In recent years, Latin America has witnessed an increased interest in arbitration. This article provides an overview of Brazil’s arbitration system and some of the controversies that it has provoked, with special attention to arbitration involving government entities.
On Sept. 23, 1996, the first modern arbitration law in Brazil came into force.1 Its inspiration was the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)2 Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, but the law had some “cultural” and “technical” features added by Brazilian legislators. The new Arbitration Act faced an immediate hurdle—a challenge to its constitutionality—which stymied the use of domestic and international arbitration for many years. However, in 2001, the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF)3 confirmed the constitutionality of the Arbitration Act,4 leaving no doubt remaining that arbitration could be used by private persons, businesses and legal entities.