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The Rule of Law in Brazil: Three Decades of Progress and Challenges

On May 22, the Brazil Institute of the Wilson Center hosted an all-day conference of experts to review progress and challenges in the building of the rule of law in Latin America’s largest democracy.

Date & Time

May. 22, 2015
9:00am – 1:15pm ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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This event is held in partnership with:
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With the generous support from:
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Three decades of democratic rule in Brazil have produced meaningful progress towards establishing a universal and effective rule of law in South America’s largest nation. The formal institutions of the judicial system have been improved significantly through a series of reforms to the legal structure, changes in procedural rules, and improvements in staffing and administration. The courts have addressed rising citizen demands by improving their efficiency, even as they simultaneously expanded access. Although important challenges remain, the judicial system has narrowed the gap between demands for justice and the provision of rights, contributing to improved social justice, enhanced development outcomes, and the deepening of democracy in the country.

On May 22, the Brazil Institute of the Wilson Center will host an all-day conference of experts to review progress and challenges in the building of the rule of law in Latin America’s largest democracy. This will be the first of a series of four conferences planned for 2015 and 2016, and part of a broader Wilson Center initiative to examine the rule of law on a global scale. The conference is co-sponsored by Fundação Getulio Vargas law schools in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and American University’s Washington College of Law and School of International Service in Washington, D.C. It was made possible by generous support from Mattos Filho Advogado and Arnold & Porter LLP. 


9:00 – 9:30 AM

Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute, Wilson Center

Opening Remarks:

Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazilian Ambassador to the United States

9:30 – 11:00 AM
First session: The Courts and the Rule of Law in Democratic Brazil

Minister Luis Inácio Adams, Office of the Union's Solicitor General
Dean Oscar Vilhena Vieira, FGV Law School - São Paulo
Judge Peter Messitte, US District Court, District of Maryland, and Washington College of Law
Dr. Glaucia Maria Lauletta Frascino, Partner, Mattos Filho Advogados

11:15 – 12:45 PM
Second session: Reforming Institutions and Changing Ideas in the Brazilian Judiciary

Minister Nelson Jobim, Former Congressman, Minister of Justice, Minister of Defense, and former Chief Justice of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Tribunal
Dean Joaquim Falcão,  FGV Law School - Rio de Janeiro
Dr. Linn Hammergren, Independent Consultant on Justice Reform

1:00 – 2:15PM
Lunch: The Legal Business Environment and Corporate Governance

Eli Whitney Debevoise II, Senior Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP

Amadeu Ribeiro, Managing Partner New York Office, Mattos Filho Advogados

2:30 – 4:00 PM

Third session: Democratizing Access and Oversight in Brazilian Law

Assistant Attorney General Raquel Dodge, Office of the Republic’s Prosecutor General
Professor Maria Tereza Sadek, University of São Paulo
Professor Luciana Gross Cunha, FGV Law School - São Paulo
Professor Matthew M. Taylor, School of International Service, American University

4:15 – 5:15 PM
Concluding session: Brazil and the International Legal Order

Dean Claudio Grossman, Washington College of Law, American University
Dean Jim Goldgeier, School of International Service, American University
Dean Joaquim Falcão, FGV Law School, Rio de Janeiro
Dean Oscar Vilhena, FGV Law School São Paulo


Photo courtesy of Flickr user Agencia Brasil/Debora Zampier


Hosted By

Brazil Institute

The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—works to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and U.S. institutions in all sectors.  Read more

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