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Legal system in Brazil

The legal system provides the structural frame work for doing business. The legal system in Brazil is based upon the Napoleonic Code, or the “Code Napoléon,” originally called the “Code civil des Français,” or the Civil Code of the French, which was brought to Brazil by the Portuguese.

Civil code versus Common Law

[notice]For all Americans and UK business people the following is something of crucial importance to understand. [/notice]

The Civil Code, perhaps needless to say, is quite different from the Common Law upon which the legal systems of the U.S. and the U.K. are based. These differences not only impact how business is done, but also how Brazilians and their lawyers think. At this point, there is no need to get into all the differences between the Civil Code and the Common Law, but do keep in mind that this difference does impact the nature of doing business in Brazil. For instance, in the U.S. if you want to know what the law is, you check the statutes, rules and regulations. But you also need to check how these laws have been interpreted and applied by reviewing past legal cases. Under the Civil Code your inquiry stops with the statutes, rules and regulation – the Civil Code itself.

Forget about creative interpretations of the law, or complying with the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. If the Civil Code says that you need to do X, you need to do X. There is no room for making analogical arguments, such as since doing Y would have the same result as doing X, it should be okay – and perfectly legal – to do Y and not X. You might as well put away your thinking cap, and get ready to follow the letter of the law down to a T, even if you can think of a hundred different and perhaps better ways to do the same thing.




Legal system

Overview of the legal system Brazil is a federative republic, constituting an indissoluble union of States, Municipalities, and the Federal District. The Brazilian legal system is codified. The federal government, states, and municipalities, each within its own sphere of authorities do issue laws.  Court decisions entail correct application of current Brazilian laws. When no specific legal provision exists, …

Union strike in Fortaleza

Labor laws

Complex labor laws Businessmen have long complained that onerous labor laws, together with high payroll taxes, put them off hiring and push them to pay under the table when they do. Labor Laws in Brazil were strongly influenced by developments and trends in Europe, the efforts of various countries to codify laws to protect workers and, …