On 10/02/2013 Senator Renan Calheiros submitted the Bill N. 406/2013 to the Federal Senate. Said bill proposes, among other things, to include § 3º of Article 4º of Law N. 9.307/96 in order to allow the usage of arbitration in consumer-related conflicts.
The aforementioned paragraph sets forth that, in consumer relations established by means of an adhesion contract, the clause would only be effective if the adhering party initiates the arbitration process or expressly agrees to its usage. Therefore, this would allow the parties to enjoy more freedom, as they would be able to include a binding clause in contracts that regulate consumer relations.
Thus, the practice of arbitration would be made possible without conflicting with the limitations set forth in Article 51, VII, of the Código de Defesa do Consumidor (Brazilian Consumer Defense Code), which nullifies any clause that forces the consumer to the arbitration courts.
Furthermore, with respect to the adhesion contracts that may or may not regulate consumer relations, the Bill N. 406/2013, sets forth a broadening of the scope of arbitration, since the only limitations determined by the new wording of § 2º of Article 4º of Law N. 9.307/96 are that the binding clause be drafted in bold font or in a separate document.
All in all, it is clear that the purpose of the Bill N. 406/2013 is to expand the application of arbitration in Brazil, so as to reduce the amount of lawsuits in the Judicial Branch and to reach solutions to conflicts in a more effective manner.
The Bill is currently in the House of Representatives awaiting deliberation.
Source: Federal Senate and House of Representatives
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