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In 2015, the body supervising the Brazilian Judiciary (Corregedoria Nacional de Justiça, or CNJ) included among its yearly objectives the specialization of two first instance courts in each state capital on matters ancillary to arbitration, a project that is now well underway.

The goal set forth by the CNJ specifically calls upon each state’s jurisdiction to “attribute the competence of examining and judging disputes relating to the Arbitration Act to two of the civil sections currently existing in each state capital, thereby making such courts specialized in arbitration.”

Since then, as announced by the CNJ, 17 out of the 27 units of the Brazilian federation have carried out this design and created a special area of competence between the first instance courts of their respective state capitals.

The most recent—and perhaps more relevant—addition to this list is the State of São Paulo, whose Court of Appeals issued on 29 July 2015 its Resolution 709 of 2015 attributing to the first, second and third bankruptcy court sessions of São Paulo the competence to “process, examine and judge” the “lawsuits deriving from the Arbitration Act (Law No. 9,307 of 1996).”

This comes after a string of legislative measures fostering arbitration, including the enactment of certain modernizing amendments to the Brazilian Arbitration Act and is certainly auspicious news.

Even though the decisions rendered by the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice demonstrate a strong judicial policy in favor of arbitration and apply the concepts of arbitration law very competently, there have been some unfortunate cases where decisions rendered by first instance or appellate courts appear to fumble with the concepts of arbitration law.

The creation of specialized first instance courts in each State capital will certainly increase the dependability and friendliness towards the arbitration of decisions from low level courts, helping consolidate the legal framework for arbitration in Brazil.

Since arbitration proceedings with situs in Brazil have become increasingly common before many global arbitration institutions, this measure can also bolster the bids of Rio de Janeiro (whose business court sections have been specialized in arbitration for a while now) and also of São Paulo, as those cities aspire to be recognized worldwide as first-class arbitration venues.

Author

Joaquim de Paiva Muniz is a partner and head of the arbitration team in Trench Rossi Watanabe. Joaquim has an LL.M. from the University of Chicago and is the chair of the Arbitration Commission of the Rio de Janeiro Bar (OAB/RJ) and coordinator of arbitration courses of the Rio de Janeiro Bar, including a lato sensu graduate course. Joaquim is an officer of the Brazilian Arbitration and Mediation Center, which is the largest of its kind in Rio de Janeiro, as well as an author of many books, including the Arbitration Law of Brazil: Practice and Procedure (Juris Publishing, 2nd Edition 2015) and Curso Básico de Direito Arbitral (Juruá, 4rd Edition 2017). Joaquim can be reached at [email protected]

Author

Luis Peretti is a senior associate in the arbitration and ADR practice group of Trench Rossi e Watanabe Advogados in cooperation with Baker & McKenzie. He assists Brazilian and foreign clients in domestic and International arbitration proceedings in connection with a wide range of legal areas, such as agribusiness, construction, infrastructure, intellectual property and corporate transactions. His practice areas include pre-arbitration consulting, as well as counseling in arbitration proceedings before the best-reputed arbitration institutions - Brazilian and foreign - and in lawsuits ancillary to arbitration proceedings. Luis Peretti became an associate in Trench Rossi e Watanabe Advogados in 2011. He practices in civil litigation since 2004 and has developed experience in domestic and international arbitrations involving commercial disputes as well as investment disputes conducted under the auspices of the ICSID. Luis Peretti can be reached at [email protected] and + 55 11 3048 6800.