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Legislative Policy in Brazil: limits and possibilities

‘It became very clear that Brazilian legislative policy was frail, obsolete and unreliable,’ says Felipe de Paula. He defended his dissertation on the limits and possibilities of legislative policy in Brazil on Tuesday 27 March 2018.

Felipe de Paula
27 March 2018
News item PhD defence Felipe de Paula
Leiden University Repository

I followed four main steps. First, I defended that contemporary legislative production has an increasingly goal-oriented and instrumental nature (the legal act, conceived as an instrument, usually operates towards a specific pre-established goal where the results are assessed). Second, I performed an in-depth study of Brazilian legislation, lawmaking and legislative-regulatory policy. The legal and institutional set-up, as well as the actual relationship between the Executive and Legislative branches were also assessed.

To lend empirical support to the thesis, I chose ordinary laws from 2007-2012 as the object of study, to see (i) how they were actually drafted, (ii) whether a gap exists between the legislative policy in force and the governmental drafting practice, and (iii) whether they had instrumental and goal-oriented features. Semi-structured interviews with high-level governmental actors were carried out as well in order to detect flaws and problems.

Third, legislative-regulatory policies over the past 20 years were reviewed, providing an analysis of currently existing tools, methods and alternatives, particularly in Europe and US. The research focused on the instruments, results and reasons of these policies, without avoiding an understanding of the contexts for adoption and implementation. Criticisms of practical and theoretical aspects were also investigated. Finally, using the output from the previous steps, a proposal for a legislative-institutional modification that could help the enhancement of the Brazilian discussion was established.