April 25, 2013
Brazil’s legal system Much like the United States, Brazil’s legal system is held up by its Federal Constitution. The Brazilian Constitution was formed October 5th, 1988 and was based on civil law traditions. It defines Brazil as a Federative Republic which is made up of 26 federate states. Each of these states has the power to adopt their own Constitution and laws; however their freedom to do so is limited by the principles already established in the federal Constitution. The powers that uphold Brazil’s legal system and Union are Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. The leader of the Executive branch is the president of the Union. The presidents as well as the vice president are chosen by the people of the republic. The president is both Chief of State and Head of Government. The Chief of State is the title given to the country’s leader who represents the states at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of Government is the title given to the top administrative leader who is designated to manage the government’s day to day activities. The Union’s legislative branch is led by a bicameral National Congress. Congress is made up by two houses, the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, whose members are all elected by the citizens. The Senate is the upper house, and is made up of 81 seats. Three members from each state are elected for eight year terms, also one third and two thirds of the members are alternatively elected every four years. The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house and is made up by 513 seats. The members are elected in proportion to the state they represent and serve four year terms. Finally, the judicial power is given to Federal Supreme Court, the Superior Court of Justice, the Regional Federal Courts and Federal Judges. There are also special courts that deal with electoral, labor, and military disputes. The Federal Supreme Court is the guardian of the Federal Constitution, and has exclusive jurisdiction to declare a federal or state law unconstitutional.