A recent decision rendered by an arbitral tribunal constituted under the Centre for Arbitration and Mediation of the Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada has ended a 20-year dispute over the largest container port in South America. The outcome of this arbitration is positive, as it demonstrates that Brazil's arbitral framework is well established and well functioning – even in disputes involving public administration.
The Superior Court of Justice recently upheld a Sao Paulo State Appellate Court decision which had set aside an arbitral award due to alleged irregularities during the formation of the arbitral tribunal in the context of a multi-party dispute. The Superior Court of Justice's decision confirms the appellate court's opinion that the proceeding which had been adopted to form the arbitral tribunal contravened public policy.
The Superior Court of Justice recently confirmed the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal constituted before the Market Arbitration Chamber to render a decision connected to a company that had filed a lawsuit for a recovery plan before the competent court of law. In addition to taking a pro-arbitral stance on an important national case, this decision reinforces the jurisdictional nature of arbitration and solidifies the case law on conflicts of competence.
A recent Superior Court of Justice decision has broadened the interpretation of consent to an arbitration agreement to include economic groups, which could – by implication – pierce the corporate veil in such cases and extend arbitral jurisdiction to non-signatory parties. The decision sets a precedent for this issue and will serve as a parameter for future decisions by both the lower courts and the Superior Court of Justice.
The Sao Paulo State Appellate Court recently rendered an important precedent on the interpretation of Article 4(2) of the Arbitration Act. The appellate court ultimately dismissed the franchisee's appeal, despite arguments that, among other things, the franchise agreement entered into by the parties was a contract by adhesion, pursuant to Article 54 of the Consumer Protection Code. As such, the arbitration clause was invalid because it did not follow the requirements contained in Article 4(2) of the Arbitration Act.
The COVID-19 crisis has brusquely forced businesses and professionals to close offices and work from home. Luckily, the Brazilian government began implementing measures relating to electronic filings and electronic signatures approximately 20 years ago, all of which have made closing aircraft deals from home offices relatively easy. The Brazilian Aeronautical Registry has adjusted some of its requirements on an interim basis to serve the aviation community by facilitating compliance with necessary formalities and filings.
Brazil's airlines are now being subjected to a withholding tax that has not been charged on most leases for more than three decades. Airlines may be able to successfully challenge the legality of the withholding tax; however, this will require dedication of legal and administrative resources that might have been used elsewhere to fortify the airlines. In any event, under the final text of the law, the likelihood of lessors being liable for withholding tax has been reduced significantly.
A draft law providing emergency relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been submitted to the lower house of Congress. The impact of the draft law on the rights of aircraft lessors would be significant and would place into question Brazil's compliance with the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment.
The Federal Government recently issued an executive order with the potential to change the tax treatment of commercial aircraft leasing. Subject to that determination, the executive order sets new rules for commercial aircraft and engine leases. However, the executive order has created considerable confusion and doubts in the aviation sector.
A number of recent aircraft repossession actions have demonstrated that a majority of judges have correctly recognised lessor rights to repossession in the face of apparent lease agreement defaults. However, these decisions have not clearly cited the Cape Town Convention as their basis. The Brazilian judiciary's failure to unify repossession actions against a bankrupt lessee in a single court has meant that some lessors are subject to minority view decisions that can be upheld on appeal.
A recently issued presidential decree has authorised the Central Bank of Brazil to recognise the government's interest in establishing branches of foreign financial institutions in Brazil and increasing foreign equity participation in Brazilian financial institutions without the need for further presidential authorisation. Prior to the decree's enactment, these matters required the express approval of international treaties or presidential decrees recognising that investments were in the government's interest.
State-owned oil and gas company Petrobras recently reached two settlements with the Administrative Council for Economic Defence to close five investigations into alleged abuses of dominance in the oil refining and domestic natural gas markets. The settlements have drawn significant attention, as they constitute the first time that divestment commitments have been adopted as a remedy in a dominance case.
The Administrative Council for Economic Defence recently issued a decision on the definition of 'de facto control' under Brazilian competition law. While the decision establishes certain criteria that companies should consider when determining whether their contractual relationships with close partners may confer de facto control, these criteria are somewhat unclear and do not allow companies to assess, with sufficient certainty, whether an agreement should be subject to mandatory review.
The Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) tribunal recently fined Unilever R29.4 million for abusing its dominant position in the impulse ice cream (ie, ice cream for immediate consumption) market. According to CADE, Unilever had violated competition law by adopting different types of agreement with its points of sale, which had resulted in their de facto exclusivity to sell Unilever ice creams under the brand Kibon.
The Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) recently requested, for the second time, the compulsory notification of a transaction that did not meet the legal turnover thresholds. This right allows the authority to review the business strategies of successive small acquisitions or acquisitions of nascent rivals in the event that they do not trigger the turnover thresholds. The risk that the CADE may require notification seems to increase following complaints by competitors or third parties.
In recent years, Brazil's antitrust authority – the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) – has undergone a reshuffling in terms of the composition of both the Administrative Tribunal (comprising commissioners) and the General Superintendence. Among the issues that have come before the reshuffled CADE, two investigations are particularly notable because they reveal a new trend in its approach to IP rights.
Simple legal transactions and contracts can often be completed at the click of a button. However, there are a growing number of investment rounds in start-ups based on Brazilian versions of Silicon Valley contracts that unfortunately have not benefited from the critical eye and practical expertise of experienced lawyers who can examine the contracts under Brazilian law.
It is hardly surprising that Brazil's adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards did not mesh perfectly with the Corporations Law. This article discusses the reasons for this incongruity, including that the international accounting model draws more inspiration from common law systems than from Brazil's civil law tradition and the temporal distance between the Corporations Law (although it remains modern in spirit) and the accounting rules, which are constantly evolving.