I COMMERCIAL OVERVIEW OF THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY

The total quantity of cargo handling in Brazilian port facilities in 2016 was 1.202 billion tonnes, 20 per cent more than 2015, representing a constant increase over the previous years.

The volume of shipping trade has increased in recent years, but for a country with continental dimensions, these numbers could be even higher. Brazilian authorities have recognised that the ports are a bottleneck for Brazilian development. To face this challenge, after enactment of the new Ports Act in 2013, in the end of 2016, the new government took a proactive approach, creating a programme for partnership investments (PPI) that is designed to create a favourable environment for private investment. The ports sector has especially benefited from this initiative, and after the first two meetings of the PPI, more than 100 projects were included in the programme and considered of national interest; many of those projects are in the ports and terminals sector.

The Brazilian shipping industry has, over the years, been much more focused on port and offshore support than cabotage and ocean navigation, thus the Brazilian shipping industry has suffered under the oil and gas crises.

However, the government made available through the merchand marine fund (FMM) resources with attractive interest rates and conditions. In 2016, the FMM made available 3.45 billion reais in financing and over 400 million reais in paid incentives. The result is that the Brazilian industry now numbers 119 new vessels built in Brazilian yards.

Reversing the dominance of the offshore support, last year inland navigation was the sector that benefited the most from FMM resources, using 68 per cent of the available funds to build mostly pushers and dredgers used for the transporta­tion of corn and soy. Those 81 new vessels will be used in the inland waterways for exportation through alternative ports, reducing the transportation costs to south-eastern ports by 30 per cent. The remainder of the resources was used in tankers for the transportation of oil and bulk carriers for grain.

II GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK

Shipping in Brazil is regulated by many different statutes and by a complex legislative framework, including regulations from different periods and with differing authority.

The Commercial Code in force in Brazil dates from 1850. Although part of the Commercial Code has been revoked by the Brazilian Civil Code of 2002, some of its regulations are still in force, especially those related to maritime commerce, shipping contracts, insurance, losses and general average.

In addition, there are several other regulations regarding carriage of goods by sea and respective liabilities, such as the Federal Decree 116/67, the Civil Code of 2002, and the Brazilian Law of Multimodal Transport, Law No. 9,611/98.

Besides the above, Law No. 2,180/1954 regulates the activities and jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court, which is the administrative body responsible for adjudicating on accidents and navigation incidents in order to attribute liability and apply penalties. Law No. 9,537/1997 and Decree No. 2,596/1998 rule on safety in maritime traffic in Brazilian waters.

There are also some administrative rules issued by public agencies, such as ANTAQ, the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency, the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels, and the Directorate of Ports and Coastlines (DPC).

One of the main statutes in terms of regulation of shipping activity in Brazil is Law No. 9,432/97, which regulates the ordering of waterway transportation. According to Law No. 9,432/97, cabotage, port and maritime support navigations are restricted to Brazilian shipping companies, which are Brazilian companies licensed by ANTAQ to operate in navigation activities. Foreign companies are therefore not allowed to operate in Brazil in these three types of navigation. Ocean navigation is open to foreign shipping companies and foreign vessels, except for restricted cargo under Decree 666 and for exportation of oil and its by-products, pursuant to Ordinance 170/02 of the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels.

Moreover, priority is granted to Brazilian-flagged vessels for operating in Brazilian waters. As a general rule, Brazilian shipping companies are only allowed to charter foreign vessels if there are no Brazilian-flagged vessels available in the market. As a consequence, the charter of foreign vessels is subject to prior approval by ANTAQ through a circularisation procedure, which is a consultation of the market on the availability of Brazilian-flagged vessels.

To fly the Brazilian flag, vessels must be owned by Brazilian companies or bareboat chartered to a Brazilian shipping company and registered with the Brazilian Special Registry (REB) with suspension of the flag of origin. In this last case, the bareboat is limited to a certain tonnage depending on the tonnage under construction in a shipyard located in Brazil and the tonnage of the Brazilian vessels already owned by the charterer. The bareboat under these conditions is not subject to prior market consultation.

Another important aspect related to the operation of foreign vessels in Brazil regards labour requirements. Normative Instruction 72 of the Labour Ministry demands that a certain proportion of the crew must be Brazilian citizens. The proportion will depend on the time the foreign vessel remains in Brazil and its activity.

Finally, some of the main conventions ratified by Brazil are: the Collision Convention, enacted by Decree No. 10,773/1914; the Convention on Private International Law (Bustamante Code) of 1929 on the Flag State Law, enacted by Decree No. 18,871/1929; the 1924 International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to the Limitation of Liability of Owners of Sea-going Ships (Brussels), enacted by Decree No. 350/1935; the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Maritime Liens and Mortgages, enacted by Decree No. 351/1935; MARPOL, enacted by Decree No. 2508/1998; the Colregs, enacted by Decree No. 80,068, of 2 August 1977; and the 1989 Salvage Convention, transposed into Brazilian law by Legislative Decree No. 263/2009.

III VENUE AND JURISDICTION

i Courts

In Brazil, trials between private litigants are heard in the local state justice system, following the procedures established by the Code of Civil Procedure.

The federal courts are only competent to rule on maritime issues in the event that a Brazilian navy vessel or a federal public entity is involved.

The judicial system is organised on different levels. At the first instance, the claims are decided by a single judge. Subsequently, the courts of appeal act as courts of second instance, where the appeals are judged by a group of three judges.

Judgments rendered by the second-instance courts may be subject to a subsequent appeal to the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) or the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

The STJ judges the legality of rulings by state courts of appeal, in accordance with the federal laws, while the primary role of the STF is to rule on issues concerning the Federal Constitution.

In addition to the judicial system, navigational facts and incidents are subject to administrative proceedings, since it is mandatory for the local port captain to carry out an inquiry to determine the causes of any incident. The results of this inquiry will be sent to the Admiralty Court for judgment.

The Admiralty Court is an administrative court, subordinated to the Ministry of Defence, that rules on navigation accidents and shipping matters, issuing penalties to the liable officers, crew members or companies, as regulated by Law No. 2.180/54.

ii Arbitration and ADR

There are domestic arbitration institutions and chambers that may judge specialised matters. However, this method of conflict resolution is not yet widely practised in Brazil despite the existence of an arbitration law (Law No. 9,307/96).

It is worth mentioning that in 2015 there were some relevant changes in the arbitration law in order to provide more strength to arbitration in Brazil and gain prominence as a form of dispute resolution in the country. Law 13,129/2015 brought relevant changes in the Arbitration Law 9,307/96 in order to expressly allow arbitration in the contracts entered with public entities and governmental bodies, as well as to regulate the possibility of urgency measures and other matters.

Further to that, a New Code of Civil Procedure (Law 13,105/2015) recently entered into force on 18 March 2016. Among other important procedural chances, the New Code expressly stimulates the use of ADR methods, especially mediation and conciliation in order to try to reduce the number of judicial cases. Thus, in most judicial claims the parties, prior to presenting a defence, shall be summoned to preliminary hearings in the presence of a conciliator, a mediator, chambers of conciliators or mediators, or even the judge, which will give advice on the risks of the dispute or foster dialogue between parties in order to provide guidance towards an amicable resolution. Conciliation and mediation may be applied at any time during the course of the proceedings and are subject to confidentiality, except when disclosure is expressly authorised.

Also, a Mediation Law has recently been published (Law 13,140/2015) setting out rules for out-of-court mediation between private parties. In this case, the award shall be ratified by court.

iii Enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards

Foreign judgments and awards will only be valid and effective for enforcement in Brazil after being ratified by the STJ.

For the enforcement of a foreign judgment in Brazil, the creditor will have to file a request for the enforcement and demonstrate to the court that the following requirements have been met:

    • a the judgment was rendered and issued by a competent judge;
    • b the defendant was duly summoned or its default legally ascertained;
    • c the decision became final in compliance with the formalities necessary to be enforced in the place where it was rendered; and
    • d the decision was legalised by the Brazilian consulate and accompanied by a sworn translation.

The final requirement can be dismissed in some cases, especially when there is a bilateral treaty for judicial cooperation between Brazil and the country where the decision was rendered.

The STJ will not review the facts and merits of the foreign judgment. If such formal requirements are present, the exequatur will be granted and the proceedings will be forwarded to the federal court of the state in which the debtor is domiciled, so that it can be enforced against debtor’s assets.

The STJ will not ratify a foreign judgment that is contrary to Brazilian public policy, national sovereignty or the dignity of the human person.

IV SHIPPING CONTRACTS

i Shipbuilding

A shipbuilding contract must be registered at the Maritime Notary and Admiralty Court for the transfer of the ownership of the vessel by the shipyard to the contracting party.

Also, to be entitled to tax benefits on the acquisition of materials for the construction of the vessel and also on the definitive sale of the vessel by the yard, the buyer must register the hull under construction before the Admiralty Court with the REB.

Additionally, a classification society duly approved by the Brazilian navy must approve the project and follow up construction to allow the issuance of the construction licence.

As established in Law No. 7,652/1998, transfer of title of the vessel to the buyer will only be effective upon the registration of the vessel with the Admiralty Court or relevant port captain (as the case may be). Such registration must be requested by the buyer within 15 days from the delivery of the vessel by the builder. Nevertheless, the parties may agree on the stage of construction at which the ownership of the vessel or hull will be transferred to the buyer.

If there is a default or an unlawful refusal to deliver the vessel by the shipyard, and the shipowner is capable of evidencing that it is in compliance with its contractual obligations and has acquired ownership of the vessel or hull under construction, it is possible to pursue an in limine decision before the competent civil court to obtain the immediate possession of the vessel and move it out of the shipyard.

ii Contracts of carriage

The bill of lading may be seen as a contract of adhesion in Brazil, if the clauses and conditions provided therein are not freely negotiated by both parties. In such cases, clauses that tend to exclude or minimise the carrier’s liability or limit the rights of the cargo owner may be considered null and void by the Brazilian courts, including when jurisdiction is concerned.

Another relevant point is that under Brazilian law, the carrier bears a strict liability. The main duty of the carrier is to deliver the cargo at its destination to the holder of the original bill of lading in the same condition in which the cargo was received on board. In the event of any damages, the carrier may be held liable irrespective of fault.

Consequently, carriers will bear the burden of proving any cause for the exclusion of their liability and may be relieved by establishing that the cargo damages were caused by the inherent vice of the good, by force majeure or fortuity or, in some cases, by a third-party act or fault.

iii Cargo claims

Carriers’ liability starts at the time when the goods are received from the shipper or a person acting on its behalf, lasting until the time of delivery of the merchandise to the addressee, as per the terms of the contract.

In the event of any losses or damages during carriage, both the cargo owner or the subrogated insurer will have title to claim against the carrier.

In addition to the comments made in subsection ii, supra, pursuant to the law, liabilities in a Brazilian lawsuit regarding a contract of carriage will be analysed under a joint and strict liability regime between all the parties involved in the carriage.

iv Limitation of liability

Brazil is not a signatory to the main international conventions that exclude or minimise the liability of the carriers, such as the Hague Rules, the Hague-Visby Rules, the Hamburg Rules or the LLMC Convention 1976.

Under a tort claim, the general rule of the Brazilian Civil Code may prevail, thus regulating that the party responsible for the damage is liable to fully compensate the losses caused. In a contractual dispute, however, the Brazilian Civil Code provides that carrier’s liability will be limited to the value of the cargo.

Carriers may try to invoke the limitation clause provided in the bill of lading, even though this can be disregarded in the event of a great discrepancy between the amount of the loss and the limitation value and in the event the contract is deemed an instrument of adhesion that was not freely negotiated by the parties.

v REMEDIES

i Ship arrest

The arrest of a vessel or the attachment of goods in Brazil consists of a preliminary or incident procedure for a recovery claim (the main lawsuit) to which Brazilian jurisdiction should also apply.

To this end, pursuant to Articles 21 and 22 of the New Code of Civil Procedure, enacted in 2015, to invoke the Brazilian jurisdiction, one of the circumstances below must be present:

  • a the defendant, whatever his or her nationality, is domiciled in Brazil;
  • b the obligation is to be performed in Brazil;
  • c the motive is a fact occurred or an act performed in Brazil;
  • d in cases referring to alimony, when the plaintiff has domicile or residency in Brazil or when the defendant maintains ties in Brazil, such as possession or ownership of assets, perception of income, or obtainment of financial benefits;
  • e in cases arising from consumer transactions, when the consumer is domiciled or residing in Brazil; or
  • f when the parties, expressly or implicitly, submit to the Brazilian jurisdiction.

The sources of procedural law relating to arrest of vessels and maritime liens currently in force in Brazil are basically the Brazilian Commercial Code, the Brussels Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to Maritime Liens and Mortgages 1926 and the Code of Civil Procedure.

Brazil has not ratified the Arrest Conventions, thus impeding the security in Brazil of a claim to be submitted to the jurisdiction of another country.

Once Brazilian jurisdiction can be established, the arresting party may seek the arrest of a vessel as security for an indemnity claim that will have to be sought before the same court and jurisdiction. The presence of the following basic legal requirements must be demonstrated:

  • a the fumus boni iuris, being the existence of a prima facie claim; and
  • b the periculum in mora, being the justifiable concern that the credit will be lost or will be difficult to enforce should the guarantee not be obtained through the arrest.

It is also worth mentioning that a Brazilian judge may request a counter-security from the arresting party in order to cover eventual losses caused by the arrest should it be deemed wrongful.

The judge may also order foreign claimants without assets in Brazil to post a security at court – as established by the Civil Procedure Code – to cover the defendant’s costs and fees in the event the claim ends up being rejected.

Finally, it is worth commenting that the arrest can be sought in rem, in the case of a lien over the vessel, or in personam, in the event that it arises out of a debt of the owner of the vessel.

The ranking of maritime liens is based on the harmonious application of the rules of the Brazilian Commercial Code and the Brussels Convention of 1926, including federal taxes; legal costs and expenses; claims resulting from the employment of the master, crew and ship personnel; indemnities due for salvage; general average contributions; obligations undertaken by the master outside the port of registry for maintenance needs or continuation of the voyage; indemnities due as a result of collisions, or any other maritime accident; ship mortgages; port dues, other than taxes; outstanding payments due depositaries, storage and warehouse rentals, ship equipment; expenditure for the upkeep of the ship and her appurtenances, maintenance expenses at the port of sale; short delivery and cargo losses; debts arising out of the construction of the vessel; expenses incurred for repairs of the vessel and her appurtenances; and the outstanding price of the vessel.

There are no provisions dealing with the arrest of sister ships in Brazilian law. If the claim is based on privileged creditors with effects in rem over the vessel, the claimant would be unlikely to obtain the arrest of another vessel of the debtor’s fleet. However, if the arrest is in personam, it may be possible to file a precautionary lawsuit against the shipowner in order to detain a sister ship and request security, even if the obligations are not directly related to such vessel.

ii Court orders for sale of a vessel

The judicial sale of vessels in Brazil follows the same general rules of asset bidding. Auctions are conducted by the public auctioneer in the course of a judicial proceeding, who will adopt all necessary formalities to conduct the auction and sell the vessel under a commission that may vary between 2 and 5 per cent of the sale price.

The auction is usually held in the hall of the court room or at the auctioneer’s offices. Before the auction, however, the judge will appoint an accounting expert to appraise the value of the asset. A minimum initial bid will be indicated by the judge based on the accounting report and the vessel will not be sold at the first auction in the event that the minimum price is not reached; however, in a second auction, which will take place 10 to 20 days after the first one, the vessel may be sold for any price provided it is not considered unacceptable by the court.

Once the sale is duly performed, the judge will release an order of sale and the bidder will register ownership of the vessel at the Maritime Court, free of any encumbrances.

The judicial sale in Brazil extinguishes any claim on the vessel existing on the date of sale, pursuant to Section 477 of the Brazilian Commercial Code.

VI REGULATION

i Safety

The safety of maritime traffic in Brazilian waters is ruled by Law No. 9,537/1997 (LESTA), Decree No. 2,596/1998 and Navy Ordinance No. 07, issued by the DPC, which have the purpose of ensuring the safety of life and safety of navigation on the open sea and inland waterways, as well as the prevention of environmental pollution caused by vessels, platforms and their supporting facilities.

Article 4 of LESTA establishes the duty of the maritime authority to determine the equipment and supplies that must be approved for use on board ships and platforms; establish a minimum allocation of safety equipment for vessels and platforms; establish the requirements concerning safety, liveability and prevention of pollution by vessels, platforms, or their supporting facilities; and perform surveys, directly or through delegation to specialised agencies.

Brazilian internal regulations embrace several international conventions on the subject of safety regime, such as the CLC Convention, and the LLMC Convention (see subsections iv and v, infra).

ii Port state control

All foreign vessels entering Brazilian ports are subject to port state control.

Port state control in Brazil is performed by qualified naval inspectors accredited by the DPC, in accordance with Navy Ordinance 4. The DPC has, inter alia, the authority to contribute to:

  • a the guidance and control of the merchant marine and related activities in the interests of national defence;
  • b the safety of waterway traffic;
  • c the prevention of pollution by vessels, platforms and the support stations thereof;
  • d the formulation and enforcement of national policies relating to the sea;
  • e the implementation and inspection of laws and regulations at sea and in inland waterways; and
  • f the qualification and certification of personnel for the merchant marine and related activities.

For the attainment of its purposes, the DPC may also prepare regulations for qualification and registration of professional and amateur seamen; passage and stopovers by vessels in waters under national jurisdiction; naval inspections and surveys; classification of vessels; vessel registry and inspections; registry and certification of helipads on vessels and platforms; execution of works, dredging, research and exploration of minerals under or on the shores of waters under Brazilian jurisdiction; registry of shipping companies, experts and class societies; regulate pilotage services; establish the safety crew of vessels; establish the minimum requirements for safety equipment and accessories for vessels and platforms; establish the requirements referent to safety and for pollution prevention of vessels, platform or support installations thereof; support the Admiralty Court and the Special Navy Prosecutor’s Office regarding inquiries into navigational accidents or facts; organise and maintain the Maritime Professional Education System; and represent the navy at gatherings related to matters under its responsibility.

In addition to the internal regulations on port state control, Brazil is a member of the Viña del Mar MoU.

iii Registration and classification

The registration of vessels in Brazil is made at the Admiralty Court and before the port captain, the Admiralty Court being responsible for the following types of maritime records: (1) registration of maritime ownership of vessels over 100 gross tonnage and smaller encumbered vessels; (2) registration of security interest and encumbrances on other vessels; (3) shipowners registration; and (4) registration in the REB.

The REB was created as a second registry (in addition to registration with the Admiralty Court) to give to Brazilian shipowners additional benefits. All Brazilian vessels and some foreign vessels are entitled to be registered under the REB. There are two requirements for a foreign vessel chartered to a Brazilian shipping company to be registered in REB. Namely, the suspension of the original flag (see Section II, supra) and that the Brazilian shipping company must have the required tonnage.

To register vessels before the Admiralty Court, the applicant must gather all required documentation, pay the corresponding fees, and submit the application to the port captaincy of the jurisdiction where the shipowner is domiciled or is operating the vessel. These port authorities will provide the registration of the vessel in order to keep their respective records duly updated with all relevant information on the Brazilian vessels for the purposes of waterway traffic surveillance, as provided for in Law No. 7,652/88, and submit the documentation to the Admiralty Court for obtaining the intended vessel registration.

As regards classification societies in Brazil, it is important to highlight that their authority to act on behalf of the Brazilian government is established pursuant to the Maritime Authority Rules (Normam 06), which set out provisions on the rules for implementing and monitoring the accurate application of the international codes and conventions ratified by Brazil, as well as the relevant domestic standards relative to the safety of navigation, safety of human life at sea and prevention of environmental pollution.

In general, the classification societies are not responsible for vessels certified by them and there is no specific regulation in relation to their responsibility towards third parties. Nevertheless, if it is proven that a classification society acted with gross negligence or wilful misconduct, it would be possible to take action against it in the courts pursuant to the Civil Code.

iv Environmental regulation

Brazilian internal regulations embrace several international conventions on the subject of sea and air pollution, such as the CLC Convention, the LLMC Convention 1976, MARPOL and the OPRC Convention.

Internally, the environmental legal framework is set out in several federal laws, decrees, resolutions and regulations, the most relevant of which are:

  • a the Federal Constitution of 1988 (Article 225 et seq): assures the protection of the environment and establishes criminal and administrative liability in the event of environmental violations, in addition to the obligation to repair the damage caused;
  • b Law No. 6,938/81 (the National Environmental Policy): establishes the objectives, concepts, attributions and regulates the strict legal liability for environmental damage, among other matters;
  • c Law No. 7,347/85: provides for public civil-liability lawsuits for damages caused to the environment;
  • d Law No. 9,605/98 (the Environmental Crime Law): rules on administrative, civil and criminal liability resulting from environmental violations. This law has been regulated by Decree No. 3.179/99;
  • e Law No. 9,795/99: rules on environmental education and, inter alia, created the National Environmental Education Policy;
  • f Law No. 9,966/2000: known as the Oil Law, regulates the prevention, control and inspection of pollution caused by the discharging of oil and other noxious or hazardous substances in waters under Brazilian jurisdiction. Also included in this law are issues pertaining to some of the international conventions such as MARPOL, the CLC Convention and the OPRC Convention. This law has been regulated by Decree No. 4,136/2002; and
  • g National Environment Council Resolution No. 237/97, which regulates the national environmental licensing system.
v Collisions, salvage and wrecks

Brazil is a signatory to some international conventions regarding collisions and salvage, including:

  • a the 1910 Salvage Convention;
  • b the International Convention on Regulation for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1983;
  • c the Colregs;
  • d the FAL Convention;
  • e the Search and Rescue Convention 1979;
  • f MARPOL;
  • g UNCLOS;
  • h the UN Agreement to implement UNCLOS; and
  • i the 1989 Salvage Convention.

Based on the London Salvage Convention, Brazil has adopted the obligation that all vessels must assist other vessels in distress.

Lloyd’s standard form of salvage agreement is acceptable, as well as the ‘no cure, no pay’ clause, although all expenses resulting from the incident must be reimbursed to the owner, if damages to third parties or the environment were avoided.

Wreck removal is governed by Law No. 7,542/86 and by the Maritime Authority Rule No. 10 (Normam 10), enacted by the DPC.

The navy is the entity responsible for coordinating, controlling and inspecting removal of things or assets sunken, submerged, stranded and lost in Brazilian jurisdictional waters. The Maritime Authority is responsible for authorising removals, which can be made either by an interested party or third parties, with possible intervention also by the environmental authorities.

vi Passengers’ rights

Brazil is not a signatory to the Athens Convention or its protocols.

Brazilian and foreign passengers, while being transported or on cruise trips, have their rights supported by the Brazilian Civil Code and Consumers Act. With respect specifically to cruises, Law No. 11,771/08 and resolutions from the Tourism Ministry must also be observed.

A waterway carrier must guarantee the safety and well-being of the passengers during the entire voyage. The relationship between the waterway carrier and the passengers is deemed a consumer relationship and from such relationship arises the requirement for the providers to comply with the agreement and the offer under the exact terms it was presented and advertised.

vii Seafarers’ rights

Brazil is a member of the ILO and has signed ILO Conventions 108 and 185.

There are different rules applicable depending on the type of navigation practised. For deep-sea navigation, foreign crew members may remain in Brazil without a visa for a maximum of 30 days, working on board vessels and having access to the local towns of the ports of call in Brazil, as long as they are in possession of a valid seafarer’s passport.

For any period longer than the 30 consecutive days or for any crew member that does not hold a valid seafarer’s passport or is not on a deep-sea voyage, a temporary work visa is required, otherwise the vessel may be detained and the crew members can be notified to leave the country under the penalty of deportation.

Foreign crew members, while working on a foreign-flagged vessel, are not considered admitted nor may they carry out paid activities in Brazil, as they are subject to the labour rules and rights applied by the law of the vessel’s flag state.

Vii OUTLOOK

The Brazilian Commercial Code, which has been in force since 1850 – albeit partially revoked by the Civil Code of 2002 – may soon be substituted by a new regulation. A project of law (No. 1,572/2011) is currently under way in the Brazilian National Congress for the enactment of a new Commercial Code.

This new Code seeks to update the provisions related to, inter alia, corporate issues, commercial relationships, titles of credit, bankruptcy and also maritime issues related to carriage of goods, limitations of liability, charter agreements and other shipping matters.

The enactment of a new Commercial Code would be a good opportunity to establish in the Brazilian legal system provisions that were instituted by some important international conventions that were not ratified by Brazil. However, a formal legislative process must still be completed before the project becomes actual law.

In addition to the project for a new Commercial Code, a new Code of Civil Procedure entered into force in Brazil on 18 March 2016. The new Code promotes significant changes towards the course of civil lawsuits and aims to reduce the number of court claims, the length of time of the court proceedings and the number of possible appeals. Apart from encouraging the use of new methods of conflict resolution, among other relevant modifications, the new code also brings strength to the value of jurisprudence.

1 Camila Mendes Vianna Cardoso and Godofredo Mendes Vianna are senior partners and Lucas Leite Marques is a partner at Kincaid – Mendes Vianna Advogados Associados.