The Notary Office and of Register of Maritime Contracts (Admiralty Court) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government so that “it be acknowledged and declared on a decision that the Admiralty Court has no jurisdiction for the registration of maritime contracts considering that such authority is of exclusive jurisdiction of Notary Publics and Maritime Contracts Registry Officers”.
This lawsuit was pending in several instances, having arrived to the Superior Federal Court (STJ), which, on a Special Appeal (REsp 864.409/RJ) decided that “the Admiralty Court has authority for recording maritime ownership, property rights and other burdens encumbering the Brazilian vessels. The Notary Public of Maritime Contracts Registration, on his turn, is incumbent upon executing, drawing up any acts, contracts, agreements, and instruments relative to vessels transactions, recording them in his own registry office”.
Despite such decision, the Admiralty Court filed an Interlocutory Appeal alleging “disobedience to the legal order purportedly perpetrated by the Port Captaincy”. For the referred notary office, the Port Captaincy must require the drawing up of legal transactions transferring the ownership of the vessels in his notary office before registering of these vessels, what was not taking place. The Federal Government, in its appellee´s brief to the interlocutory appeal, declared by means of the Admiralty Court ´s and Port Captaincy´s official letters that the legal decision did not impose them such burden.
The referred appeal has been denied in the first instance. However, by majority of votes, the Eight Panel of the Federal Court of Appeals of the 2nd Region (TRF-2) decided to grant the interlocutory appeal. It has been highlighted in the prevailing opinion that the ownership registration, under the competence of the Admiralty Court or Port Captaincy cannot be mistaken with the registration of a maritime contract – a requisite for perfecting the ownership transference act – this latter under the competence of the maritime registry office. It has also been observed in this vote that at no moment whatsoever it has been imposed the drawing up of public deed for contracts of vessels with gross tonnage less than one hundred tons, being the adoption of a private instrument lawful, being made the due registration of the legal act at the notary office.
The Federal Government filed a Special Appeal against this decision, which is currently under admissibility analysis before the TRF-2.