(Mar. 28, 2014) On March 24, 2014, Brazil’s National Council of Justice (Conselho Nacional de Justiça, CNJ) approved an amendment to Resolution No. 54 of April 29, 2008, that created the National Register of Adoption (Cadastro Nacional de Adoção, CNA). The CNA is a tool developed by the CNJ to assist judges when they conduct adoption proceedings. (Sobre o CNJ, CNJ website (last visited Mar. 25, 2014); Resolução 54 de 29/4/2008, CNJ website; Cadastro Nacional dede Adoção (CNA), CNJ website (last visited Mar. 25, 2014).)
The amendment allows the inclusion in the CNA of applicants for international adoptions who are domiciled abroad (Brazilian or foreign). The change will increase the visibility of these applicants in the international adoption process and will enable all judges that deal with adoption cases to have access to applicants living abroad. (Regina Bandeira, Estrangeiros Habilitados por Tribunais Poderão Fazer Parte do Cadastro Nacional de Adoção, Agência CNJ de Notícias website (Mar. 24, 2014).) The functional change meets the requirements of article 50(§6) of the Child and Adolescent Statute (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente (ECA) (July 13, 1990), PLANALTO), which determines that there will be separate entries in the CNA for people or couples living outside the country, entries that will only be consulted in the absence of qualified adoptive candidates in the national register. (Id.)
Background Information on the CNJ
The National Council of Justice was created in 2004 through Constitutional Amendment No. 45 of December 30, 2004 (Emenda Constitucional No. 45, de 30 de Dezembro de 2004, PLANALTO). It is a judicial agency responsible for administrative and financial control of the judiciary and the supervision of judges. (Constituição Federal [C.F.] (Oct. 5, 1988), art. 103-B(§4), PLANALTO.)
The Council is composed of 15 members who are over 35 and less than 66 years of age, for a term of two years, with one extension allowed (id. art. 103-B; Composição Atual [Current Membership], CNJ website (last visited Mar. 25, 2014).)
In addition to the powers conferred upon it by the Organic Law of the National Judiciary (Lei Orgânica da Magistratura Nacional (Mar. 14, 1979), PLANALTO), the CNJ is responsible for the following tasks (C.F. art. 103-B(§4)).
- preserving the autonomy of the judiciary, enforcing the Organic Law of the National Judiciary, and issuing regulations within the ambit of its jurisdiction and
- enforcing article 37 of the Constitution and hearing, ex officio or upon demand, cases involving the legality of administrative acts performed by members or organs of the judiciary, vacating or revising such acts, or setting a period in which to adopt necessary measures for the exact compliance with the law, without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Audit Tribunal of the Union.
Handling Complaints and Disciplinary Proceedings:
- receiving and hearing complaints against members or bodies of the judiciary, including complaints against auxiliary services, employees, and agencies rendering notarial and registry services that act by delegation of public or official powers, without prejudice to the disciplinary and correctional jurisdiction of the tribunals. The Council may assume jurisdiction for employees of the judiciary over ongoing disciplinary proceedings; determine their removal, availability, or retirement with compensation or benefits proportional to the time of service; and apply other administrative sanctions, assuring a full right of defense;
- filing complaints (representar) with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in cases of crimes against the public administration or abuse of authority; and
- revising, ex officio or upon demand, disciplinary proceedings of judges and members of tribunals decided less than one year ago.
- preparing a statistical report, by unit of the Federation, each semester on the cases and decisions issued by the different organs of the judiciary; and
- preparing an annual report that proposes measures it deems necessary with respect to the situation of the judiciary in the country and the activities of the Council. This report should be part of the message of the President of the Federal Supreme Court sent to the National Congress on the occasion of the opening of the legislative session.