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Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Prohibits Nepotism in All Three Branches of Government

(Sept. 16, 2008) On August 21, 2008, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court issued a decision (Súmula Vinculante No. 13 de 21 de Agosto de 2008) prohibiting nepotism in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. In 2005, the National Council of Justice (CNJ), a judicial agency responsible for the administrative and financial control of the judiciary and the supervision of judges, had prohibited nepotism in the judiciary (Resolução No. 7 de 18 de Outubro de 2005) and the prohibition was being considered by the Supreme Court, due to an action previously filed by the Brazilian Magistrates Association (Associação dos Magistrados Brasileiros) asking for acknowledgement of the constitutionality of CNJ's 2005 resolution.

Now, after affirming the constitutionality of the resolution, the Supreme Court has extended the prohibition to all three branches of the government, making the hiring of relatives who have not passed a public service entry exam a violation of the Constitution in the federal government, the state government, the Federal District, or the municipalities. This applies whether the person is hired directly by an administrative organ or by an independent organization that does government work. (STF Proíbe o Nepotismo nos Poderes Executivo e Legislativo, G1 GLOBO, Sept. 15, 2008, available at,,MUL731004-5601,00.html.)