Bringing Uniformity to Brazilian Court Decisions: Looking at the American Precedent and at Italian Living Law

Anna Silvia Bruno


This article proposes to tackle the question of the uniformity of court decisions in Brazil and in Italy. Part I of the analysis is dedicated to the institution of the Súmula vinculante in the Brazilian system. Part II discusses the rule of living law in the Italian system, the instrument through which the lower courts follow the settled interpretations established by the higher courts. The analysis of the institutions is followed by a consideration of the role of the U.S. system – by recourse to precedent and to what is known as judicial minimalism – which both Brazil and Italy regard as tertium comparationis. Part III identifies the main problem created by the Súmula vinculante, which is that it develops a paradoxical system entrenched behind the binding effect. This instrument risks becoming a model of pre-established decisions within the limits of which successive cases would have to be decided, a kind of prefabricated judgment. The article concludes by considering some proposals to solve the short-circuit of the Súmula.


Cite as: Anna Silvia Bruno, Bringing Uniformity to Brazilian Court Decisions: Looking at the American Precedent and at Italian Living Law, vol 11.4 ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW, (December 2007), <http://www.ejcl.org/114/art114-3.pdf>.

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