Brazilian legal history has been a challenging and somewhat under-explored field. It presents often daunting challenges, requiring the uncovering of opaque and often conflicting legal doctrine and the ability to grapple with even harder to discern questions concerning the law’s application and impact on Brazilian history. The field has been under explored by Brazilian legal scholars who have tended to focus their historical investigations on the development of continental civil law. It has also suffered from neglect by historians, Brazilian and foreign, who have largely concentrated their efforts on the political, social and economic history of the South American colossus. The relative neglect that Brazil’s legal history has suffered is all the more remarkable given its richness and complexity. Brazil has had seven constitutions in its less than 200 years as an independent nation. The Lusophonic nation has been both an Empire and a Republic and has been governed by both democratic and authoritarian regimes. The Brazilian legal system has had a rich, often bewildering array of sources of law as well as a strong tradition of judicial autonomy. It has also often suffered from a lack of judicial authority and a frequent inability to transform legal doctrine into a regime where the rule of law plays a significant role in the lives of many Brazilians.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-32; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-32
Cottrol, Robert J., Book Review (2007). Robert J. Cottrol, Book Review, 49 Am. J. Legal Hist. 456 (2007).; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-32; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3403592