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Supreme Court takes steps to speed up the judicial assistance and reduce number of cases

Wednesday, 20th of July 2016

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) has implemented measures to reduce the collection of cases in the Court and the judiciary, with cases of general repercussion, in order to ensure citizens a faster adjudication. The management of Justice Ricardo Lewandowski in the Presidency of the Court, since September 2014, has been marked by a number of actions designed to meet the constitutional requirement of reasonable time for each case.

Among the measures is the prioritization of extraordinary appeals judgments with recognized general repercussion, given the number of suspended cases in other instances awaiting decision of the Court. Priority was also given to the resumption of trials whose analysis had already begun, with the inclusion on the agenda of many cases whose view orders had been returned.

Moreover, the Presidency set on the agenda direct actions of unconstitutionality with already deferred injunctions, pending judgment on the merits. Another measure that sought to reduce the number of cases in the judiciary was the issue of binding precedents by the Supreme Court’s Plenum. 23 new statements were approved since September 2014. Under the command of Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, in 2015, the Plenum of the Court judged 2,735 cases. In the first half of 2016, the Plenum judged 1,501 cases.

The president also implemented internal measures to speed up the pending proceedings in court. In August 2014, still as acting president, he authorized the creation of a task force to catch up on the distribution of the backlog in the Court. Some 2,600 awaited distribution at the time.
In October of the same year, the Justice signed Resolution 536, which regulated part of the Internal Rules of the Court (Article 95) on the publication of judgments in the Supreme Court. The regimental rule fixed that within 60 days after completion of the trial session that those documents must be published. 

Also in October 2014, in compliance with Resolution 536/2014, 437 judgments awaiting the formalization of their trial were published in the Electronic Justice Gazette (DJE) of the Supreme Court. On the occasion, Justice Lewandowski pointed out that the publication of judicial decisions is an essential step of the process that culminates with the delivery of judicial services.
In June 2015, Justice Lewandowski signed a cooperation agreement with the Human Rights Secretariat (SDH) of the Presidency of the Republic to ensure the free implementation of the Electronic Judicial Process (PJE) in order to accelerate the processes involving international abduction of children and international adoption in the Executive body.

In the administrative area, the STF Electronic Information System (SEI), developed by the judiciary to improve the flow of information and administrative files, was installed. Through electronic management, the system eliminates paperwork, resulting in speedier internal processes, improving resource management, organization and security.

Another novelty of Justice Lewandowski’s management to give more speed to the adjudication was passed in June 2016, in an administrative session, when the Justices of the Supreme Court approved the Regimental Amendment 51, which allows the prosecution of regulatory appeals and requests for clarification by the Virtual Plenum. The amendment inserted the Internal Supreme Regiment adds paragraph 3 of Article 317 and paragraph 3 of Article 337, which states that regulatory appeals and requests for clarification may, at the rapporteur's discretion, be submitted for judging by electronic means, as long as the competence of the Chamber or the Plenary are respected.

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