Brazilian Legal System

Brazilian Legal SystemBrazil occupies nearly almost half of the South America territory and has more than half of its population. Brazil is a Portuguese speaking country and unlike what many might imagine, here, in contrast to the rest of Latin America, we do not speak Spanish and we also do not have any kind of community, or cities that do so. In terms of population Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world.

The country was discovered in 1500 and colonized by Portugal, it won its independence in 1822. In the late nineteenth century, more precisely in 1889, Brazil became a Republic and adopted a Federative form of State and remains so ever since.

Far beyond being the country of football, beautiful beaches, Pelé and Carnival, Brazil is a fascinating country of continental dimensions, which has a written Constitution, rigid, analytical and representing nearly two hundred years of constitutional History.

Since 1889, the year the country ceased to be a monarchy and became a Republican State and a Federation, Brazil has experienced moments of full democracy and periods of dictatorial governments. Brazil suffered regimes of exception, fruits of Coups d’ é-tat, from 1937 to 1945 and from 1964 to 1985. In the first period (1937/1945) there was one a man dictatorship, Getúlio Vargas, who later was elected president by democratic vote.

The second period (1964/1985) was a Military Dictatorship, in which generals successively occupied the presidency, a time the world was literally divided by the “Berlin Wall” and the communist doctrine that ideologically divided the world between two halves.

Since 1985 and more precisely from the Constitution of 1988, Brazil has experienced democratic governments, with ample respect for the Constitution, Freedom of the Press and free elections at all levels. Despite two periods of dictatorship, Brazil has a democratic tradition and should be remembered that it is a founding member of the United Nations.

The intent of these programs is to provide the general public, those who have an interest in Brazil, some information about Brazilian democracy, our legal system, with, as much as possible, some comments on constitutional issues and decisions of the Brazilian Supreme Court.

João Carlos Souto



Program guide

As I mentioned in my website ( “the intent of these programs is to provide the general public, those who have an interest in Brazil, some information about Brazilian democracy, our legal system, with, as much as possible, some comments on constitutional issues and decisions of the Brazilian Supreme Court.”

Even though there is a large foreign interest about Brazil, mainly because of its rapid economic growth in recent years, becoming the sixth economy of the world, these Programs are the first in the Internet to deal, explain and teach, in English, about the Brazilian Legal System.

Giving class in a foreign Language is not easy, so please forgive me for any grammar and pronunciation mistakes. I am trying hard to avoid and correct them, but, since I am not a native English speaker these mistakes may occur, which has not decreased my wish to continue implementing these Programs.

In the end, making Brazil, its Legal System and Legal History, more well-known, is stronger than any feeling of shyness or fear about criticism. Throughout the years I have learned that shyness and fear never build anything.

Program 1

It begins with an introduction about the Brazilian Legal System and in sequence I talk about the Federal District and Brasília, the Federal Capital of Brazil. The first Brazilian Constitution is the main subject of this Program which was partially recorded outside, in the “Plaza of the Three Powers”, where the headquarters of the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary Branches are located.

Program 2

The Brazilian Control of Constitutionality of the Laws is the major subject of Program 2. Both the American judicial review and the Direct Action of Unconstitutionality of laws, which has European roots, are mentioned in this program, and how and when Brazil adopted them.

Program 3

The Legislative Process, how the Laws are made in Brazil, who can propose a Bill, the role of the President of the Republic, his/her legislative capacity to present a Bill and to enact Provisional Measure, are some of the most relevant issues of Program 3.

Program 4

What are the legal requirements to become a Lawyer and a Judge in Brazil, the structure of the Judiciary, the official names of the members of the Judiciary (Judge, Justice) are, among others, the issues of Program 4.

Program 5

It begins explaining the structure of the Judiciary Power in Brazil, followed by Programs 6 and 7. In Program 5 I talk about the Supreme Federal Court, which is the highest Court of Justice in Brazil. I also talk about the National Council of Justice, a new institution that oversees administrative competence and supervises, in some aspects, the judges’ work too. This institution has been a very important watchdog in supervising the practices of the judges and the Judiciary in Brazil over the past nine years. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Federal Court is the head of this new Institution.

Program 6

It continues with the Judiciary system. Now I expound the structure and the functions of the four Superior Courts: The Superior Court of Justice, the Superior Labor Court, the Superior Electoral Court and the Superior Military Court.

Program 7

It also deals with the Judiciary Power in Brazil, as Programs 5 and 6. I explain in this Program the structure of the Regional Court System, beginning with the Federal Regional Courts, and then talking about the Electoral Regional Courts and the Labor Regional Courts of the country.