The supreme law in Brazil is The Federal Constitution promulgated in 1988. The constitution divides the country into 26 Federate States that are at liberty to adopt their laws, but these laws must fall within the provisions of the Federal Constitution.
The Federal Constitution can be amended through a legal process provided for in the same constitution. For any amendment to occur, it has to be supported by at least a third of the members of the two legislative houses – Senate & House of Representatives, or Legislative chambers in at least 13 States. The president of the Federal State must sign to effect any amendment. However, Laws touching on the freedom of rights and separation of powers are immune to amendments.
The legislative houses make the complementary laws and President approves them. These laws complement the constitution. Ordinary laws, on the other hand, are traditional unwritten laws that originate from either of the houses and adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure.
It is the role of the courts to interpret laws in Brazil. The senior most court in Brazil is the Supreme Federal Court, which serves as chief custodian of the Law. The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice functions as an arbitrator whenever an ordinary State court and an ordinary Federal court make conflicting rulings. Other courts include Labor Courts, Electoral Courts, Military Courts, and Federal Courts.
Upon acquiring a degree in law, one has to join the Brazilian Law School where they sit for bar examinations to qualify as an attorney. Lawyers practice law in different categories that includes Family Law, Business Law, Tax Law, Criminal Law, Finance & Securities Law, and Property Law.
About Ricardo Tosto
Ricardo Tosto is one of the most skilled and respected lawyers in Brazil. He is a founding principal of Leite, Tosto e Barros Advogados, a renowned law firm that specializes in business law, credit recovery, banking, electoral law, international law, as well as civil and commercial litigation. Ricardo earned a bachelor’s degree in law at Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie. He later joined the Fundacao Armando Alvares Penteado where he obtained his MBA.
Ricardo boasts of over 22 years of legal practice. He previously served as the president of the Sao Paulo OAB Commission for Modernization. Currently, Ricardo Tosto serves as a member of both Brazilian and International Bar Associations. He also has published several articles in legal journals.