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Understand STF's Virtual Plenary

Monday, February 27, 2017

Created in 2007, the Virtual Plenary is a system that allows Justices of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) to deliberate if a matter has or has not general repercussion, prerequisite introduced by the Constitutional Amendment (EC) 45/2004 (Judiciary’s reform) to the admissibility of the Extraordinary Appeal (RE). One of the objectives of the reform was to reduce the amount of processes remitted to the last instance of the Judiciary, allowing STF to dedicate itself to questions that are more relevant.

From the moment that the theme is included in the system, the Justices have 20 days to vote. In the cases in which the rapporteur recognizes the existence of general repercussion, for its refusal, according to the Federal Constitution, it is necessary the express manifestation of, at least, eight Justices. The Virtual Plenary functions 24 hours a day and it is possible that the Justices access it remotely, allowing the voting even if they are not in their cabinet. Among the principal themes with recognized general repercussion are electoral, criminal and economic issues.

A reform in the Internal Regiment of STF in June 2016 allowed also that the judgment of some internal appeals (Agravo Interno e Embargos de Declaração) using the Court’s Virtual Plenary.

Besides the celerity given to the analysis of relevant subjects, the Virtual Plenary also offers transparency in the monitoring of decisions. Until November 2008, only registered Justices and courts had access to the system, but the Justices of STF decided to amplify the access, allowing the monitoring by society of judgements on the existence of general repercussion.

The consult is available in Virtual Plenary’s link in the STF website and enables to follow the vote of any Justice about the existence of general repercussion in a certain theme.

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