Any Brazilian or foreigner residing (or with business) in Brazil knows by now how slow is the Department of Justice in Brazil. You know that lawsuit that has dragged on for years with no end to its unwinding? Possibly, you’ll blame the slow pace due to the way the system is designed, with nearly endless rights of appeal, not merely against a verdict but against minor decisions along the way. In 2004, Lula has called the judiciary a “black box” and promised to prise it open, but he failed. According to The Economist, while most other Latin American countries have reformed their judiciaries over the past two decades, Brazil has resisted. For this appalling slowness, Brazilians call it morosidade.
But one needs to dig in even further to find other abnormalities in the system. Let’s talk about inefficiency and… laziness.
A survey made by website Brasil247 shows the amount of holidays, vacation, and recesses of Brazil’s “immortal” personas called Judges. In addition to the days of rest, which in theory all Brazilians have the right for (such as Christmas, Independence day, etc.), the judiciary has an extended leisure throughout the year. If an ordinary worker has by law 30 days vacation a year, what if his “Excellency” is a judge? Well, in that case, try 60 days. After all, they work hard! But wait, there is more.
While many companies split the employees work in shifts for the week of Christmas and New Year, the judges have available to them an additional 18 days to mess around. In 2011, the end-of-year recesses will be from December 20 to January 6, 2012. Why work in this period of the year if only thousands of Brazilians are waiting for their sentences?
In addition to the leisure time mentioned above (78 + days), the Brazilian courts also take the gown on December 8 – the Day of Justice. And another day off in August 11 (“Dia do Pendura”), in addition to all other Brazilian holidays. And another day off on the Day of All Saints (“Dia de Todos os Santos”), on the 1st of November. No single Brazilian whatsoever takes this day off, except the ones at the Judiciary. Were the judges all saints in the past?
Some try to fight against this cause, like minister Eliana Calmon, who advocates a reduction in their holidays from 60 to 30 days. But who said she can? Recently, the vice-president of the Association of Federal Judges of Brazil (Ajufe), Fernando Neto Tourinho, justified the long breaks for judges based on “the need to rest their tired brain.”
If this is not a joke, then we don’t know what it is…