Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards in Brazil – Vol. 24 No. 1

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Author: Leonardo de Campos Melo*

Published: May 2013


As Brazil enters the twenty-first century a major player in world trade, Brazilian nationals and companies are increasingly involved in international arbitration proceedings worldwide. This growth is reflected in the 2010 statistics of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, according to which Brazil is one of the top five users of ICC arbitrations, ahead of all other countries in Latin America and also ahead of the other so-called BRICS – Russia, India, China, and South Africa.1 The outcome of arbitration proceedings often consists of an award being rendered outside of Brazil against a Brazilian party. In these cases, if the award is to become effective in Brazil, the winning party will have to file a request for the recognition2 of the foreign arbitral award before the Brazilian Superior Tribunal de Justiça in its Portuguese name (“STJ”). The STJ has final jurisdiction over disputes which raise issues of Brazilian federal law and also has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the recognition of foreign arbitral awards. It is only if recognition is granted by the STJ that a successful party in a foreign arbitration will be able, for example, to commence enforcement proceedings before a Federal Civil Court, or to assert the award as a res judicata defense or otherwise as evidence before Brazilian courts.

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*Lawyer in Brazil with practice in litigation and domestic and international arbitration. Partner at Sergio Bermudes Law Office. LLM from the Center on International Commercial Arbitration at the Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, D.C.; Master’s Degree in Civil Law from the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Author of books and articles on international arbitration and on Brazilian civil law. The author lectures on arbitration in postgraduate course on Private Law run by the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).