Petitions in Brazil
It does not matter if you are trying to change some major issue or just asking for information about a certain subject, submitting a petition might be an interesting option. This article will explain what the procedures to do so are in Brazil.
A petition is defined as a formal request asking for some sort of change or claiming any rights, signed by one individual or by a group of people, and delivered to a legal authority.
Legal Right and Government Responsibilities
According to the Federal Constitution, any Brazilian may submit a petition to the government or to an authority, free of charge. The receiver must then check if all of the information submitted is correct.
For example, when taking a petition to a judge, a period of 10 days is given to the petitioner in order to fix any irregularities. Otherwise, the petition is dismissed.
If all of the required information is presented correctly, the authority must sign and date the document, confirming its receipt. Authorities have a legal period of 15 days to answer the petition.
There is not an official standard model for petitions, but some personal information and other details must be presented in order to avoid any delays. Basically it must contain:
- An identification of who is signing the petition, like full name and CPF
- A detailed description of the problem, violation or current unfavorable situation
- The request of change, information or providence to be taken
- Date and signature of the petitioner
Other requirements might be necessary if the petition seeks to initiate a legal process and if it is going to be submitted to the Judiciary. According to the Brazilian Code of Civil Procedure, they are:
- Indication of the judge or court receiving the petition
- Name, civil state, profession and address of the author and of the defendant
- The fact and the legal base of the petition
- The requested change and its specifications
- The value of the cause
- The evidence with which the petitioner seeks to demonstrate the defendant’s fault
- Requirement for the defendant’s defense
Step by Step
The quick guide below might serve as a reference for submitting a petition.
- Define the current situation. Describe the problem, which rights are being deprived, who is being harmed and what information is needed.
- Define which authorities must solve the problem. Remember that it is allowed — and even recommended — that the petition be sent to every entity or authority that might be responsible for the current situation.
- Write the document. Remember to insert all the information previously presented in this article, and do not forget to sign or date the petition. Avoid unnecessary information or excessive personal language.
- Make a copy of the petition and deliver it personally. Ask for the authority to sign and to insert the receiving date on this copy. This way, you will have additional evidence to prove when the petition was delivered.
Virtual Petitions and its Value
The word petition has been widely used in the past years when referring to groups that are recruiting other people online, in order to promote a change. Saving whales, asking for a politician’s impeachment, complaining about abusive prices: all of it can be exposed in websites like Avaaz and Change.
In Brazil it became quite popular, and, in some cases, even successful. Recently, a law was created based on this tool and it was known as Ficha Limpa. It basically asked for a measure determining that any convicted politician should be prohibited from applying for another public position for a certain period.
The real value of virtual petitions, however, is questionable. This may be used as a great way to put pressure on top of politicians, showing what the population is dissatisfied with.
Making it through the web, though, has no legal base. Brazilian authorities do not recognize the signatures, since it is hard to avoid its duplicity and forgery.