Latest updates

Presidential decree simplifies foreign investment in Brazilian banking sector
BMA Barbosa Mussnich Aragao
  • Banking
  • Brazil
  • 01 November 2019

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.

Outsourcing: a new paradigm
CGM Advogados
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Brazil
  • 16 October 2019

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court addressed an important question relating to the day-to-day activities of companies operating in Brazil: is the outsourcing of services allowed without restriction or should it be limited to non-core business activities, as set out by Precedent 331 of the Superior Labour Court? This decision is relevant because it will affect the standards adopted by the Brazilian labour courts in relation to outsourcing.

Petrobras closes abuse of dominance investigations through divestment commitments
BMA Barbosa Mussnich Aragao
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Brazil
  • 26 September 2019

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.

Ministry of Infrastructure announces programme to encourage maritime cabotage
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Brazil
  • 25 September 2019

The Ministry of Infrastructure recently announced a new programme to encourage maritime cabotage. To achieve this aim, the programme will introduce measures to increase the volume of goods transported by cabotage, increase the number of cabotage vessels, increase the competitiveness of Brazilian shipping companies and develop Brazil's shipbuilding industry.

Brazil expands its maritime border
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Brazil
  • 18 September 2019

In March 2019 the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf partially approved Brazil's April 2015 southern margin request, which will allow Brazil to add 170,000km2 to its continental shelf in addition to its exclusive economic zone. As a result, Brazil will be able to exercise its sovereign rights for the exploitation of mineral resources and other non-living seabed resources in its expanded maritime territory.

Aircraft repossession in bankruptcy – Brazilian judiciary's inconsistent treatment of lessors
Basch & Rameh
  • Aviation
  • Brazil
  • 28 August 2019

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.

Appellate court rules that subrogated insurers assume same rights and limitations as assureds
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Brazil
  • 17 July 2019

A recent Sao Paulo State Appellate Court case concerned a carriage of goods by sea from Port Everglades (United States) to the port of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The court's decision sets an important precedent in recognising that subrogation cannot be used to reinstate a right that no longer applies where a rights holder fails to observe a legal requirement. Therefore, subrogated insurers assume the same rights and limitations as assureds.

Appellate court rules that subrogated insurers assume same rights and limitations as assureds
  • Insurance
  • Brazil
  • 16 July 2019

A recent Sao Paulo State Appellate Court case concerned a carriage of goods by sea from Port Everglades (United States) to the port of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The court's decision sets an important precedent in recognising that subrogation cannot be used to reinstate a right that no longer applies where a rights holder fails to observe a legal requirement. Therefore, subrogated insurers assume the same rights and limitations as assureds.

Aircraft repossession: judiciary fails to uphold local law or Cape Town Convention
Basch & Rameh
  • Aviation
  • Brazil
  • 12 June 2019

Following developments earlier in 2019, aircraft repossession has continued to be in the spotlight – yet again with regard to the Oceanair Linhas Aéreas SA (commonly known as 'Avianca Brazil') bankruptcy and, in particular, the experience of lessors that sought repossession of leased aircraft therefrom. In this case, and contrary to Avianca Brazil's pre-bankruptcy experience, a bankruptcy court failed to uphold the express provisions of the Bankruptcy Law 2005 and the Cape Town Convention

Importance of contractual control in merger review
BMA Barbosa Mussnich Aragao
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Brazil
  • 06 June 2019

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.

Bill of lading limitation of liability clause accepted by Brazilian courts
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Brazil
  • 29 May 2019

Bills of lading generally contain a provision that limits carriers' liability to a certain extent if goods are lost or damaged or other claims arise. Such limitation provisions can be used when a merchant fails to declare the cargo's value (which is often the case). A court recently confirmed that if a contracting party can declare its cargo's value in its bill of lading but chooses not to, the limitation of liability clause provided therein can be applied.

Declaration of Economic Freedom – impact on new and existing litigation
  • Litigation
  • Brazil
  • 21 May 2019

The Declaration of Economic Freedom was recently instituted by Presidential Provisional Measure 881/2019. Designed to curtail the state's undue interference in economic activities performed by individuals and companies, the law (which is subject to confirmation by Congress) is also expected to affect new and existing litigation, including the Civil Code. On its face, the Civil Code modification seems positive. However, it is unclear how the courts will react to these novelties.

Courts confirm claim for unpaid bunker constitutes lien and permits vessel arrest
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Brazil
  • 08 May 2019

The Brazilian courts recently confirmed that unpaid debts for bunkers supplied to vessels are considered claims with a privileged nature under Brazilian law and thereby permit creditors to obtain security for any debts by arresting vessels in Brazilian ports. This case is one of the first precedents dealing with the application of the Liens Convention 1926 and grants legal safety for bunker suppliers and all other parties that hold credits of a privileged nature under Brazilian law.

Brazil adheres to Hague Service Convention
  • Litigation
  • Brazil
  • 30 April 2019

Serving companies and individuals in Brazil in connection with suits abroad has just become easier, as Brazil has formally adhered to the 1965 Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. The convention should expedite both the summons of Brazilian parties involved in foreign proceedings and the service of parties abroad in connection with Brazilian litigation.

Price of litigating in Brazil: court-awarded attorneys' fees
  • Litigation
  • Brazil
  • 23 April 2019

In addition to contractual fees, winning attorneys are entitled to court-awarded attorneys' fees, which are determined using objective criteria. However, despite being relatively straightforward to calculate, some courts struggle to award attorneys' fees, particularly in disputes involving significant amounts. A recent Superior Court of Justice decision provides clarity in this regard and is likely to set the tone for future disputes regarding court-awarded attorneys' fees.

Technology's role in commercial contracts
  • Company & Commercial
  • Brazil
  • 22 April 2019

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.

Can you choose a foreign forum to decide your dispute? Yes, but…
  • Litigation
  • Brazil
  • 16 April 2019

The relatively new Civil Procedure Code specifically authorises parties to a contract to select a foreign jurisdiction to decide their disputes. Although the language of the code is straightforward, the lower courts are still debating whether the choice of a foreign jurisdiction would set aside the jurisdiction of the Brazilian courts. Until the Superior Court of Justice sheds some light in this regard, it will remain unclear whether Brazilian courts' jurisdiction can be set aside in favour of foreign courts.

Anti-corruption: legislative changes and enforcement
  • White Collar Crime
  • Brazil
  • 15 April 2019

Brazil has seen extensive legal changes and enforcement efforts against corruption over the past few years. As a result, local and multinational companies active in the region have increased their anti-corruption compliance efforts, particularly by introducing more frequent and comprehensive anti-corruption risk assessments and touchpoints with government entities and officials, as well as strengthening their anti-corruption compliance programmes.

CAM-CCBC settles 20-year dispute over largest container port in South America
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Brazil
  • 11 April 2019

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.

Brazil takes first steps to comply with IMO's 2020 sulphur emissions cap
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Brazil
  • 20 March 2019

In 2016 the International Maritime Organisation approved a reduction of the maximum amount of sulphur that can be contained in ships' fuel oil by January 2020. The National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels recently initiated a public hearing to obtain feedback on its proposal to amend Resolution 52/2010 in order to comply with the new requirements. Some parties expressed concerns about the changes, mainly due to the increase in costs in an already difficult economic environment.