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Top Legal Cases - Brazil

A note about Brazilian cases: Usually cases in Brazil bind only the parties. They do not usually function as precedents for subsequent decisions. We have selected the following cases as examples of the types of questions that judges have confronted in relation to bingo. We have focused in particular on cases about the legality of bingo licences and games to illustrate varying views on this question.

Decisions about an Action on Constitutional Rights (Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade/Constitucionalidade) are generally binding and the last case on the list was taken to the Supreme Constitutional Court on this basis.

On specific occasions a Brazilian Supreme Court will decide to issue a decision to promote uniformity of court decisions in a context where there are a lot of cases with different results on an important issue. This type of case — a Súmula Vinculante — does function as a binding precedent. In 2007 Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court (STF) issued a Súmula Vinculante in relation to bingos, holding that Brazil’s states lacked the competence to legislate about bingo and so could not pass laws creating licensing and other regulatory powers for bingos businesses within their jurisdictions.

Our table includes cases from the following courts: Tribunal de Justiça do Rio Grande do Sul (TJRS; Court of Appeals of the State of Rio Grande do Sul); Tribunal de Justiça de São Paulo (TJSP, Court of Appeals of the State of São Paulo); Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ, Superior Court of Justice); and Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF, Federal Supreme Court).