The Brazilian Experience of the “Justiça Itinerante” in the State of Rio De Janeiro: A New Paradigm of Access to Justice?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Ricardo BORRMANN, Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität Munich, Germany, Laboratório Cidade e Poder/UFF, Brazil
Cristina GAULIA, Universidade Veiga de Almeida, Brazil, Court of Appeal of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
“Everyone strives to attain the law”, says Orson Welles in his film adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel “The Trial”. In fact, access to justice is one of the main challenges of modern times. One can rapidly foster social, economic and political changes by guaranteeing equal access to legal services. This is particularly highlighted by the Brazilian experience of the “Justiça Itinerante” (“mobile justice”), implemented in the state of Rio de Janeiro since 2004. The project’s main goal is to assure access to basic judicial services (such as civil registration, marriages, family cases and small claims) to the poor population living in the suburbs – usually apart from the conventional courts of law – by using buses as mobile courts. This paper will analyze the historic development and implementation of the “Justiça Itinerante”, as well as evaluate it as an alternative form to more conventional judicial services. It will also reflect upon specific theoretical questions regarding the classic functions of the judiciary system inside democracies. Furthermore, it will point out to similar experiences in other Brazilian states, such as in the amazon region and question if “Justiça Itinerante” can be replicated in other parts of the world with similar social and geographic characteristics, as well as if it can profit from exchanging experiences with equivalent initiatives worldwide. Finally, the work raises the question whether this experience constitutes a new paradigm of access to justice more adapted to the demands of citizenship in contemporary societies.