Welcome to Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program

The Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program at American University Washington College of Law is a comparative law program focused exclusively on Brazil and the United States and their respective legal and judicial institutions. Led by Senior United States District Judge Peter J. Messitte, the program is unique in offering a direct comparison of Brazilian legal and judicial institutions with those of the United States.

The Program offers participants a firmer understanding of both Brazilian and U.S. systems and transmits substantial practical knowledge as the two countries increase their interaction with one another.

The Program has established a special bond with members of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) and Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ). STF ministers who have participated in programs at WCL include Ministers Gilmar Mendes, Teorí Zavascki, Cármen Lúcia, Luís Roberto Barroso and the current president of the STF, José Antonio Dias Toffoli. Visitors from the STJ have included Ministers João Otávio de Noronha, Luís Felipe Salomão, Paulo de Tarso Sanseverino, Ricardo Villas Bôas Cueva, Francisco Falcão, Marco Buzzi, Paulo Dias de Moura Ribeiro, Sebastião Reis Junior, Antonio Carlos Ferreira and Raul Araújo Filho. Another prominent Brazilian Judge to address an audience at the Law School was Federal Judge Sergio Moro, the trial judge handling the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) case. Judge Moro was recently made Minister of Justice in the new administration of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Program Features

The Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program coordinates seminars on various comparative law issues for Brazilian judges, legal professionals, academics, and students, and also assists those in the U.S. who wish to have comparable introductions to Brazilian law and Brazilian legal and judicial institutions. The Program has been able to engage, as co-lecturers, Brazilian lawyers and legal experts who reside and work in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as Brazilian professors and judges who frequently visit the city.

In addition to organizing events and initiatives, the Program collaborates with activities that already exist between AUWCL and Brazil in such areas as international commercial arbitration, intellectual property, environmental law and human rights.

Upcoming Events

June 3-7, 2019

During the week of June 3, a number of Brazilian prosecutors will attend the annual Anti-Corruption course that Professor Boswell gives for attendees from all over the world. On June 6 at the Law School, Judge Messitte and his Chambers will put on a mock jury trial of a corruption case for the attendees.

June 10-14, 2019

During the week of June 10, a group of 12-18 state prosecutors from the State of São Paulo School of Enhancement of the State Public Ministry will participate in a special course on Anti-Corruption coordinated by WCL Adjunct Professor Nancy Boswell. On June 12, the group will visit the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, where Judge Messitte will offer an introduction to criminal process in the U.S.

October 7, 2019

A program on Artificial Intelligence and the Law is being organized by the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Foundation in São Paulo. Judge Messitte has been invited to participate along with Justice Paulo Sanseverino of the Superior Tribunal of Justice, Dean Oscar Vieira Vilhena of the Getulio Vargas Foundation Law School in São Paulo, and Professor Flavio Yarshell of the University of São Paulo Law School.