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Recognition and enforcement procedure
What is the formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?
The interested party must submit a formal request filed by a Brazilian attorney for the recognition of a foreign judgment to the Superior Court of Justice. The request must be accompanied by documents that demonstrate the requirements for ratification – for example:
- the original or notarised copy of the judgment to be recognised;
- other documents deemed necessary for the recognition of the foreign judgment (the applicant must provide evidence that the final decision was ruled by a competent authority and that the parties were regularly summoned); and
- a certified translation into Portuguese, which in some cases (more often in family matters) must be authenticated by the competent Brazilian consular authority.
Following recognition, the interested party can request the enforcement of the approved foreign decision by the federal court via a formal request filed by a Brazilian attorney.
What is the typical timeframe for the proceedings to grant recognition and enforcement?
The timeframe for the recognition of a foreign judgment depends largely on the matters in dispute and if the defendant contests the decision. Regarding the enforcement of the decision, the timeframe may vary according to the situation and the counterarguments raised by the losing party.
What fees apply to applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
The fee to request the recognition of a foreign judgment is R174.23. Fees for the enforcement of an approved foreign judgment range from R10.64 to R1,915.38. The applicant must also be represented by a Brazilian lawyer and contract the legal fees directly.
Must the applicant for recognition and enforcement provide security for costs?
Applicants do not generally need to provide security for costs.
Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?
A so-called ‘declaration embargo appeal’ (Articles 1.022 to 1.026 of the Civil Procedure Code) can be presented to:
- clarify obscurity or eliminate contradiction in the decision;
- overturn the omission of a point or question on which the court has decided; or
- correct a material error.
If one of the above is identified, the decision can be modified by the appeal court. Further, in exceptional cases, the decision can be subject to appeal before the Federal Supreme Court.
If recognition of a foreign decision is granted, the decision becomes final and unappealable and the party can present an enforcement request before a federal court. In addition, in divorce cases, the domestic judgment is subject to appeal before the court of appeal.
How does the enforcing court address other costs issues arising in relation to the foreign judgment (eg, calculation of interest, exchange rates)?
Interest rates are governed by the applicable law in accordance with the case that has been judged. In order to be enforced in Brazil, an exequatur procedure must generally be converted into local currency.
Enforcement against third parties
To what extent can the courts enforce a foreign judgment against third parties?
It is impossible to enforce a decision against a third party that was not party to the dispute. Therefore, a foreign judgment that harms third parties cannot be approved except in the case of a legal successor that is proven to be the legal successor to the debt.
Partial recognition and enforcement
Can the courts grant partial recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
Article 961(2) of the Civil Procedure Code admits the partial recognition of a foreign judgment. However, when a foreign judgment is fully approved, the enforcement cannot enforce only part of the decision.
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