segunda-feira, 25 de maio de 2009

The Economist e o STF

Procuradora Regional da República Monica Re envia a seguinte matéria da revista Economist sobre o STF

Brazil's supreme courtWhen less is more
May 21st 2009 | BRASÍLIA
From The Economist print editionReforms improve the judicial system
HOUSED in a modernist palace in Brasília, Brazil’s Supreme Federal
Tribunal has long been something of a joke. It is the most overburdened
court in the world, thanks to a plethora of rights and privileges
entrenched in the country’s 1988 constitution. These include an almost
limitless right to appeal against any court ruling until the case
reaches the 11 wise men and women in the supreme court. Every justice
writes his own opinion in a case, and till recently the tribunal’s
decisions did not bind lower courts. The result was a court that is
overstretched to the point of mutiny. The supreme court received 100,781
cases last year. Last month one of its members accused the court’s
president, Gilmar Mendes, of destroying justice, in a televised session
(which promptly ended).
Joaquim Barbosa, who made the accusation, seems to have been in tune
with public opinion. In a poll conducted by the Fundação Getúlio Vargas,
a research institute, in February 69% of respondents said that judges in
Brazil lack impartiality. Justice is also appallingly slow, particularly
in São Paulo state, which accounts for some 45% of the cases in the
country, according to Maria Thereza Sadek of the University of São
Paulo. This encourages time-wasting lawsuits as a ploy to stave off
penalties from broken contracts or other infringements. Brazil has more
lawsuits per person than any Latin American country except Costa Rica,
says Ms Sadek.
Mr Mendes has in fact made some improvements to an institution that in
the past has sometimes seemed to care more about its pension
entitlements than about dispensing wisdom. In particular, he has taken
advantage of reforms to the justice system made by President Luiz Inácio
Lula da Silva’s government in 2004 to get things moving a bit faster.
One of these reforms allowed the court to create binding precedents
that must be followed by lower courts in similar cases. To be heard by
the tribunal a case must now have “general repercussion in society”. If
this test is not met then the judgment of a lower court is accepted as
final Together these measures have cut the number of cases distributed
to the tribunal’s members between April last year and March this year to
a mere 56,500, compared with 97,400 in the same period of the previous
A second innovation was the creation in 2004 of a body to keep an eye
on the judges. The National Council of Justice has proved to have teeth,
travelling around the country and investigating malpractice. It has
detected a lot of this in the country’s poor north-east: it recently
found a judge in Alagoas guilty of a fraud worth more than 63,000 reais
($26,000) against Electrobrás, a state-controlled energy company.
If these trends are reinforced, Brazil’s supreme court will start to
resemble similar courts elsewhere. Behind the recent public row between
the two supreme-court justices was an argument about judicial
philosophy, says Joaquim Falcão, a professor of constitutional law at
the Fundação Getúlio Vargas. Mr Barbosa boasted that he considered the
consequences of his decisions. Mr Mendes accused him of ruling
differently depending on the social status of those involved in a case.
Translated into different language, this was an argument between
judicial activism and a more conservative view of a judge’s role. This
is a cut above the usual debate in and about the supreme court and
sounds like progress. But there is still some way to go, and a lot of
cases to be culled.

2 comentários:

Fabiano disse...

Como um estudante brasileiro pode fazer para entrar em contato com o Prof. Paulo F. da Cunha? Grato.

Prof. Ribas disse...

Vou procurar o e-mail dele. Uma saída é o site da Universidade do Porto, em Portugal. Ribas