than 18 years but optional for illiterates, individuals that are over 70 and those with ages between 16 and 18 years old. To be elected for a representative function, it is necessary to have Brazilian nationality, to be literate, in full exercise of political rights, enrolled in the elector’s list (alistamento eleitoral), to reside in the same district, and to be affiliated to a political party. For certain positions it is also required minimum age, being of 35 for president, vice-president and senator; 30 for governor and vice-governor of a member state or the Federal District (DF); 21 for mayor, vice-mayor, federal and state representative; and 18 for municipal representative (vereador). In addition, to become president it is also required Brazilian birth nationality. Subsequent reelection is allowed only once for president, governor and mayors - without limitations for the other electoral offices. Ineligibility requirements may be imposed by law and, currently, the Complementary Statute (Lei Complementar – from now onLC) 64/1990, modified by the LC 135/2010, sets the list of ineligibility hypothesis.
The presidential term is four years and the vice-president replaces him/her temporarily in case the president is unable to exercise his/her functions for limited time or succeeds him/her in case of permanent vacancy. Both the president and the vice-president cannot stay out of the country for more than 15 days without the authorization of the Congress, running the risk of being removed from their positions. If the vice-president cannot take office in case of temporary vacancy, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, of the Senate and of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), in this order, shall assume the presidency.
In case of permanent vacancy of both the president and vice-president, elections shall take place. In case the vacancies occur in the first two years of the mandate, the new president shall be elected by direct voting 90 days after the last event. On the other hand, if it happened in the last two years, the Congress, by indirect voting, shall decide within 30 days. In both cases, the new president stays in office only until the end of the original mandate.
Brazil has had in total seven constitutions. The first was imposed in March 25, 1824, by the Emperor Dom Pedro I, after independence from Portugal in 1822; the second constitutional text was from February 24, 1891 and proclaimed the Republican government; In July 16, 1934, the third Constitution was enacted in response to the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932; the fourth text was enacted in November 10, 1937 by Getúlio Vargas, who implemented a populist and authoritarian government referred to as the New State (Estado Novo); in September 18, 1946, with the decline of New State, the fifth constitution established a democracy - it lasted until the 1964 coup d’état that initiated the military dictatorship period; in January 24, 1967 the Constitution of the authoritarian regime was enacted; and lastly, with the end of the military government, the current constitution of October 5, 1988 was enacted (“CF/88”).
The current text, popularly known as Constituição Cidadã (Citizen Constitution) is characterized by the establishment of fundamental and social rights, and for the detailed provision it has on the social, economic and political aspects of the new regime. The Constitution is composed of the original text, amendments and the Transitional Constitutional Provisions Act (Ato de Disposições Constitucionais Transitórias – ADCT). The main text is divided in Titles, Chapters, Sections and Subsections:
Title I: Fundamental Principles
Title II: Fundamental Rights and Guarantees
- Chapter I: Individual and Collective Rights and Duties
- Chapter II: Social Rights
- Chapter III: Nationality
- Chapter IV: Political Rights
- Chapter V: Political Parties
Title III: The Organization of the State
- Chapter I: Political and Administrative Organization
- Chapter II: The Union
- Chapter III: The Federated States
- Chapter IV: The Municipalities
- Chapter V: The Federal District and Territories
- Section I: The Federal District
- Section II: Territories
- Chapter VI: Federal Intervention
- Chapter VII: Public Administration
- Section I: General Provisions
- Section II: Government Employees
- Section III: The Military of the States, of the Federal District and Territories
- Section IV: The Regions
Title IV: The Organization of Powers
- Chapter I: The Legislative Power
- Section I: The National Congress
- Section II: Powers of National Congress
- Section III: The Chamber of Deputies
- Section IV: The Federal Senate
- Section V: Deputies and Senators
- Section VI: The Sessions
- Section VII: The Committees
- Section VIII: The Legislative Process
- Subsection I: General Provisions
- Subsection II: Amendments to the Constitution
- Subsection III: The Legislation
- Section IX: Accounting, Financial and Budgetary Control
- Chapter II: The Executive Power
- Section I: The President and Vice-President of the Republic
- Section II: Duties of the President
- Section III: Liability of the President
- Section IV: The Minister of the State
- Section V: The Republic Council and the National Defense Council
- Subsection I: The Republic Council
- Subsection II: The National Defense Council
- Chapter III: The Judicial Power
- Section I: General Provisions
- Section II: The Supreme Federal Court
- Section III: The Superior Court of Justice
- Section IV: The Federal Regional Courts and Federal Judges
- Section V: Labor Courts and Judges
- Section VI: Electoral Courts and Judges
- Section VII: Military Courts and Judges
- Section VIII: Courts and Judges of the States
- Chapter IV: The Essential Functions to Justice
- Section I: The Public Prosecutor
- Section II: The Public Advocacy
- Section III: The Legal Profession and the Public Legal Defense
Title V: The Defense of the State and Democratic Institutions
- Chapter I: The State of Defense and State of Siege
- Section I: The State of Defense
- Section II: The State of Siege
- Section III: General Provisions
- Chapter II: Armed Forces
- Chapter III: Public Security
Title VI: Taxation and Budget
- Chapter I: The National Tax System
- Section I: General Principles
- Section II: Limitations of the Power to Tax
- Section III: Federal Taxes
- Section IV: State and Federal District Taxes
- Section V: Municipal Taxes
- Section VI: Tax Revenue Sharing
- Chapter II: Public Finance
- Section I: General Provisions
- Section I: Budgets
Title VII: The Economic and Financial Order
- Chapter I: General Principles of Economic Activity
- Chapter II: Urban Policy
- Chapter III: Agricultural and Land Policy, and Agrarian Reform
- Chapter IV: The National Financial System
Title VIII: The Social Order
- Chapter I: General Provisions
- Chapter II: Social Welfare
- Section I: General Provisions
- Section II: Health
- Section III: Social Security
- Section IV: Social Assistance
- Chapter III: Education, Culture and Sports
- Section I: Education
- Section II: Culture
- Section III: Sports
- Chapter IV: Science and Technology
- Chapter V: Social Communication
- Chapter VI: Environment
- Chapter VII: Family, Children, Adolescents and the Elderly
- Chapter VIII: Native Brazilians
Title IX: General Constitutional Provisions
The CF/88 provides for a long list of protected rights and guarantees, including other non-explicit rights that follow from the constitutional regime and principles, or international treaties that Brazil takes part.
The Article 5 establishes the main list of individual rights and its head proclaims the equality before the law and the inviolability of the right to life, personal security and property. Among other rights, this Article protects gender equality; the legality principle – no coercion without law –; prohibition of torture; prohibition of censorship and freedom of expression, of thought, and of religion; privacy; freedom to choose professional occupation; right to access of information; right of assembly and association; the right to property, but limited with regard to its social function; the right to intellectual property; the right to inheritance; costumer rights; right of petition to public authorities to protect rights and to issue public documents; right to judicial assistance; the right to a jury and due process; prohibition of retroactive law on criminal realm; prohibition of racism, which is considered a non bailable crime; prohibition of militia and armed groups against the state; prisoner rights; prohibition on extradition of foreigners due to political crimes or Brazilian nationals in any circumstance; prohibition on use of illegal evidence; right to presumption of innocence; publicity of judicial acts; right to habeas corpus; right to injunction against public authorities in case of violation of fundamental rights (Mandado de Segurança); right to habeas data – injunction to have access to information; right to popular petition (Ação Popular) to protect public property and the environment; free judicial assistance for people without financial resources; and the right to judicial and administrative processes with reasonable short time duration.
The fundamental rights of Article 5 have immediate application, and do not exclude other possible rights that follow from the constitution. International human rights treaties may be incorporated having the same status as constitutional law if, after they are sanctioned, Congress approves the treaty in a similar procedure as the enactment of constitutional amendment. However, if the treaty does not pass through this process, it acquires status of superior norm when compared to ordinary legislation, but below the Constitution. In addition, §4 of Article 5 determines that Brazil is under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
The Constitution also establishes social rights. The Article 6 expresses rights that may be exercised by a collectivity – the rights to education, health, alimentation, work, leisure, transport, social security, social-welfare, maternity, infancy and social assistance. In Articles 7 through 11, labor rights regarding employment relations (such as minimum wages, working conditions, retirement plan and welfare guarantees) are established.
The Brazilian nationality is acquired either by birth or naturalization. There is no distinction between these categories, and only the Constitution can establish exceptions.
Regarding the first type, i.e. nationality acquired by birth, the system adopts both the ius solis and the ius sanguinis criteria. A native Brazilian may be someone:
- who was born in Brazilian territory, even if his/her parents are foreigners;
- who was born abroad, but at least one of his or her parents is Brazilian in service of the Brazilian government; or
- who was born abroad and his/her parents, being at least one of them Brazilian, were not in official service of the Brazilian Government – a situation in which it is necessary either to be register in a Brazilian public office with competence to recognize the birth or that the individual resides in Brazil and opt, at any time after becoming 18 years old, for the Brazilian nationality.
The first case is ius soli, and the last two follow the ius sanguinis criteria.
It is also possible to become Brazilian by naturalization. It is required that either (i) the individual is from a Portuguese speaking country, who had resided in Brazil for at least one year, and that he/she is able to prove his/her moral integrity; or (ii) that he/she is a foreigner of any nationality who resides in Brazilian territory for more than 15 uninterrupted years, who does not have any criminal conviction and, finally, that he/she decides to apply for Brazilian nationality.
Portuguese individuals who permanently reside in Brazil have the same inherent rights as Brazilians, except when the Constitution establishes distinctions and since there is reciprocity by Portugal regarding Brazilians. Currently, this reciprocity is settled by the Tratado de Amizade, Cooperação e Consulta (Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Consult), signed by both countries in 2000.
The loss of Brazilian nationality shall be declared by a judicial decision, in case of conviction regarding activities that are against the national interest, or in case a new nationality is acquired, except (i) when the native nationality is recognized by the foreign law, or (ii) when the foreign nationality is imposed as a condition for the individual to stay or exercise civil rights in this foreign country.
The political positions that can only be exercised by native Brazilians are of (i) president and vice-president of the Republic; (ii) president of the Chamber of Deputies; (iii) president of the Senate; (iv) member of the Supreme Court (STF); (v) diplomat; (vi) military officers; and (vii) defense minister. In addition to the right to vote, Brazilian citizens can exercise the popular sovereignty through plebiscite, referendum and popular initiative of legislation.
According to the Constitution and the Political Parties Act (Lei 9096/1995), the creation of political parties is free although some conditions must be satisfied. On the constitutional level, parties (i) must respect the national sovereignty, democratic regime, multiparty system, the fundamental rights, (ii) shall be of national coverage, (iii) must not receive financial resources from foreign institutions, and finally, (iv) must respect both parliamentary and electoral laws. In addition to the Constitution rules on Political Parties – amended in 2017 by the Constitutional Amendment 97/17, specific requirements and rules applicable for the creation and regulation of parties, including norms on membership and campaign finance, are on the Political Parties Act and sparse regulation as the Lei 13487/17 (creates a public fund for campaign finance) and Lei 13488/17 (regulates candidates’ spending in campaigns and establishes other general provisions on political parties’ performance).
As stated above, the Brazilian Federation is composed of the States, the Federal District and municipalities. The Constitution allows the creation of territories, but currently there are none. Each member state can have its own constitution, being only relatively autonomous, though. The member states’ competences are those that are not forbidden by the National Constitution and they shall respect the principles of the national constitutional regime. The municipalities, on their turn, are organized by organic statutes, which must respect, and be limited by, the national Constitution.
The competences – political, administrative and legislative – of each sphere are established in the Constitution. Some competences are exclusive; others are shared (denominated as concurrent competence) or common among the member. The competences are exclusive when only a certain member of the federation has monopoly of action or legislation over the particular subject. For instance, only the Union has power to engage in foreign relations or declare war, and to legislate over civil, commercial, criminal and procedure law. On the other hand, the legislative competence may be shared or concurrent between the Union, the states and the Federal District when the Union is in charge of establishing general norms on certain issue, and the others, particular rules regarding the same matter. As an example, tax, financial and economic law can be settled in the general level by the Union, whereas the states and the Federal District legislate the particularities of how the tax or the policy shall be applied. When the Union does not establish general norms, the state has the power to determine them; however, if the Union creates specific norms, such state’s determination would be considered as unconstitutional invasion of competence. The concept of “general rules” is not defined in the Constitution, causing large disagreement among scholars and the legal profession.
Lastly, the competence may be common among all the members of the federation when all of them can promote initiatives to satisfy certain goal. For instance, all members (i) shall protect the Constitution and democratic institutions; (ii) shall protect the environment; (iii) are responsible for public health, and protection of people with disabilities; and (iv) shall promote culture, access to information and science. It is important to emphasize that the competences of the states are determined residually – i.e., the states shall act and legislate in subjects that are not prohibited or delegated exclusively to another federal member.
The competences in the Constitution settled in these dispositions:
Exclusive Executive competence of the Union
Exclusive Legislative competences of the Union
Common competences of the Union, states, Federal District and Municipalities
Concurrent or shared Legislative competences of the Union, states and Federal District
Residual competences of the states
Article 25, §1
Competences of the municipalities
Moreover, the Union has ownership, among other things, of the lands essential to secure the nation borders; lakes, rivers and waters crossing more than one state; the resources of the continental platform and territorial waters; mineral resources; and lands traditionally occupied by Native Brazilians. The executive competences of the Union comprehends, among other, the relations with foreign states; the powers to declare war and peace, state of siege, and federal intervention; the power to issue currency and administrate financial reserves; to secure the postal service; explore directly or indirectly and regulate telecommunications, energy, structure of ports, air and aero spatial navigation; organize the police; and the guarantee of public service.
The separation of powers in Brazil is structured in three branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary.
The Legislative Power is exercised: (i) at the Federal level, by the National Congress - a bicameral organ composed by the Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos Deputados) and the Senate (Senado); (ii) by the member states, by the Legislative Assemblies (Assembleias Legislativas); (iii) at the Federal District, by the Legislative Chamber (Câmara Legislativa); and (iv) at the municipalities, by the Municipal Chambers (Câmaras Municipais).
In Congress, the Chamber of Deputies is composed by people’s representatives, proportionally elected in each state and the Federal District. The Senate, on the other hand, is composed by representatives of the states and the Federal District – three senators each - selected by majority vote for an eight-year period. The Senate is renewed alternatively in one and two thirds each four years. The number of deputies is proportional to each state’s population although it must be at least eight and max 70. To be the President of the Congress or of the Senate requires Brazilian birth nationality; the term in office is of two years, not being allowed reelection in the same legislative term. The President of the Senate is, at the same time, the President of the National Congress.
The Congress has the power to deliberate and, with the President signing it into law, to enact statutes that are in the Union’s competences; the Chamber of Deputies, has exclusive competence to open proceedings against the President, Vice-President and State Ministers; and, lastly, the Senate has, among other things, exclusive competence to sue and try the President, Vice-President, State Ministers, and Military Commanders for crimes of responsibility, as well as to trial the members of the Brazilian Supreme Court and other authorities related to the justice system for crimes of responsibility. In addition, the competence to control the Administration, at the national sphere, belongs to the National Congress, which exercises this duty with the support of the Federal Court of Accounts (Tribunal de Contas da União – TCU).
The primary sources of law, i.e. those established by the Constitution, are (i) the Constitution and its amendments; (ii) complementary acts (Leis Complementares – LC); (iii) ordinary legislative acts and statutes (Leis Ordinárias – LO); (iv) delegated acts; (v) provisional measures (Medidas Provisórias – MP); (vi) legislative decrees; and (vii) resolutions. The most important ones are the Constitution, complementary and ordinary acts and statues, and provisional measures.
Complementary (LC) and ordinary (LO) acts and statues differ in their content and requirements on legislative proceeding. Complementary acts regard particular subjects expressly established by the Constitution and require absolute majorities of each House of the Congress to be approved. The ordinary acts, on the other hand, concern other subjects of law and require only simple majority for approval.
Provisional Measures (MP) consist in Executive acts biding as law, issued by the President in case of urgent and relevant matters. These measures shall be sent to the Congress, who may adopt them as legislative acts, dismiss them or let them lose efficacy within 60 days, extendable once for more 60 days by the President.
The Congress may attribute some of its legislative competences for the President to issue delegated acts.
Legislative decrees are the means by which the Congress exercises its internal executive and administrative functions. As regards the procedure, it is not required a presidential sanctioning, and the legislative decrees shall be decided by simple majority. Resolutions, on their turn, are related to private competences of the National Congress or to internal competences of state institutions, such as the Supreme Court (STF) and the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).
The legislative process that takes place in Congress is basically composed of initiative, debate, voting, approval by the Congress, sanction or veto by the President, enactment and, finally, publication.
The process begins with the initiative, i.e. with a bill of law that shall be analyzed first by one of the Congress Houses, depending on where this bill is proposed, and then revised by the other. Within the originating House, the bill passes through the technical, formal and material scrutiny of legislative commissions. If it is approved by them, it is forwarded to the plenary for discussion and voting. After the voting process within this first House, it is either rejected if dismissed, or forwarded to the reviewing House, if approved.
The reviewing House shall discuss and deliberate about the bill. When it is approved, it is sent to the President to sign it into law; however, if it is rejected or amended by this House, it returns to the originating House, which must decide whether to adopt the changes or not, and then, finally, send to the President. The President may (i) veto part or the whole bill for being unconstitutional or against public interest, (ii) expressly approve it, or (iii) implicitly sign it into law, when there is no manifestation by him/her on the bill after 15 days of receiving the proposal. The Congress may surpass the veto by absolute majority of the senators and deputies within 30 days after receiving it. If the veto is overridden, the President shall promulgate the act.
Bills proposed by the Chamber of Deputies or its members, the President, the Supreme Court, the higher courts, the General Attorney (Procurador-Geral da União) and citizens (when they have initiative power) must be initiated in the Chamber of Deputies and revised by the Senate. On the other hand, the bills initiated by the Senate and its members and member state legislatures, shall be initiated in the Senate and revised by the Chamber of Deputies.
After being promulgated and published, the regular vacatio legis is 45 days, i.e., usually the act enters into force in 45 days. Nevertheless, the act itself may establish another term.
At the member states and municipal levels, the legislative process follows the same principles, i.e. has the same phases, respecting the particularities of each sphere. Rules on this regard are settled on the state’s constitutions or in the organic statutes.
The first step of the constitutional amendment procedure is the initiative. Constitutional amendments can be only proposed by (i) one third of the member of the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, (ii) the President, or (iii) more than half of the member states’ legislatives bodies, which shall be represented by the relative majority of their members.
After the bill is proposed, it shall be addressed by the house that started the initiative, where it will be discussed and voted. If it is eventually approved by three fifths of the members of this chamber, the bill is sent to the other house in which the same process of deliberation and voting takes place. If also approved by qualified majority of three fifths, the bill is addressed once again to the first chamber and the procedure must be repeated. In other words, the bill must be approved in each chamber by qualified majority twice in order to become a Constitutional Amendment. At the end of this process, presidential sanctioning is not required, i.e. that the president signs it into law.
The Brazilian Constitution has not only formal or procedural limitations, but also temporal and material amendment restrictions. The Constitution cannot be amended during federal intervention, state of defense or state of siege (time-related constrains), and the amendment proposals cannot tend to abolish the Federation, the secret, universal and periodic vote; the separation of powers; and the fundamental rights (material constrains).
The head of Executive Power in the national level is the President, who is aided by the State Ministers. The President is also the head of State and of the Military Forces. Both the President and the Vice-President are elected by majority vote for a 4 years term, and consecutive reelection is allowed only once. The governor is the head of government in the states and in the Federal District of Brasília; and the mayor, of the municipalities.
The President has, among other things, the exclusive power to select the State Ministers, to exercise the federal administration, to initiate the legislative process regarding some matters, to sanction or veto federal legislative acts, to issue decrees, to promote relationships with foreign states, to sign international treaties which shall be submitted to Congress, to decree state of siege, to grant pardon, to appoint the members of the Supreme Court and the Superior and Federal Courts and to declare war and celebrate peace.
The Constitution establishes as crimes of responsibility the acts of the President that go against the existence of the Union; the exercise of the Legislative and the Judicial Power, or the constitutional power of the members of the Federation; the exercise of political, individual or social rights; the internal security; probity of administration; budgetary norms; or compliance with the law or courts’ decisions. If a two-thirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies decides to proceed with the accusation against the President (i) the Supreme Court is in charge of the trial, in case of ordinary criminal violations; and (ii) in case of crimes of responsibility, the Senate has this responsibility. According to the Lei 1079/50, the practice of these crimes or the mere attempt leads to Impeachment – i.e. the loss of the presidential position. This act is applicable not only to the President, but also to State Ministers, judges of the Supreme Court and the General Attorney.
The CF/88 establishes that the Judiciary is composed by:
- the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal – STF);
- the National Justice Council (Conselho Nacional de Justiça – CNJ);
- the Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça – STJ)
- the Superior Labor Court (Tribunal Superior do Trabalho – TST)
- regional federal courts and federal judges;
- labor courts and labor judges;
- electoral courts and electoral judges;
- military courts and military judges; and
- courts and judges of the states, Federal District, and territories.
The Supreme Court has exclusive power to propose legislation regarding the judicial organization, thus safeguarding constitutional rules about the entering and the progress on the career. The Judiciary enjoys administrative and financial autonomy and, in addition, it is guaranteed to judges: tenure until compulsory retirement, irremovability and irreducibility of earnings. Nevertheless, they are not allowed to exercise another function or position (except one teaching position), receive compensations for their participation in lawsuits, exercise partisan activities, practice law in the court she belongs to for three years after her term ends.
The jurisdictions of the STF, the National Council of Justice (Conselho Nacional de Justiça – CNJ), and of the superior courts are extended over the entire Brazilian territory, whereas the other judicial bodies have territorial limitations. The specific competences and jurisdiction of the other courts and judges are settled in the Constitution or in statutes.
Composition and Jurisdiction of the Courts:
Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal - STF)
The Court is composed by eleven Judges, chosen by the President and ratified by the majority of the Senate. It is necessary to be at least 35 and maximum 65 years old, and to have remarkable legal knowledge and spotless reputation.
Article 102, CF/88: Jurisdiction over the entire Brazilian Territory. The main original jurisdiction of the Court is over direct and abstract judicial review; in ordinary criminal cases, over the President, Vice-President, members of the Congress, the STF judges themselves, and the General Attorney; in ordinary criminal cases and crimes of malversation, the Ministers of the State, the Commanders of Marine, Army and Air Force, the members of Superior Courts, the members of the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) and the leaders of diplomatic missions; over habeas corpus regarding any of the previously mentioned authorities or habeas corpus, Injunction (Mandado de Segurança) or habeas data against acts of the President, the chairs of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, the TCU, the General Attorney or the STF itself; conflicts between foreign States or international institutions and the Union, states, Federal District or territory; conflicts among the members of the Federation; over extradition request by foreign State; over habeas corpus when the co-author is a superior court or the plaintiff is an employee directly subjected to the jurisdiction of the STF, or a crime with one judgment instance; over criminal revision of the cases previously judged by the STF; over petition to guarantee the applicability of the STF’s decisions; over cases in which all the members of the Judiciary have direct or indirect interest; and over jurisdiction conflicts between Superior and other courts. The ordinary appeal jurisdiction is over habeas corpus, writ of mandamus, injunction, habeas data, writ of injunction decided in single instance by the superior courts when the remedy is denied; and political crimes. The appellate extraordinary jurisdiction regards judicial decisions taken in single or last instance which is against the Constitution; declares the unconstitutionality of treaty or federal statute; upholds the constitutionality of state or local act contested on constitutional grounds; or upholds local legislation against federal law.
Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça – STJ)
The Court is composed by at least 33 judges who are chosen by the President and ratified by the majority of the Senate. It is necessary to be at least 35 and maximum 65 years old, and to have remarkable legal knowledge and spotless reputation. One-third of the judges must be from the regional federal courts, one-third from the state courts of justice. These courts address to the President a list with three candidates and the President chooses one. The other one-third of the members must be chosen among lawyers or members of the Federal, District or State Public Prosecution.
Article 105, CF/88: The Court has original jurisdiction mainly over ordinary criminal cases against the Governors; over ordinary and malversation criminal cases against the judges of the state courts of justice, the member of the state courts of accounts, the judges of the regional federal courts, the judges of the regional electoral courts and regional labor courts, members of local account courts and the members of the Federal Public Prosecutor Office; writ of mandamus and habeas data against acts of ministers of state, commanders of the Marine, Army or Air For, or the STJ itself; over habeas corpus when the co-author is a court under STJ jurisdiction, minister of state or commander of the Marine, Army or Air Force; over conflict of jurisdiction other than those on STF jurisdiction (mentioned above). The STJ has ordinary appeal jurisdiction over habeas corpus and writ of mandamus decided in last or single resort by the federal regional courts or state courts when the remedy is denied; over cases in between foreign state or international institution against a municipality or individual living in Brazil. The Court has especial jurisdiction over cases decided in single or last resort by the regional federal courts, state courts when the decision is against treaty or federal law; upholds state statute against federal law; or gives different meaning to federal law when compared to other courts.
Superior Labor Court (Tribunal Superior do Trabalho – TST)
The Court is composed of 27 judges who are chosen by the President and ratified by the majority of the Senate. It is necessary to be at least 35 and maximum 65 years old. One-fifth of the court must be lawyers or members of the Labor Public Prosecution with at least ten years of practice. The other members are judges from Regional Labor Courts.
Article 111-A, §1, CF/88: The jurisdiction of the TST is established at Article 896 of the Consolidation of Labor Law (Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho – CLT, Dec.-Lei 5452/1943).
Federal Regional Courts (Tribunal Regional Federal – TRF)
The Federal Regional Courts are composed by at least seven judges, usually from the region of the court, chosen by the President, and who are at least 30 years and not more than 65. One-fifth of the court must be lawyers or members of the Federal Public Prosecution with at least ten years of practice. The other members are judges from lower federal courts, after at least five years of career based on seniority or merit, alternatively.
Article 108, CF/88: The Court has original jurisdiction especially over ordinary and malversation criminal cases against federal judges on their area of jurisdiction; writ of mandamus and habeas corpus against acts of the TRF or lower federal judges; habeas corpus against decisions lower federal judges; conflict of jurisdiction among judges under the jurisdiction of the TRF. The Court has appellate jurisdiction decisions taken by lower federal judges or state judges exercising federal jurisdiction.
The position of federal judge depends on being selected by public examination (concurso público). It is necessary to have at least three years of legal practice.
Article 109, CF/88: the federal judges have jurisdiction over cases regarding the Union, federal agencies or public companies, except labor and bankruptcy situation or when there is jurisdiction of electoral or labor courts; over cases regarding international treaties; over political or ordinary crimes against public property or public service of the Union, federal agencies or public companies, except cases in which electoral or military courts have jurisdiction; over criminal cases established in international treaty in which the act started in Brazil but was completed in foreign state or vice-versa; over cases involving serious violations of human rights; over crimes against the labor organization and, when established by legislation, against the financial and economic orders; over habeas corpus not subjected to other jurisdiction; over writ of mandamus and habeas data against federal authority; over crimes that took place in ships and aircrafts, except when military courts have jurisdiction; over crimes of foreigner with irregular situation in Brazil; and over indigenous rights disputes.
Regional Labor Courts (Tribunal Regional do Trabalho – TRT)
The Regional Labor Courts are composed by at least seven judges, usually from the region of the court, appointed by the President, and who are at least 30 years and not more than 65. One-fifth of the court must be of lawyers or members of the Labor Public Prosecution with at least ten years of practice. The other members are judges from lower labor courts based on seniority or merit, alternatively.
Article 114, CF/88: The TRT are appellate courts of decisions of labor judges. The substantive jurisdiction is thus related to the jurisdiction of labor judges.
The position of labor judge depends on being selected by public examination (concurso público), and it is necessary to have at least three years of legal practice.
Article 114, CF/88: Labor judges have jurisdiction over causes related to: labor relationship; the right to strike; trade-union representation; writ of mandamus, habeas corpus and habeas data when the problem regards matters under the jurisdiction of labor justice; conflict of jurisdiction among labor courts; over injuries – patrimonial or moral – caused by accident at work; causes in which the employer was sanctioned by the public labor supervision authorities; and enforcement of welfare contributions.
Superior Electoral Court (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral – TSE)
The Court is composed by at least seven judges, being three from the STF and two of the STJ, selected through vote within these two courts; and two appointed by the President among six lawyers selected by the STF with remarkable legal knowledge and spotless reputation.
Article 121, CF/88: The competences of electoral justice are settled at LO 4737/65 (Código Eleitoral – CE).
Regional Electoral Courts (Tribunal Regional Eleitoral – TRE), Electoral Boards (Junta Eleitoral) and electoral judges
The TREs are established in the capital of every state and in the Federal District. The Court is composed by two judges from a state court and two first-instance state judges selected by the state court – these judges are elected among their peers; one judge from a TRF when there is a TRF in the capital of the state, or a federal judge chosen by the TRF that has jurisdiction on the particular state; and two judges are appointed by the President who shall choose from a list submitted by the state court. The judges must serve for two years at least and are not allowed to exercise this function for more than two consecutive biennia.
Article 121, CF/88: The competences of electoral justice are settled at LO 4737/65 (Código Eleitoral – CE).
Superior Military Court (Superior Tribunal Militar – STM), Military Courts and Military judges
The STM is composed by 15 judges with life tenure, appointed by the President and ratified by the Senate. Among them, three must be general officials from the Navy, four general officials from the Army, and three general officials from the Air Force. All these general officials must be active and in their respective highest position. The other five shall be civilians appointed by the President. Among the civilians, three must be lawyers with remarkable legal knowledge and spotless reputation, and two by equal choice that were either auditor judges or members of the Military Public Prosecution. 
Article 124, CF/88: The military justice has jurisdiction over military crimes defined as such by law and other further competences are also settled by legislation.
State Court (Tribunal de Justiça – TJ) and State Judges (Juiz de Direito)
The organization and composition of the state courts are determined by state legislation, respecting the rules established in the Constitution. The TJs may work in a decentralized manner, though regional chambers.
Article 125, §1, CF/88: The jurisdiction of state court is established in each state constitution. In addition, the state court can establish if necessary military state courts (Article 125, §3) and specialized chambers to decide land and agrarian matters (Article 126).
The judicial system also has special courts (Juizados Especiais), which deal with less complex cases, involving low value causes or criminal offenses with low potential of social impact. The Constitution mentions these courts on Article 98, I and the specific regulation about the composition, jurisdiction and procedure is settled by Lei 9099/95. The procedures of these courts are based on simplicity, prioritization of oral arguments, informal procedures, conciliation and celerity.
In addition to the courts, other institutions play an important role in the administration of justice. The Constitution lists three: The Office of Public Prosecution, The Advocacy-General of the Union and, the Advocacy and Public Legal Defense.
The Office of Public Prosecution (Ministério Público – MP), a permanent institution, has the purpose of defending the legal order, social interests of the democratic regime, and individual rights that cannot be disposed. The MP is remarked by its unity, indivisibility and functional independence. There are the Union MP – which is composed by Federal MP (MPF), Labor MP, Military MP, and Federal District MP – and the MPs of the states. The chief of the Union MP is the General-Attorney of the Republic. The functions of the MP are established in Article 129 of the Constitution. Among them, the main functions are to promote public criminal charges, ensure respect to the Powers of the State, to institute civil investigation to protect public and social property, the environment and other diffuse interests, to defend the rights of indigenous population, to exercise control over police activities.
The second institution is the Public Advocacy. The Advocacy-General of the Union (Advocacia Geral da União – AGU) represents the Union judicially or extra-judicially, and is responsible for activities of judicial consultation and assistance to the Executive Power. The head of the AGU is the Advocate-General of the Union (Advogado Geral da União).
Lastly, Advocacy and the Public Legal Defense (Defensoria Pública) are together listed as the third institution. Lawyers are essential to the administration of justice because of the role they play in acting before the Judiciary. They are inviolable for their acts in the exercise of the legal profession, limited only by the law. The Public Defense is responsible for providing judicial guidance and defense for needy people. The regulation and organization of the Public Legal Defense are established in the LC 80/94.
The Brazilian legal system is strongly influenced by the civil law tradition. Therefore, positive legislation is the main source of law and several legal fields are regulated by codes, compilations of legislation, statues and normative acts.
The Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law (Lei de Introdução às Normas do Direito Brasileiro, Dec.-Lei 4657/42), previously known as Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Civil Law, provides the main guidelines about validity, application and interpretation of both Brazilian private and public laws. In fact, the Statute was modified in 2018 to include provisions specifically regarding legal interpretation and application of public law (Lei 13655/18).
The standard period of vacatio legis – i.e., the period between enactment and enforcement - is forty-five days. However, statutes may determine another point in time for the beginning of enforcement.
If the statute is not provisory, it remains in force until another one modifies or revokes it. The posterior norm revokes the previous one when it expressly declares it, is incompatible or regulates the same subject. In general, when the posterior norm is revoked, the previous one does not become valid again.
In general, no one can allege ignorance regarding the legal norms in order to excuse himself/herself in acting against the law. When the statute has omissions, the judge shall decide based on analogy, costume or general principles of law. However, the concepts of “costume” and “general principles of law” are not entirely clear in the Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law. When the legislation enters into force, it has immediate effects, although it shall respect the acts previously settled (ato jurídico perfeito), rights gained under previous law (direito adquirido) and previous judgments not subjected to appeal (coisa julgada).
There are different rules to solve possible conflicts of international applicability of norms. The law of the country where the individual resides determines rules regarding personal rights – i.e. rights of personality including rules about the name, civil capacity and family law; the rules applicable to property are those of the country where the thing is; law of obligations are those of the place where the transaction took place; the law of successions applicable is the one of the place where the deceased resided (there is an exception, though: the succession shall be regulated by Brazilian law when the Brazilian succession law provides more benefits for the spouse and children of the decease than the foreign law); organizations such as foundations and societies that promote collective interests follow the law of the place in which they were established; and the Brazilian Judiciary has jurisdiction over defendants who reside in Brazil or if there is the place in which the obligation shall be fulfilled.
Regarding the application of foreign law, when the judge does not have the knowledge regarding the questioned norm, the party who invokes foreign law shall prove the content and the applicability of the norm. To apply sentences of foreign courts, on its turn, it is necessary to fulfill some requirements: (i) the foreign judge shall have had jurisdiction over the case; (ii) the parties were properly called to the process or, if there was legal verification regarding the default of one of them; (iii) to have been decided in accordance with all the required legal formalities of the place; (iv) have been translated by accredited translator; and (v) have been ratified by the STF. Here, it is worth to highlight that treaties and international conventions on human rights approved by both chambers of the National Congress in a similar procedure as the enactment of constitutional amendment have constitutional amendment status, thus they are not subject to such requirements.
The foreign law, act or judicial decision to be applied will not have efficacy in Brazil when they offend the national sovereignty, public order or “moral customs” (bons costumes). The notion of “moral customs” is a source of large disagreement among legal scholars and practitioners however.
The norms of civil law are established in the Civil Code (Código Civil – CC) and in sparse legislation. As regards Civil Procedure, which is regarded as a field of public law in Brazil, most rules and the main principles are established in the Civil Procedure Code (Código de Processo Civil – CPC).
The Civil Code currently in force was enacted in 2002 (Lei 10406/02) and entered into force in January 11, 2003. The Code is divided as follows:
Part I: General Part
- Book I: Persons
- Book II: Goods
- Book III: Legal facts
Part II: Special Part
- Book I: Law of Obligations
- Book II: Law of Corporations
- Book III: Law of Things
- Book IV: Family Law
- Book V: Succession Law
- Complementary book: Final and Transitory Dispositions
In addition to the CC, there are other important statutes dealing with civil law. The main ones are: Children and Teenagers Statute (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente – ECA, LO 8069/90); Costumer Defense Code (Código de Defesa do Consumidor – CDC, LO 8078/90); Statute of the Elderly (Estatuto do Idoso – Lei 10741/03), Statute on Persons with Disabilities (Estatuto da Pessoa com Deficiência – Lei 13146/15).
After five years of deliberation, a new Civil Procedure Code (Lei 13105/2015) was enacted in March 16, 2015 and entered into effect as of March 2016. The code aimed at improving the general civil procedure rules, speeding up litigation, reduce the number of lawsuits (mainly by fostering mediation), and updating provisions related to international law issues.
After the enactment of the CC in 2002, the larger part of the Commercial Code of 1850 (Lei 556/1850) was revoked. The major part of the rules applicable to corporations and commercial activity are established in the Civil Code (Part II, Book II) and in the Corporation Statute (Lei 6404/76). Currently, the only part in force of the Commercial Code is the regulation of maritime commerce.
Criminal law is established in the Criminal Code (Código Penal – CP, Dec.-Lei 2848/40), Criminal Misdemeanor Act (Lei de Contravenções Penais, Dec.-Lei 3688/41) and sparse legislation. Rules of criminal procedure are established in the Criminal Procedure Code (Código de Processo Penal – CPP, Dec. Lei 3689/41). In addition, the Criminal Execution Statute (Lei de Execuções Penais – LEP, Lei 7210/84) regulates in detail how the sentence shall be executed.
The CP is divided in two main parts: General and Special parts. The first defines the main concepts of criminal law – as applicability to criminal law, crime, imputation, penalty and extinction of penalty. The second, on the other hand, establishes the crimes. There are crimes against the person (including a specific provision regarding gender-motivated killing of women, as established by the Femicide Law – Lei 13104/15), property, intellectual property, organization of labor, religion and respect to deceased, sexual dignity, family, public safety, public peace, public trustworthiness, and public administration. Moreover, beyond the crimes of the code, some important statutes establish other criminal offenses: Statute on domestic violence (known as Lei Maria da Penha, Lei 11340/06); Statute on drug (known as Lei de Drogas, Lei 11343/06); Statute on racial and religious discrimination (Lei 7716/89); statute on firearms (Lei 10826/03).
In addition to the rules and rights established in the Constitution, the main regulation regarding labor and employment law is settled in the Consolidation of Labor Laws (Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho – CLT, Dec.-Lei 5452/43). The CLT establishes norms on minimum wage, vacation period, work medicine, social welfare and trade unions. In 2017, the Lei 13467/17 amended several articles of the CLT and laws on temporary employment (Lei 6019/74), severance fund (Lei 8036/90) and social contributions (Lei 8212/91).
Large part of the tax law discipline is established by the Constitution, especially regarding the types of taxes that can be imposed (Article 145), competences of each member of the Federation in tax matters and the limitations of the taxation power. The main general statute regarding tax law is the National Tax Code (Código Tributário Nacional – CTN, Lei 5172/66). The CTN determines in general the competences to impose tax; rules regarding foreign trade tax, income tax, tax over production and circulation of goods, and special taxes; fees; benefit charges (contribuição de melhoria); and distribution of tax revenue. The CTN also disciplines legislation, obligation, credit and administration on the area of tax law.
In addition to the Constitutional provisions on electoral law and political rights, the main statutes on this regard are the Electoral Code (Código Eleitoral – CE – Lei 4737/65), Lei 6091/74 (regulates transportation from rural areas during the day of election), Lei 6996/82 (regulates the data collection and analysis in electoral processes), Lei 7444/85 (regulates the data collection of voting lists), LC 64/90 (establishes hypothesis of ineligibility, as determined in Article 14, §9 of the Constitution, and was complemented by LC 135/10) and Lei 9504/97 (provides general norms on electoral procedures).
The statute on competition law - Lei 12529/11 - came into force in 2011 establishing general provisions on the competition regulation, including rules on the structure of the competition agency, known as CADE (Conselho Administrativo de Defesa da Concorrência – CADE). Moreover, the competition authority releases several publications on Brazilian competition matters - for instance guidelines, studies, portfolios and other documents related to its activities - that are available in English in CADE’s official website.
The Brazilian norms on intellectual property are established in the Intellectual Property Statute (LO 9279/96, amended by Lei 12853/13), and sparse regulation: LO 9456/97 – cultivars; LO 9609/98 – Software; LO 9610/98 – copyrights and rights of authors; Lei 11484/07 – topography of integrated circuits; Lei 13123/15 – access to genetic resources.
Privacy and data protection are treated as fundamental rights under the Constitution’s Article 5. In addition to the Constitution, the Civil Code and sparse regulation - as the Brazilian Internet Legal Framework (Marco Civil da Internet – Lei 12965/14), the Statute on Freedom of Information (Lei 12527/11), the Statute on financial transaction confidentiality (LC 105/01) and the Statute on the Public Policy of Data Protection (Dec. 9637/18) - establish the general principles, warranties, rights and duties that govern the use, collection and processing of personal data.
Moreover, a general law on data protection (Lei de Proteção de Dados Pessoais - Lei 13709/18) was enacted in August 2018 and will enter into force in August 2020. The law amends the Internet Civil Framework and establishes rules on data security policies, requirements for consent validity, as well as general aspects of the processing of personal data by individuals, and by private and public entities.
Brazilian environmental law legislation is extensive and includes several laws and regulations that focus on different topics: Brazilian environmental policy; (Lei 6938/81); Statute on Environmental Crimes (Lei 9605/98); Statute on Administrative Environmental Misdemeanors (Lei 6514/08); Mining Code (Dec. 227/67); Forest Code (12651/12); Conservation Unit System (9985/00); Climate Change Policy (Lei 12187/09); Solid Waste Management Policy (Lei 12305/10); Water Code (Dec. 24643/34); Water Resources Policy (9433/97); Representative Action (Lei 7347/85), Protocol I and II of the Geneva Convention (Dec. 849/93); Biodiversity (Lei 13123/15); Atlantic Forest (Law 11428/06); Hunting Code (Lei 5197/67); Fishing Code (Dec. 221/67).
The granting of asylum to aliens is established by Constitutional provisions. In 2017 the New Migration Statute (Lei de Migração – Lei 13445/17) came into force revoking the Foreign Statute (Lei 6815/80) and establishing the Brazilian migration policy. The statute regulates migration issues in general and includes rules on the rights and duties of migrants in Brazil, and regarding procedures for entrance and residence of aliens in the country.
In addition to general rules provided by the Corporation Statute (Lei 6404/76), the Banking Statute (Lei 4595/64) governs the regulation of banks and other financial institutions, and also establishes the regulatory structure of the Brazilian National Financial System. Moreover, sparse regulation address specific concerns arising from banking activities, as Lei 7492/86 on crimes against the financial system; Lei 9613/98 on money laundering, the statute on financial transaction confidentiality (LC 105/01); Lei 6024/74 on recovery and liquidation of financial institutions; Lei 12865/13 on payment regulation; Lei 6385/76, the securities law; and Lei 13506/17 regarding financial leniency.
The Lei 9615/98, known as Lei Pelé, establishes the general rules on sports in Brazil and regulates the Article 217 of the Constitution. As per the Constitution, the Sport Justice has jurisdiction over sport disputes in Brazil, and the judiciary can only assess matters related to sports after the Sport Justice has issued a definitive decision on the claim. Moreover, a statute on sports law fiscal responsibility was enacted in 2015 – Lei 12155/15, providing for the general principals of fiscal and financial responsibility.
As regards anti-corruption regulation, the Criminal Code criminalizes bribery of foreign and domestic public officials. Domestic bribery is prohibited in the forms of graft or extortion, corruption and influence peddling. In addition to the Criminal Code, the Clean Companies Statute (Lei 12846/14, regulated by the Dec. 8420/15) provides rules regarding civil and administrative corporate liability for bribery of foreign and domestic public officials, leniency agreements, and internal compliance programs.
- Brazilian Driving and Traffic Code (Código de Trânsito Brasileiro – Lei 9503/97);
- Military Criminal Code (Código Penal Militar – Dec.-Lei 1001/69);
- Military Criminal Procedure Code (Código de Processo Penal Militar – Dec.-Lei 1002/69);
- Aeronautics Code (Código Brasileiro de Aeronáutica – Lei 7565/1986);
- Telecommunications Code (Código Brasileiro de Telecomunicações – Lei 4117/62).
Official publications of legal rules in Brazil are made through the Diário Oficial da União – DOU (Federal Official Gazette) and Official Gazettes of each state. The judicial decisions are published in the Diários da Justiça of each court.
Since 2002, all rules and documents published by the official press are available online on the National Press website and certified by the Brazilian Public Key Infrastructure (ICP-Brasil), with the same authenticity as the printed version.
The Diário Oficial da União publishes normative acts of public national and general interest (legislative acts and statutes, decrees, normative instructions, regulations etc.); acts that interest public administration servers; contracts, announcements, warnings, and state and municipal acts that require national publication. The National Press also has a website.
The first law courses in Brazil started in August 11, 1827 in São Paulo (SP) and Olinda (PE). The undergraduate course in law takes in average five years, and to practice as a lawyer it is necessary admission to the Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil – OAB). The acceptance at OAB requires the candidate to be graduated or be in the last two semesters of the law school and to be approved in a two-phase exam. The OAB exam is the same for every unit of the federation, therefore there are not different exams that are necessary to be approved in order to practice in different states. The statute that regulates legal profession is the Lei 8906/94, known as Estatuto da Advocacia or Estatuto da OAB. In this norm are established the discipline of legal profession, rights of attorneys, ethical requirements, sanctions and the structure of the OAB.
Masters courses in law usually take about two years, and doctoral degrees require three more years when the candidate has a Master’s degree, or four in total, when it is a straight doctoral program.
- National OAB website
- Graduate courses of law recognized by CAPES and their respective grades (Coordination of Improvement of People in Graduate Level - Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior)
- OBS designation: A course is considered “recommended” when the grade is equal or superior to 3 and the highest possible grade is 7.
- e-MEC website (Ministry of Education – Ministério da Educação – MEC)
- OBS: On the page above it is possible to consult which undergraduate and graduate courses have the license of the Ministry of Education.
- ADCT: Ato das Disposições Constitucionais Transitórias (Transitional Constitutional Provisions Act)
- AGU: Advocacia Geral da União (Advocacy-General of the Union)
- CADE: Conselho Administrativo de Defesa da Concorrência (Administrative Council of Competition Defense)
- CC: Código Civil (Civil Code)
- CDC: Código de Defesa do Consumidor (Consumer Defense Code)
- CF/88: Constituição Federal de 1988 (Federal Constitution of 1988)
- CLT: Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho (Consolidation of Labor Law)
- CNJ: Conselho Nacional de Justiça (National Council of Justice)
- CPC: Código de Processo Civil (Civil Procedure Code)
- CP: Código Penal (Criminal Code)
- CPP: Código de Processo Penal (Criminal Procedure Code)
- Dec.: Decreto (Decree)
- Dec.-Lei: Decreto-Lei (Decree with force of Law)
- DOU: Diário Oficial da União (Federal Official Gazette)
- ECA: Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente (Children and Teenagers Statute)
- LC: Lei Complementar (Complementary Statute)
- LEP: Lei de Execuções Penais (Criminal Execution Statute)
- LO: Lei Ordinária (Ordinary Acts)
- MEC: Ministério da Educação (Ministry of Education)
- MP: Medida Provisória (Provisory Measure); Ministério Público (Office of Public Prosecution)
- MPF: Ministério Público Federal (Federal Office of Public Prosecution)
- MS: Mandado de Segurança (Writ of mandamus)
- OAB: Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (Brazilian Bar Association)
- STF: Supremo Tribunal Federal (Federal Supreme Court)
- STJ: Superior Tribunal de Justiça (Superior Court of Justice)
- STM: Superior Tribunal Militar (Superior Military Court)
- TCU: Tribunal de Contas da União (Federal Court of Accounts)
- TJ: Tribunal de Justiça (State Court)
- TRE: Tribunal Regional Eleitoral (Regional Electoral Court)
- TRF: Tribunal Regional Federal (Regional Federal Court)
- TRT: Tribunal Regional do Trabalho (Regional Labor Court)
- TSE: Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (Superior Electoral Court)
- TST: Tribunal Superior do Trabalho (Superior Labor Court)
 IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), population estimative as of Jul. 1st, 2018, last seen Apr. 05, 2019. (copy and paste the link into browser or access the info at https://www.ibge.gov.br/estatisticas/sociais/populacao/9103-estimativas-de-populacao.html?=&t=downloads).
 Article 14, Brazilian Federal Constitution of 1988 (CF/88).
 This statute is known as Lei Ficha Limpa, because it created ineligibility requirements related to the past background of candidates. Among other hypothesis, the new LC established that candidates who lost their previous mandates due to violation of local law lose are ineligible for eight years, former politicians who were convicted for abuse of economic and political power are also ineligible for eight years, and criminal conviction by collegial courts causes ineligibility for eight years after the period of the sentence.
 Article 82, CF/88.
 Article 83, CF/88.
 Article 80, CF/88.
 Article 81, CF/88.
 Some constitutional scholars consider the Constitutional Amendment n. 1/1969 to the 1967 Constitution a different and new constitutional text, because it established substantial modifications.
 Article 5, §2, CF/88.
 Article 5, §1, CF/88.
 This constitutional rule was established by the Constitutional Amendment n. 45/2004. The human rights treaties are regarded as superior norm and inferior to the constitution. To this date, the only treaty that has successfully been approved by this constitutional process and thus have constitutional statues is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2007. For instance, the American Convention on Human Rights, treaty that Brazil ratified in 1992, was considered by the court as a superior norm in relation to ordinary legislation, but with no constitutional status (STF, HC 90172, decided in Jun. 05, 2007).
 As per EC 90/15.
 Article 12, §2, CF/88.
 However, it is required that the parents are not in a foreign country official service.
 Article 12, I, CF/88.
 Article 12, II, CF/88.
 Article 12, §1, CF/88.
 This treaty was incorporated in Brazilian legal system by Dec. 3927/00.
 Article 12, §3, CF/88.
 The Federal District of Brasília has an organic statute instead of a constitution.
 Article 25 caput and §1, CF/88.
 Article 3, CF/88.
 Article 44, CF/88,
 Article 45, CF/88.
 Article 46, CF/88.
 Art. 45, §1, CF/88. There is a large discussion in Brazil regarding the distortion on the representation caused by this rule.
 Article 48, CF/88.
 Article 51, I, CF/88.
 Article, 52, I, CF/88.
 Article 52, II. CF/88.
 Article 59, CF/88.
 Article 69, CF/88.
 Article 62, §3, CF/88.
 Article 68, CF/88.
 For constitutional amendments, see item 2.2.
 It must be noted that Constitutional Amendments do not require presidential sanctioning.
 Article 66, CF/88.
 Article 66, §§4 and 5, CF/88.
 Article 64, CF/88.
 Article 1, Lei de Introdução às Normas do Direito Brasileiro (Dec.-Lei 4657/42).
 Article 60, I, II and III, Cf/88.
 Article 60, §2, CF/88.
 Article 60, §1, CF/88.
 Article 60 §4, CF/88.
 Article 76, CF/88.
 Article 84, CF/88.
 Article 2, LO 1079/1950.
 As established by the Constitutional Amendment 92/16.
 Article 92, CF/88.
 Article 93, CF/88.
 Article 99, CF/88.
 Article 95, CF/88.
 Article 101, CF/88.
 Article 104, CF/88.
 Article 107, CF/88.
 Article 93, CF/88.
 Article 115, CF/88.
 Article 93, CF/88.
 Article 119, CF/88.
 Article 120 and 121, CF/88.
 Article 123, CF/88.
 Article 125, CF/88.
 Article 125, §6, CF/88.
 Article 127, CF/88.
 Article 1, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 2, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 3, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 4, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 6, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 7, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 8, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 9, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 10, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 11, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 12, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 14, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 Article 15, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 See note No. 12
 Article 17, Statute of Introduction to Brazilian Law.
 See http://www.in.gov.br/servicos/diario-oficial-da-uniao (last visited September 6, 2019).