Understanding the Brazilian Legal System

The History of Brazilian Law

Brazil largely derives its law from Portuguese civil law which was implemented by the Portuguese during the colonial period. It also uses sections of the French, German and Italian law. This implies that the legal system is based on statutes and partly Súmula Vinculante which was introduced in the constitutional reform passed in 2004.

The Constitution

The Brazilian Constitution gives the Supreme Court powers to publish binding laws. Junior courts and judges, as well as the public administration, are obliged to adhere to the interpretations of the Supreme Court.

The Constitution organizes Brazil as a Federation formed by the union of municipalities, states and the Federal District. The 26 federate states can make and amend their laws and Constitution.

Municipalities also have restricted power since their legislation must adhere to the principles of the Constitution of the state to which they belong. The Federal District, on the other hand, blends functions of municipalities and federate states.

The Judiciary

The judiciary consists of state and federal branches. The judicial system is headed by the Federal Supreme Court which is the protector of the Constitution. The Federal Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to declare state and federal laws unconstitutional as well as rule over cases decided in individual instance courts where the challenged verdict may violate the Constitution.

Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho

Ricardo Tosto is Brazilian lawyer who is highly specialized in complex litigation. Mr. Tosto has more than 15 years of experience in corporate law especially bank contracts, corporate restructuring, credit recovery, bankruptcy, judicial recovery and acquisition review. He also handles cases related to international and electoral law.

Mr. Tosto studied Law at the Mackenzie Presbyterian University and Business Administration at Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation. After completing his studies, Tosto worked for several Brazilian law firms where he gained sufficient experience that enabled him to co-found Leite, Tosto e Barros Advogados Associados in 2005. The firm has been recognized as the best law office in Brazil and also won the ILO Client Choice 2013 Award granted by the ILO (International Law Office).

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