Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When you are doing any type of business in Brazil, any illegal actions will be charged under Brazilian jurisdiction. If you are not from Brazil, you might be thinking that if you commit a crime, you clearly didn’t mean to, and the judge will know that. In the United States, accidental crimes are judged accordingly, and on a case-by-case basis. However, Brazil actually operates on a different system of law than the United States.

Civil Law in Brazil

Brazil’s judiciary system is based on civil law, or statutory law. Unlike common law, the basis of the Brazilian System is codified legislation; however, precedents can influence a decision in court depending on the situation. If you are not used to the system of civil law, you could easily break a law without even realizing it. Such a mistake could put the future of your business in jeopardy, so preventing the problem is better than dealing with it once it has happened. To do so, you should consider speaking with a Brazilian civil law attorney.

The Civil Lawsuit Process

There are four major steps in the trial process of courts of civil law.

  • Pleading Stage: The first step of a civil lawsuit is the pleading stage. In Brazil, plaintiffs will submit an initial petition. This document includes the facts about the problem he or she is facing, a list of the laws that are being broken, and what type of legal action they are requesting.
  • Conclusive Opening Order: In the second step of the process, the judge simply announces whether or not the petition is worthy of being brought to trial
  • Evidentiary Stage: This is the longest stage of the process and may last several months. In this stage, all evidence is gathered and presented to the judge to help with the final decision.
  • Decision-Making Stage: In the final stage of the civil lawsuit process, the judge must make a decision based on the civil code of the country. The judge’s decision will be made based on the current legislation and, if possible or necessary, previous cases can play a secondary role

Clearly, civil law is quite different from the common law practiced in the United States. Both have their advantages, but not fully understanding the law system in Brazil could cause serious problems for you and your business. For that reason, it is important to get a Brazilian attorney who is comfortable guiding you through the steps of your business’ development and warning you when any civil codes of the country are being breached. Doing so could save you time and money.

Phone: 212-300-7174