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Brazil: Requirements to Legalize Foreign Documents Will Soon Be Abolished

(Jan. 21, 2016) On January 18, 2016, the National Council of Justice (Conselho Nacional de Justiça – CNJ) announced that it will be responsible for coordinating and regulating the application of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille Convention) in Brazil. Brazil approved the text of the Apostille Convention through Legislative Decree No. 148, which was issued on July 6, 2015, by the Federal Senate.  (Decreto Legislativo No. 148, de 2015, House of Deputies website.)

The Convention will enter into force in the country in August 2016. The purpose of the Convention is to streamline and simplify the legalization of documents between the 109 signatory countries, and it will enable the mutual recognition of Brazilian papers abroad and foreign documents in Brazil.  (Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (Oct. 5, 1961), Hague Convention on Private International Law website.)

An administrative act (Portaria CNJ No. 155, de 12 de Novembro de 2015, CNJ website) issued by the President of the CNJ created a working group to develop a system to allow the issuance of a “Hague Apostille,” in all registrar offices in the country; it will consist of a certificate used internationally to facilitate business and legal transactions, to consolidate all the information necessary to make a public document valid in another signatory country to the Apostille Convention.  (Luiza de Carvalho Fariello, CNJ Vai Regulamentar a Aplicação da Convenção da Apostila de Haia no País, AGÊNCIA CNJ DE NOTÍCIAS (Jan. 18, 2016), CNJ website.)

Background on the CNJ

The National Council of Justice was created in 2004 through Constitutional Amendment No. 45 of December 30, 2004. (Emenda Constitucional No. 45, de 30 de Dezembro de 2004, PLANALTO.)  It is a judicial agency responsible for the administrative and financial control of the judiciary and the supervision of judges. (Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil de 1988 (C.F.), art. 103-B(§4), PLANALTO.)

The Council is composed of 15 members who are more than 35 and less than 66 years of age; they serve for a term of two years, with one extension allowed. (C.F. art. 103-B; for a detailed list of the component members of the CNJ, see C.F. art. 103-B.)