President of the Brazilian Bar Association denies accusation of discrimination

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The head of the Portuguese Bar Association (OA) today rejected accusations of colonialism and discrimination made by her Brazilian counterpart after the Portuguese entity unilaterally denounced the reciprocity agreement that existed between the Portuguese and Brazilian Bar Associations.

In statements to Pp, Fernanda de Almeida Pinheiro regretted the “unfortunate comments” of the president of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), Beto Simonetti, who said that “the colonial mentality has already been defeated and only finds a place in history books”, speaking of “discrimination and prejudice” against Brazilian professionals in the review of the agreement that allowed the registration of Brazilian lawyers in Portugal and Portuguese professionals in Brazil.

“There is no colonialism, arbitrariness or xenophobia here,” she said, justifying the unilateral break: “Brazilian legislation and Portuguese legislation are completely different. We have been feeling this concern for many years. It is neither correct nor can it be the policy of an Order to allow people who are not technically and legally qualified to practice the profession”.

At issue is the decision by the OA’s General Council taken in Monday’s plenary session which “terminated the reciprocity regime for the registration of lawyers currently in force” and which came into effect as of today.

Fernanda de Almeida Pinheiro also pointed out that the agreement “was being used in a distorted manner” by Brazilian lawyers, who, once in possession of a Portuguese professional license, sought out other European Union (EU) member states to practice law: “At no time can this agreement, which is a reciprocal agreement between Portugal and Brazil, be used to practice in the EU.

She also denied that her Brazilian counterpart had opposed any change in the reciprocity agreement during the talks held in recent months.

“That communication from the OAB does not correspond to the truth. The president of the OAB never said he was against the change of regime. To come out publicly and say that they were always against this is completely false”, she stressed, criticizing the position of Beto Simonetti, who had a meeting scheduled with the OA for the 26th and, according to Fernanda de Almeida Pinheiro, ended up warning at midnight of that day that he could not come after all, adding two days later that he could not sign an understanding that had already been established in May.

Refusing to be “conniving” with an agreement that she believes is not respecting the rights, freedoms, and guarantees of citizens and companies and the “dignity of the legal profession” in both countries, she assured, however, that the denunciation of the agreement does not have retroactive effects. “The only thing that will cease to happen is this absolute exception for Brazilian lawyers. It will become an equal rule for everyone,” she concluded.

Announcement | OAP and CFOAB Reciprocity Agreement

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