Announcement | OAP and CFOAB Reciprocity Agreement

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As the General Council of the Portuguese Bar Association (CGOA) had already announced, we have been maintaining an open dialogue with the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association (CFOAB), with a view to introducing changes to the Reciprocity Agreement that has long existed between the Portuguese Bar Association (OAP) and the CFOAB.

Announcement | OAP and CFOAB Reciprocity Agreement

The current reciprocity regime allows for the registration of Brazilian lawyers with the Portuguese Bar Association with exemption from the internship and from the requirement to take an aggregation exam (see article 17, no. 2 of the Rules for Registration of Lawyers and Trainee Lawyers). The Portuguese lawyer, in good standing with the Portuguese Bar Association, may register with the Brazilian Bar Association, observing the requirements of section 8 of Law No. 8.906, of 1994, with the dispensation of the requirements foreseen in item IV and in section 4, paragraph 2, and in section 20 of the General Regulations of the Statute of the Practice of Law and of the Brazilian Bar Association”.

Although there may have been a basic matrix common to the legal systems of both countries, it has been noted that in Portugal very different legislative options have been adopted from those implemented in Brazil, not least because of the applicability and transposition into Portuguese internal law of European Union law, which has inevitably contributed to the fact that both legal systems have moved apart and have evolved in completely different directions.

As a result, the legal norms currently in force in some branches of law in one legal system and in the other are no longer even comparable.

It is common knowledge that there is a notorious difference in legal practice in Portugal and Brazil, as well as in legal formalities and digital platforms, and Brazilian and Portuguese lawyers are effectively unaware of this when they start their activity in Portugal or Brazil, which is why the practice of highly complex legal acts is carried out by lawyers who do not have the necessary academic and professional training in the Portuguese and Brazilian legal systems.

It is also clear that, within the current framework, there are serious and obvious difficulties in adapting Brazilian lawyers to the Portuguese legal system, to substantive and procedural legislation, as well as to legal platforms in current use, which endangers the rights, freedoms and guarantees of Portuguese citizens and, reciprocally, those of Brazilian citizens.

It should also be pointed out that numerous complaints have recently been forwarded to the OAP concerning the improper use of the reciprocity regime in force, which should only produce effects within the scope of registration as a lawyer with the respective professional associations and not for obtaining registration or enrolment with other bar associations or similar professional associations in other member states of the European Union, which are not, and never have been, party to this agreement.

The conversations between the institutions took place between February and June 2023, however, according to information sent to us by email at the end of June 28, 2023, the CFOAB stated that it was not in a position to make the changes to the current reciprocity regime (to which both institutions agreed on May 23, 2023), either immediately or within a period of time considered reasonable by the CGOA.

Thus, notwithstanding the spirit of cooperation and friendship that punctuates the relations between the two professional associations, in view of the seriousness of the issues identified above and widely known, as well as the special social repercussion that arises from them, namely in what concerns the guarantee of an effective protection of the legitimate interests of the citizens of both countries, the General Council of the Portuguese Bar Association, meeting in plenary session on July 3, 2023, unanimously decided terminate the reciprocity regime for the registration of Lawyers currently in force, with effect as of July 5, 2023, as only such termination is likely to solve the concerns jointly identified and listed above, and it was further decided to promote the adaptation of the respective internal regulations regarding the registration of Lawyers, in accordance with what has been decided herein, safeguarding, however, the registration processes that are underway under the reciprocity regime.

The General Council of the Portuguese Bar Association

Source: https://portal.oa.pt/comunicacao/comunicados/2023/comunicado-acordo-de-reciprocidade-oap-e-o-cfoab/

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