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Supreme Court to Allow International Summons via Mail

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Second Panel of STF recognizes the possibility of approving a foreign sentence without the need for for summons by rogatory letter

By Fernanda Marques and Marcella Reis

In Brazilian law, procedural acts that go beyond national borders and that may affect the rights and guarantees of those residing and domiciled in the country, follow the procedure of issuing a letter of request, for the purposes of servicing, summoning and executing a foreign decision.

The rogatory letter, an instrument of international legal cooperation, is regulated by article 36 of the Civil Process Code, whose caput establishes that “the procedure of the rogatory letter before the Superior Court of Justice – STJ is of contentious jurisdiction and must ensure the parties the guarantees due process”.

Indeed, there are international agreements in force in countries regarding the communication of procedural acts, such as the Inter-American Convention on Letters of Request, promulgated through Decree 1,899 / 1996. In addition, Brazil enacted, by Decree nº 9.734 / 2019, the text of the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, aiming at greater speed and efficiency in the circularization of judicial acts and extrajudicial documents relating to the summons and subpoenas of parties residing in the signatory States.

Recently the Superior Court of Law decided on the validity of summons of parties and validation of a foreign sentence, without the need for the Brazilian company to be summoned by means of a Letter of Request.  The decision was based on the contract signed between the parties, since in it, the New York forum, which allows postal service, was selected. Thus, the STJ determined that the procedural requirements were duly met, as they are in compliance with the laws in force in the State in which the sentence was issued.

Based on this understanding, the 2nd panel of the Supreme Federal Court – STF dismissed the interlocutory appeal in an extraordinary appeal (No. 1,137,224) that questioned the STJ ruling, mentioned above. The rapporteur, Minister Celso de Mello, considered that the controversy had been properly settled by the STJ, thus maintaining the judgement of the company Latin Stock Brasil Produções’ payment of US $ 362.74 thousand to the image, video and music database Shutterstock.

This decision is in line with international legal cooperation initiatives in Brazil and ensures greater legal security for foreign agents who aim to do business with Brazilian companies.