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Supreme Court holds seminar on the Judiciary and arbitration

On May 2, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) held the seminar "Judiciary and Arbitration: a necessary dialogue", which aimed to foster discussion about the importance of the judiciary to arbitration and of arbitration for the citizens. The event was attended by justices, judges, scholars as well as Brazilian and foreign arbiters.

The participants of the seminar discussed issues such as the contact points between Judiciary and arbitration, the principle of nonintervention in the arbitration, the Brazilian Justice and the international arbitration challenges, such as the approval of awards and foreign judgments.

Justice Ellen GracieJustice Ellen Gracie opened the seminar by highlighting the importance for the Justice of alternative means of conflict resolution such as arbitration, conciliation and mediation.

For the retired justice Francisco Rezek, who was member in the International Court of Justice based in The Hague, Netherlands, arbitration in Brazil only gained consistency and operability from the enactment of the Arbitration Law (Law 9.307/1996). While acknowledging progress in relation to the Arbitration Law, Rezek noted that previously a foreign arbitral award was not valid in Brazil if it was not sealed by a foreign government institution to receive the effects of a court decision. The justice said that both the resistance to arbitration awards and the rate of escape of a party to the proceedings have been decreasing over the last 15 years. Currently, there are very few cases of insolence of the parties with respect to the arbiter for not being a robin judge and very often arbiters decide unanimously.

Justice Nancy Andrighi, from the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), suggested the use of arbitration and mediation during the 2014 World Cup, which will be held in Brazil. She recommends that, in contracts for the World Cup infrastructure, the arbitration clause be include and that mediation be adopted in small conflicts during the games.

International experts have been heard by the participants of the seminar. Among them, the president of the American Society of International Law and Professor of International Arbitration at the New York University School of Law, Donald Donovan. He spoke about the successful experiences of arbitration in the United States of America. The law governing the method in the country, says Donovan, is from 1926 and is quite "straightforward”, despite having undergone several amendments, including that which determined that all arbitration agreements made in the United States should be respected and obeyed, without right of appeal. Donald Donovan also noted that in recent years, lawyers, prosecutors and judges have collaborated to create a justice system in which the participants respect, above all, the human rights.

Albert Jan van den Berg, Professor of Law and Arbitration at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Chairman of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute, spoke about international arbitration. In addressing the issue of the interpretation and enforcement of judgments, he emphasized the need for an alignment of interpretation, noting that the implementation of international treaties in these fields would be helpful if there were made explicit references to the New York Convention in cases of approval of foreign judgments in Brazil. He said several countries around the world routinely use the arbitration and thus have invested in alternatives to clearing the Judiciary.


Arbitration is a form of conflict resolution, as provided by Law 9.307/1996, which can be used at an impasse arising from a contract. For this, the parties shall appoint one or more arbitrators, but always in odd number. The arbitrator can be anyone of legal age and in the exercise of their mental faculties, who has the confidence of the parties and should be independent and impartial in the outcome of the demand.

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