The acceptability of electronic transmissions for procedural actions has been the subject of legislative regulation since 1999 through Law 9,800. At that time, written petitions through faxes or other data transmission means were deemed acceptable in meeting procedural deadlines, provided that the original documents were delivered in court within five days.
Recently, three bills(1) were proposed in the National Congress with the aim of amending Law 9,800 and permitting the use of email in procedural actions that depend on a written petition. In addition, the Association of Brazilian Federal Judges forwarded a bill to the Legislative Branch (Bill 5,828/2001) concerning computerization of the judicial process. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on June 19 2002 and forwarded for approval to the Federal Senate.
Although the practice of email data transmission is not commonplace and these bills have yet to be implemented, generally it is a procedure accepted among the members of the Brazilian judiciary (at least, in theory), being in line with the definition of 'data transmission means' in Law 9,800.
Some courts already have mechanisms for the filing of certificates of petitions through email, most notably the Regional Labour Court of the Second Region (in São Paulo) with its electronic labour proceeding (PET). The significant innovation introduced by PET is that submission of the original copy of the petition within the time limit of Law 9,800 is waived. In addition, documents are accepted as '.doc', '.pdf', '.jpg' and '.gif' attachments of up to 500 kilobytes each. The original documents may remain in the safekeeping of the relevant lawyer to be exhibited in court, if requested.
Other measures to have been implemented include (i) the online service of process of the Brazilian Social Security Institute (INSS) in the Special Federal Courts of the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Third Region (in the states of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul), and (ii) the electronic execution system between the Superior Labour Court and INSS, providing online services such as notifications, calculations and the forwarding of petitions with electronic signatures, as well as the automatic issuing of payment documents for labour court proceedings and the facilitation of receipts of payments by INSS.
For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Barretto or Luiz Felipe Horta Maia at Barretto Ferreira, Kujawski, Brancher e Gonçalves – Sociedade de Advogados by telephone (+55 11 3066 5999) or by fax (+55 11 3167 4735) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).
(1) Bill 3,655/00, Bill 3,664/00 and Bill 3,702/00.