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How to Look Up Legal Cases in Brazil?

How to Look Up Legal Cases Online in Brazil

How do I find court records online in Brazil?

Many of our clients first came to us trying to look up a specific court case in Brazil. Clients may have a case in their home countries somehow tied to a case in Brazil. Examples of such cases are divorce, marriage annulment, probates, and business litigation.

While in the US and other countries you can simply run a search in a database such as Westlaw or LexisNexis covering the entire country, this is not true in Brazil. In Brazil there are no national databases. Case databases are limited to states, and some states are still in the process of scanning and making available their hundreds of thousands (some states with millions) of cases online.

Anyhow, with some luck it is possible even for a non-speaker of Portuguese to find a case online. First thing is to determine if you should expect or not to have your case available online, and the right question for that is: "Is your court case in Brazil a public record or not?"

Are Court Cases in Brazil public record?

Some cases in Brazil have at least part of the case files available to the public while others do not. Examples of cases that are not accessible to the public at all are those related to divorce and children. Such cases usually run under "Sealed Court Records" (segredo de justiça).

Other cases, however, don't run under "Sealed Court Records" and may be found online along part of the case files by anyone. However, most states do not publish the entire decisions related to a legal case. They make public, as per the Resolution n. 143, from 2011, at least the following information for each legal case:

  1. Identification number current or previous, including related case numbers from other courts
  2. Names of the parties
  3. Identification number for the parties in the Revenue Service
  4. Names of the attorneys for the parties
  5. Registration with the Brazilian Bar Association

Short answer: legal cases in Brazil are NOT public records. While some level of information is available to most of the cases, there is a high chance you will need to hire a lawyer to obtain the entire files for a legal case of your interest. The Lawyer Statute in Brazil (Estatuto da Advocacia - Law n. 8.906/1994) allows lawyers to access and read legal cases in any courts, even without a power of attorney provided by the legal case parties.

How do I find Court Records Online in Brazil?

Links to the higher courts in Brazil:

Links to the state courts in Brazil:

Acre
Alagoas
Amapá
Amazonas
Bahia
Ceará
D.F.& Territoriesórios
Espírito Santo
Goiás
Maranhão
Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso do Sul
Minas Gerais
Pará
Paraíba
Paraná
Pernambuco
Piauí
Rio de Janeiro
Rio Grande do Norte
Rio Grande do Sul
Rondônia
Roraima
Santa Catarina
São Paulo
Sergipe
Tocantins

Links to the Federal Courts in Brazil

Tribunal Regional Federal of the 1st Area with cases of the following states: Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Bahia, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Pará, Piauí, Rondônia e Roraima.
Tribunal Regional Federal of the 2nd Area with cases of the following states: Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro
Tribunal Regional Federal of the 3rd Area with cases of the states: Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo
Tribunal Regional Federal of the 4th Area with cases of the following states: Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina
Tribunal Regional Federal of the 5th Area with cases of the following states: Alagoas, Ceará, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe

What to Do if I don't Speak Portuguese?

We know most visitors of this page don't speak Portuguese. Unfortunately, Brazilian courts do not offer their resources in languages other than Portuguese.

However, you may be able to access and understand much of the web content made available by the Brazilian courts using the auto-translator feature available in the Chrome browser.

To activate the auto-translation, simply right-click with your mouse while navigating the Brazilian court website in Portuguese and choose "Translate to English" (see how to use this featureand how the translated page will look like)

How do I find a Court Case number in Brazil

Most of the courts in Brazil will give you an option to look up cases by information other than case number. Some of the information that may be helpful for such searches are:

  • Party name
  • Party tax ID
  • Bar Association Cas ID
  • Attorney

Public Access to Court Electronic Records in Brazil

As explained above, there is only public access to court electronic records in Brazil. Anyhow, a good deal of information may be obtained by both accessing the direct court systems (state, federal, etc.) and also a few websites that record partial information about cases (party names, nature of the legal dispute, dates, etc.).

The main independent websites in Brazil for you to check court electronic records are:

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+55-11-4349-1915 Brazil
+1-212-300-7174 USA
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This content is intended  for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal issues or decisions of any kind, the reader should retain and consult legal counsel. You should not act or rely on information at this web site without first seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on web sites or advertisements.