Most recent posts in ‘Public Law’

June 27, 2013

Protest Against PEC37

Earlier this month, we covered an announcement from the Brazilian Council of Justice (CNJ) where they came out against the “PEC 37” measure. It is a piece of legislation that, if passed, would limit the investigative powers of federal prosecutors, something many feared would make it harder to prosecute official corruption.

Members of the CNJ called the bill “disastrous” and said it would be the “suicide” of the country’s judicial system. It would be like limiting the ability of the FBI to investigate corruption.

Yesterday, that bill was voted on by Brazil’s lower house of congress and the final count was 403-9 against the legislation. Many experts are crediting the current protests that are sweeping the country for helping to defeat the bill.

According to a Sports Illustrated article, before the demonstrations broke out on June 17 – which started over a transportation fare hike and now engulf numerous government spending issues – the PEC 37 bill appeared to be heading for an easy victory in its first vote. Since then, many citizens have been seen holding signs against the bill at protests over the last few weeks.

“It was on the streets that the blindness of the politicians was lifted,” Domingos Dutra, a congressman who has often butted heads with leaders of his ruling Workers Party, told the news source.

This defeat shows what is capable from these protests. Anyone that has business in the country would be wise to partner with Brazilian lawyers to stay updated on any changes to the laws that could come out of these protests.

June 21, 2013

Protest against PEC37

The protests in Brazil are getting stronger by the day and thousands of citizens are voicing their displeasure with several different government policies and the funding of the 2014 World Cup.

On the topics that is being protested is the June 26 vote on PEC 37, an amendment to the Brazilian constitution that will make it impossible for the Department of Public Prosecution to investigate corruption and human rights crimes committed by public officials. It would make the Brazilian police force the sole investigator of crime. That group is essentially Brazil’s version of the FBI.

This week the Brazilian Council of Justice (CNJ) released a statement coming out against the PEC. Joaquim Barbosa, the president of the CNJ, said the amendment is “suicide” for the criminal justice system which would just “boast its flaws.”

The CNJ is traditionally quiet when it comes to legislation but felt the need to speak on this because it could be “disastrous” to the democracy for all the investigatory powers be concentrated with the police.

“The CNJ is cautious in pronouncements of this nature and externalizes its position only in situations in which it perceives a serious risk to the guiding principles of the democratic State of Law, with possible consequences that would compromise the separation of powers”, says the statement.

It goes on to encourage the congress to reject the initiative because it if it passes it will make an already bad situation worse.

With criminal investigation changing, any individual or company that has business in the country would be wise to partner with Brazilian lawyers to ensure they are not caught off guard.

June 5, 2013

Special Court for Soccer Hooligans

In 2014, one of the greatest sporting events in the world will fall upon Brazil when the FIFA World Cup takes place. As with any soccer match, there are bound to be a few hooligans that stir up some trouble and make things hard for the rest of the fans. To answer this, the Bar Association of Brazil (OAB) has set up special courts to try cases involving fights in the stadium where the penalty is a fine or community service rather than jail time.

However, not everyone is ok with the idea and FIFA officials are currently trying to stop the installation of the courts.

“The presence of the courts in football stadiums prevents the occurrence of the impunity of those who go to the games to create confusion and not to cheer for their respective teams,” said Marcus Vinicius Furtado, the national president of the OAB.

He went on to say that FIFA must respect the autonomy of Brazil and Fan Statute. The courts will be in place for the Confederation Cup this summer and the World Cup in 2014. On top of that, he notes that these courts will be critical for handling fan conflicts during these two competitions.

Courts like these were in place in 2010 when the World Cup was in South Africa and, with over a billion dollars or more in potential tourism revenue at stake, these issues need to be resolved sooner rather than later.

A resolution is expected soon, as the Confederation Cup starts on June 15. Anyone that is planning on visiting Brazil for the World Cup or companies that want to do business in the country during the event need to partner with Brazilian lawyers to make sure they understand any new or altered laws that the World Cup will bring.