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Directors of the Inter-American Bar Association visit the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil

Friday, October 21, 2011

About 30 Council members of the Inter-American Bar Association (IABA) were welcomed on the morning of Friday (21) at the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil by Advisor to the Presidency Lucas Albuquerque. The visit is part of the program for the Inter-American Bar Association Conference, to be held in Brasilia on October 20-22.

In the Grand Hall, where foreign authorities are received, the Advisor to the Presidency made a presentation about the Supreme Court for about 40 minutes. Among the directors who attended the lecture were Laurent Martinet, President of the Paris bar association, an institution that corresponds to the Brazilian Bar Association and Claudio Pinho, Vice-President of the Constitutional Law Committee of the Interamerican Federation of Lawyers and many other lawyers form various countries.

A Legal view

The visit was not only an institutional one, but had also a legal character to it. Albuquerque talked about the functioning of the Supreme Court, addressing issues such as jurisdiction of the Court, methods of judicial review applied in the Court and changes resulting from Constitutional Amendment 45/2004. He also dealt with new legal institutions, such as the impact of ‘General Repercussions’ (Repercussão Geral) and electronic proceedings, and concluded his presentation by highlighting the legal activism of the court in controversial social issues such as marriage between persons of the same sex and stem cells, as well as the Supreme Court’s expectation to lower by half the number of cases it hears.

Exchange of experiences

The president of the Paris Bar Association highlighted the importance of the meeting and how significant changes can occur in events like this. Laurent Martinet also pointed out the similarities between the legal institutions of Brazil and France: "In many ways, our Courts of Justice act the same way and I could see that when we met the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil last December in a meeting in Paris on constitutional issues."

Claudio Pinho said the Interamerican Federation of Lawyers, established in 1940, is the advisory arm of the Organization of American States (OAS). "The IFL advances its opinion on all matters involving important issues in the hemisphere, such as human rights, environmental and constitutional issues." Pinho also talked about the importance of the meeting: "We are gathered around issues involving Attorneyship and Advocacy in the hemisphere, and the Conference provides resolutions that are passed on to all legal institutions of the world," he said.

The vice-chairman of the Constitutional Law Committee of the Inter-American Bar Association also made sure to emphasize the democratic tradition of the Supreme Court of Brazil: “The Federal Supreme Court of Brazil has a great tradition in defending the democratic state and the rule of law; except for those Courts which traditionally have shown judicial activism, STF is in the forefront of activism" and concludes, "Moreover, the Supreme Court of Brazil is the most transparent Supreme Court in the world".

After the lecture, the Directors visited the Hall of Sessions of the Plenary of the Supreme Court and the White Room.


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