The communications revolution has impacted greatly on legal proceedings. Law 8,900 of May 26 1999 permits the parties to a court case to submit documentation via data transmission systems, provided that the court receives the original documents within five days. Since the implementation of this law the transmission of petitions, remedies and briefs via email has been commonplace.

However, the swiftness that is afforded by use of the Internet has been viewed with caution; recently, for example, the Federal Court of Appeals ruled that procedural tracking services should be regarded merely as an aid for attorneys and not as valid for the reckoning of procedural terms. In light of this announcement, the introduction of the so-called 'SIPE' (Electronic Petition System) by a tribunal of the Labour Court in August 2001 is welcome.(1)

According to the tribunal, its new system for receiving petitions by email takes into account "technological developments which permit the secure electronic transmission of data, and allow for time and cost savings".

The tribunal will continue to employ the existing password system for the registration of attorneys on its website, but passwords that were previously used exclusively to access information on the status of proceedings can now be used to identify the signatories of electronic petitions. In order to use the new system, an attorney simply registers with the tribunal's website and supplies information such as his or her Brazilian Bar Association number.

Generally, the password registration system is deemed to be equivalent to a digital signature on an electronic petition, not only because it enables identification of attorneys but also because the registration act sealed by the tribunal is official.

Under the new system there is no need to present the original version of the petition that has been sent electronically (Law 8,900/99). Only documents that will be needed to support the petition must be submitted. Furthermore, a petition sent electronically is considered to be timely only if it is submitted by 6:00pm on the last day of the permitted period, at which time the department for receiving documents at the tribunal's premises also closes.

The new initiative demonstrates how technological developments can improve the legal process in terms of cost effectiveness, speed of proceeding and elimination of red tape.

For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Barretto, Fabiana Regina Siviero or Maura Barretto Ferreira 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], [email protected] or [email protected]).


(1) The full text of GP Provision 7/2001 can be viewed at