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The CHief Justice of the STF: "Judicial Branch has a fundamental role on the institutional balance"

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

During his speech at the Forum of Justice of the BRICS (group of countries composed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, on this Saturday (28th), in the city of Sanya (China), the Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Ricardo Lewandowski, stated that the “Judicial Branch has had a fundamental role on the maintenance of the institutional balance, the social peace and the guarantee of fundamental rights for the Brazilian citizens”.

The president of the STF spoke on the panel “New Developments on the Judicial Systems of the BRICS countries”. “Alongside with the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, the Brazilian Judicial Branch has had a lead role on the seeking  of advances wanted by the Brazilian population”, he said.

According to the minister Ricardo Lewandowski, the most relevant recent developments of the Brazilian Judicial Branch has origins on the Federal Constitution of 1988, which stated the principle of wide jurisdiction, principle that says that no harm or threat to harm a right will not be judged by the Judiciary. It also states new means of access to Justice, especially on group demands.

“Since the promulgation of the Constitution of 1988, and especially in the last decade, the Judiciary has changed from an orthodox interpretive posture, which used to analyze Law mainly from the juridical written norms on the Constitution and on the rest of the legislation, to a posture that also considers principles. The judges began to take practical consequences from the republican, democrat and federative principals, such as the postulates of isonomy, reasonability, proportion, morality,  impersonality,  efficacy and human dignity, expanding the proportions of their decisions”, he affirmed.

Public policies

According to the President of the Supreme Court, from this new posture, the Judicial Branch started to intervene on matters that were before reserved exclusively to the other Branches, participating in a more active way on the formulation of public policies, especially regarding on health, environment, consuming and protection of the elderly, the children, the teenagers and the people with special needs. “The STF, in a particular way, began to intervene on bordering situations that can’t be resolved by the Legislative and the Executive Branches.

The minister Ricardo Lewandowski spoke about controversial matters judged by the Court in the last few years, such as strike of government empolyees, research with stem cells, delimitation of indigenous land, rights referring to relationships of people of the same sex, racial quotas on universities and abortion of fetuses without developed brain.

Reform of the Judicial Branch

The Constitutional Amendment 45/2004, known as the Reform of the Judicial Branch, was highlighted by the STF president as proof of the Country’s commitment with a fast justice, emphasizing the inclusion on the Federal Constitution of a new fundamental right of the citizen: the right to a “reasonable duration of process”.

The minister Ricardo Lewandowski said that the new legislation gave the Judicial Branch new means for the process, such as the binding precedent and the general repercussion, and also created the National Council of Justice (CNJ). Other improvements on the jurisdictional remedy mentioned were the implementation of the Electronic Judicial Process and the incentives for alternative ways to solve conflicts, such as the conciliation, the mediation and the arbitration.

International Cooperation

The president of the STF defended that the Judicial Branch must take a more expressive leading role on the external area, using more often, the institutes of the Community Law and the International Law. “Our justices need to have a wider conversation with the international organisms, such as the UN and the OAS, for example, especially with the international courts regarding the application of treaties about the protection of  fundamental rights, including the observance of the jurisprudence of these courts”, he stated.

The minister Ricardo Lewandowski, announced that, during his visit to China, he will sign, along with the president Zhou Qiang, an agreement of cooperation between the STF and the People’s Supreme Court of China, to enable the exchange of judicial precedents and of academic material to stimulate the exchange of experiences between the judicial authorities of the two countries.


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