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Recognition of Foreign Judgments in Brazil

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If you’ve recently won a legal judgment or arbitral award in the United States or another country, it may not currently be valid in Brazil. To change that, you’ll need to have the foreign judgment recognized in the Brazilian legal system.

This sounds complicated, and it’s definitely not something you should try to navigate on your own. But with a little help and a clearer understanding of what this process entails, you can ensure that foreign decisions are upheld in the country of Brazil.

Keep reading to learn more.

Why Enforcing Foreign Judgments in Brazil?

The reason why you’d want to enforce a foreign decision in Brazil is to ensure that the legal ruling is upheld in the country. For example, if you got a divorce in the United States and move to Brazil, you may need to recognize and enforce that judgment here before you can remarry.

What Constitutes a Valid Judgment in Brazil?

In order for a foreign judgment to be officially recognized by the Brazillian legal system, it needs to meet each of the following requirements.

1. Required External Formalities

First, the judgment in question must have complied with all of the laws and formalities associated with the country that it happened in. In other words, it needs to meet satisfy all of the requirements associated with such judgments in the non-Brazillian country.

2. Judgment Rendered by an Authority with Jurisdiction

The judgment must also originate from a legal body with the authority to deliver such judgments. This is what’s meant by the term “jurisdiction”.

Brazilian courts won’t conduct their tests to determine whether the foreign authorities have jurisdiction or not. They’ll defer to whatever rules for jurisdiction exist in the country in question.

3. Service Requirement

Brazil courts also want to make sure that both parties receive service of process. That way, the courts can be sure that the legal issue was resolved fairly and that neither side’s rights were violated in the process of carrying it out.

4. Proof of Finality

A Brazillian judge will also likely want to see some proof of finality for the judgment. If it’s an ongoing legal matter (or one that is in the process of being appealed), it may not yet qualify for validation in Brazil.

5. Official Judgment Translation

You’re also going to need to translate the judgment into Portuguese and get the translation certified so that Brazillian judges fully understand it and know that it’s a true document.

6. No Conflicts with Brazilian Public Policy Principles

Finally, the foreign judgment in question can’t violate Brazillian public policy principles. If the ruling of a foreign legal issue conflicts with the values of Brazil, the judgment may not be upheld in the country.

Is Any Specific Connection to Brazil Required?

No connection to Brazil is needed in order to recognize or enforce a foreign judgment. As long as the legal judgment in question meets all of the requirements covered in the previous section, it can be validated in Brazil without any further requirements.

The Differences Between Recognition and Enforcement

It’s important to recognize that there is a difference between having a legal judgment recognized in Brazil and enforced in the country.

Recognition is the first step in having a foreign legal ruling applied in Brazil. You need to file a request for foreign judgment with the STJ. Once the case has officially been recognized in the country, you can move forward with enforcement.

It’s also worth mentioning that once recognition has occurred, any new legal filings in Brazil for the same case can be dismissed outright.

For example, if someone in Brazil owes you money through a legal ruling in the United States, you may apply to have the case recognized. Then, once that happens, the court can move forward with enforcement. And if the other party tries to file their own claims in Brazillian courts related to the issue, it can be dismissed immediately.

What about Arbitration Procedures and Arbitration Decisions

Just like regular judicial judgments, arbitral decisions are not automatically binding in Brazil. An arbitration award will have to be reviewed by the Superior Tribunal de Justiça (Justice Superior Court) in Brazil to be recognized as a binding decision.

Afterwards, once the arbitral decision is affirmed, the arbitral award may be demanded and enforced against the losing party.

Oliveira Lawyers Can Help You Navigate the Validation of Foreign Decisions in Brazil

Validating a foreign decision in Brazil is a lot of work. It’s not typically something you can do on your own unless you’re a trained and licensed Brazillian attorney.

So if you need help, consider reaching out to Oliveira Lawyers. We’ll handle everything for you – from start to finish – so that you can sit back and relax while we validate your foreign sentence for you.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help.