I’m pleased to be able to post a short paper by Rafael Salomão Romano, a law student at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, and his colleagues, Caio Carrera and Prof. Daniela Trejos Vargas. Rafael wrote me some time ago with a question about the US judicial assistance statute. I gave him the thirty-second run-down on the statute, and he responded that he had read everything I had told him elsewhere, but that he wanted to confirm it because he couldn’t believe the US statute was as liberal as he had read. What a great demonstration of the US as a judicial assistance outlier!
Rafael’s paper has a brief outline of the procedures involved in obtaining execution of a letter rogatory in Brazil, but the most interesting part of the paper, to my mind, is the section with data on execution of US letters rogatory in Brazil since 2005. The data are skewed on account of a 2007 aircraft accident in São Paolo, which resulted in multiple lawsuits against the manufacturer in Florida. Those lawsuits resulted in a crop of letters rogatory from Florida. The good news, for American litigants, is that nearly two-thirds of the letters rogatory resulted in a favorable decision for the litigant. The bad news is that the vast majority of the letters rogatory were requests for service of process. I would expect a Brazilian court to refuse to executed a substantial percentage of letters rogatory calling for collection of evidence in Brazil, but the data seem to suggest that the Brazilian courts are rejecting a fair number of letters rogatory aimed at service of process. I think this calls for further exploration.
Thanks to Rafael and his collaborators for this interesting look at letters rogatory in Brazil!