Ricardo Tosto on Brazil’s Civil Law Tradition

The Brazilian legal system is commonly referred to as a civil law system, meaning that it traces its roots to the Napoleonic Code and the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, and even further back to the Roman Code of Justinian. Many scholars contrast civil law systems to common law systems, which emphasize precedent and unwritten judge-made law over codified law.However, globalization and transnational influences have blurred these traditional lines. Mixed systems such as the legal systems of Scotland and Louisiana have long blended the two traditions, and even England, the birthplace of common law, previously used civil law in its royal courts in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. As national and regional boundaries become more fluid, these distinctions are expected to become increasingly less relevant.

Over the course of the last 50 years, a number of factors have lessened these distinctions for Brazilian jurisprudence. One of the most important of these factors has been to the influence of the American legal tradition, especially on the Brazilian constitution and Brazilian constitutional law. The 1988 Constitution, which marked the end of military rule and the return of democracy to Brazil, was deeply influenced by American constitutionalism. This influence extends to other aspects of the law as well. One salient example is the fact that Brazil is one of the only civil law jurisdictions to use juries in extremely serious cases. Precedent and jurisprudence have also become increasingly important in the day-to-day practice of law and the administration of justice in Brazil.

Ricardo Tosto is one of Brazil’s most well-regarded jurists. In fact, during his long and prestigious career, Ricardo Tosto has spent a lifetime redefining the practice of law in the country. The founder one of Sao Paulo’s most respected firms, Ricardo Tosto & Associates, he revolutionized the practice of dispute resolution in Brazil.Ricardo Tosto earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from Mackenzie Presbyterian University, one of Sao Paulo’s top law schools. In addition to being a sought-after member of the Sao Paulo Bar, Ricardo Tosto is also well-known as a scholar. He believes that research helps make a lawyer a more effective practitioner and has penned countless articles and monographs.

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