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Blind judge reports difficulties with the PJe to the interim president of the Supreme Court

 Released in 2011 as a way to facilitate and expedite access to justice, the Electronic Judicial Process (PJe) has been a problem for people with disabilities, especially the visually impaired. Instead of helping them access justice, users report that the change has brought new difficulties.

The topic was discussed at a hearing held today between the Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Ricardo Lewandowski, and the judge Ricardo Tadeu Marques da Fonseca, of the Regional Labor Court (TRT) of the 9th Region, the only judge in Brazil with visual impairment. On the agenda was the implementation of changes in the PC in order to improve its accessibility.

"The PJe has problems, but as far as people with disabilities are concerned it is absolutely hostile," says the justice. According to him, people with visual or even physical or auditory deficiency use computer programs that enable their performance. In the case of the blind ones, there are voice programs that speak what is on the screen, and with that they can work normally. The problem is that the electronic process system "locks" if the user is using any assistance program for people with disabilities.

"At first, when the generalization of the PJe was announced, there was great expectation. But the frustration was terrible, "he says. According to the judge, there are 1,800 lawyers with visual impairment enrolled in the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) who can not work if Pje is the only means of access to justice.

Solutions

The judge presides the committee of the Superior Council of Labor Justice (CSJT), whose purpose is to make the PJe accessible. By this means, a system was developed to facilitates the access to people with visual deficiency. "The system is in the experimental phase, but it's very promising, so I've been looking for Justice Lewandowski to set a new hearing to deal with the matter officially," he says.

The Judge notes that Recommendation 27 of the National Justice Council (CNJ) of 2009 states that courts must work prioritizing the interests of persons with disabilities to make the judiciary accessible. For him, in the matter of the case of accessibility it´s not about a normative problem, but of putting into practice the determination of the CNJ itself.

Convention of New York

The Brazilian commission that participated in the elaboration of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, published by the United Nations in 2006, was attended by the local judge Ricardo Tadeu Marques da Fonseca. He also worked in the National Congress for the ratification of the treaty, which was the first international treaty to be ratified in Brazil with constitutional status, under the terms of paragraph 3 of article 5 of the Federal Constitution, included by Constitutional Amendment 45/2004.

According to Marques da Fonseca, this convention says in its article 13 that the Judiciary must be totally accessible to the disabled, and establishes in its article 2 that the refusal to adapt is also discriminatory. "Where refusal of adaptation occurs discrimination occurs. It is necessary that the CNJ look to this and comply with recommendation 27, so that it adapts and does not create a scenario of discrimination against jurisdictional and legal professionals, "he says.

History

Marques da Fonseca is the first blind judge in Brazil and the second in the world. He studied law at the University of São Paulo (USP), where he also obtained a master's degree, and holds a PhD from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). In 1991, he took office as work prosecutor, approved in public contest in sixth place. He was inducted into the TRT of the 9th Region in 2009, where he entered by the fifth constitutional.

Printed Petitions

In January, justice Ricardo Lewandowski granted an injunction in the writ of mandamus (MS) 32751, in order to guarantee the blind lawyer Deborah Maria Prates Barbosa, registered in the Rio de Janeiro branch of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB-RJ), the possibility to submit petitions, on paper, until the websites become fully accessible in relation to the Electronic Judicial Process (PJe). The lawyer filed the writ of mandamus in her own favor, in order to restore her right to practice law with freedom and independence.

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