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Brazil: New Code of Civil Procedure Approved by Federal Senate

(Dec. 19, 2014) On December 17, 2014, the Brazilian Federal Senate approved a new Code of Civil Procedure that will enter into force one year after it is signed by President Dilma Roussef. The current Code of Civil Procedure was enacted in 1973. (Código de Processo Civil, Lei No. 5.869, de 11 de Janeiro de 1973, PLANALTO.) It has been criticized for providing too many possibilities for delays in the civil procedure process.

The text of the new Code was analyzed for five years by the National Congress, and its purpose is to simplify the civil process and make it faster and more transparent. (Gorette Brandão, Novo Código de Processo Civil Vai à Sanção Presidencial, SENADO FEDERAL (Dec. 17, 2014).)

Some of the changes provided for in the new Code include:

• providing for conciliation hearings to be held at the beginning of the process to enable the parties to reach an agreement that would avoid having the case go to trial;

• requiring that cases be heard in chronological order to prevent recent cases from being heard first, with exceptions allowed;

• imposing a penalty fee on a party that makes too many appeals for the sole purpose of delaying the decision of the case;

• allowing for the possibility of an individual action becoming a collective action if the result could reach a large number of people; and

• mandating that decisions of the superior courts are to guide similar cases adjudicated by the lower courts. (Mariana Jungmann, Senado Conclui Votação e Novo Código de Processo Civil Vai à Sanção Presidencial, AGÊNCIA BRASIL (Dec. 17, 2014).)