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The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) holds face-to-face sessions and expands possibilities of judgment by virtual means


In an administrative session held this Wednesday (18), the Justices of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) approved, by majority vote, an amendment to the Court's Rules of Procedure to expand the chances of trials to be conducted electronically, with the possibility of manifestation by lawyers, in cases where the rules provide for oral support. At the same session, considering the measures to prevent the contagion of the coronavirus, the justices decided to maintain the ordinary face-to-face sessions of the Plenary and the Classes, holding them on Wednesdays, every 15 days.

The approved amendment provides that all cases under the STF's jurisdiction may be submitted to trial in a face-to-face or electronic environment, with due regard for the jurisdiction of the Panels or the Plenary. In the virtual environment, according to the rule, internal bills of review, regulatory bills of review and declaration bills of review, precautionary measures in concentrated control actions, referenda for precautionary measures and provisional remedies and other procedural classes, including appeals with recognized general repercussion, whose subject matter has dominant jurisprudence within the STF.

In cases in which the rules require oral support, the attorneys qualified in the case file may submit the respective support electronically, after publication of the agenda and up to 48 hours before the trial begins in a virtual environment. In the face-to-face sessions, the justices approved the possibility of holding oral arguments by means of videoconference, with transmission on large screens installed in the Plenary and in the Classes.

In-Person Sessions

In view of the moment experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic, Justice Luís Roberto Barroso suggested holding ordinary sessions every 15 days both in Plenary and in Classes, starting today (18). He stressed that the Court will continue to work, especially with the recently approved expansion of the powers of the virtual system. The suggestion was accepted by most of the justices.

Critical moment

The administrative session was convened, according to Chief Justice Dias Toffoli, due to the need to adapt institutions, including the STF, to the critical moment the world is going through, especially after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on March 11 that the Covid-19 became a world pandemic. He stressed that the adaptations will allow the Tribunal to maintain the integrality of its activities.


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